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Kids are communicating with confidence thanks to CQU speech pathology student

Published:21 October 2020

Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) student Jodi Stickley has been able to apply knowledge from her studies in her role as a teachers aide.

As a teacher’s aide, Jodi Stickley needs to be prepared to help her students in any capacity possible, fortunately, she is also a third-year Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) student equipped to support children when they experience communication challenges.

She became interested in speech and language pathology after she learnt of the communication difficulties that some children experience, and the impact this can have on their learning, friendships and even their home life.

“My role as a teacher’s aide allows me to help children develop their communication skills to their full potential. Working within a school environment has also provided me with an insight into some of the difficulties that students face when they commence school with communication difficulties," she said.

“It has been great to be able to apply my new knowledge and skills from my studies to students requiring additional support in speech, language and literacy.”

Students with low language skills and delayed speech development can struggle in the classroom which Ms Stickley said demonstrates the vital role speech pathologists have in childhood development and learning.

“When accessing the school curriculum, children who do not possess age-appropriate speech and language skills are at a disadvantage, compared to students who have developed age-appropriate skills.

“Speech and language pathologists play an important role in schools by assessing and diagnosing students who may be struggling to achieve the same level as their aged peers and can provide teaching staff with speech and language support programs and guidance.”

While working with children is Ms Stickley’s current passion, the Rockhampton resident was glad that her studies with CQUniversity are training her to diagnose and treat a wide range of communication disorders, across all ages - from babies through to adulthood.

“A speech and language pathologist helps people who have difficulties with speech, understanding language, stuttering, using voice, reading, writing and social skills as well as swallowing and feeding.

“Communication or swallowing difficulties can be due to developmental delays, hearing loss, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, stroke and brain injuries.”

Ms Stickley explained that she was able to utilise these skills in the extensive placements CQUniversity requires.

“I initially chose to study with CQU because I was impressed by the CQUni Health Clinic facilities where allied health students, including speech pathology students, experience their first clinical placements.

“This was appealing, as it made the idea of my first experience with real clients much less stressful compared to the thought of going directly into a private clinic, disability service, school or hospital environment.”

She advocated for more people in regional areas to consider studying speech pathology, not only for a rewarding career helping others but for the abundance of job opportunities for graduates.

“Outside of metropolitan areas, speech and language pathology services cannot meet health service demands, particularly in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia.

“This is actually good news for future job prospects of graduate speech-language pathology students, Ms Stickley said.

“After graduation, I hope to find full-time work either in a private speech clinic, disability service or within the Queensland Department of Education.”