Photo: South West HHS speech pathologists Bryanna Hall-Cronin – left – and Katie Frith.

South West Hospital and Health Service speech pathologists are keen to get the word out about
their services around the region.

“With Speech Pathology Week recently observed in the region from 19–25 August, we want to
let South West residents know about our services and what we can do for them,’’ Speech
Pathologist Bryanna Hall-Cronin said.

“My colleagues and I are here to help adults and children with any swallowing and
communication problems.’’

Ms Hall-Cronin said the South West HHS employed six speech pathologists who delivered
services right across the region.

“There’s myself, along with Katie Frith and Sarah Barnes at Roma, Ella Carmody and Julie
Rogan at St George and Kimberlee Clunn at Charleville,’’ she said.

Ms Hall-Cronin said more than 1.1 million Australians had a communication or swallowing
disorder that impacted on their daily life.

“Like mobility or wheelchair access, communication access allows people with communication
disorders to get their message across by removing barriers to effective communication, or
providing extra support and strategies,’’ she said.

“That’s what speech pathologists – or ‘speechies’ – are trained to help people with.
“Our speech services begin with initial screening for communication and swallowing disorders.

“We then continue with assessment and diagnosis and then consultation for the provision of
advice regarding management, intervention, and treatment.

“We also provide counselling and follow-up services for whatever disorders clients are
experiencing.’’

Ms Hall Cronin said speech pathologists could help with the following:

• Communication. You need to be able to make sounds, words and then sentences. You
need to know the rules of putting words together and also when to talk or not.

• Saying sounds. Some children take longer to learn to use the right sounds in words.
Some adults have slurred speech or dysarthria as a result of neurological conditions.

• Reading and talking. It is important to identify difficulties early as these skills are
essential at school and for life.

• Listening. When children have ear infections, they may develop hearing problems which
can affect how they learn to talk.

• Talking. Some people have difficulties effectively using their voice and producing fluent
speech (e.g. stuttering).

• Alternative communication. Some people are born with or acquire conditions that make it
very difficult for them to talk. We can help these people find ways to communicate other
than talking.

• Eating and drinking. Some people are born with conditions such as a cleft palate, autism,
or cerebral palsy; have an accident or a condition like Parkinson’s which affects their
ability to safely eat, drink and swallow.

• Paediatric feeding. Some babies have difficulties feeding. A child may have trouble
transitioning to solids or have sensory difficulties which make them avoid eating. We can
provide strategies and support for helping these little ones to eat safely and enjoyably.
Ms Hall-Cronin said South West residents could ask her or her colleagues for ideas to help with
any of those issues.

“As you can see, we do a lot more than just help people adjust the articulation of their speech
and we are always happy to chat about any concerns you may have,’’ she said.

• For information about Speech Pathology Week visit:
www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/week

ENDS

For further information contact:
James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379
Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au