Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health introduced speech therapy program

SPEAKING OF: MICCRH speech pathology students Jessica Steele and Rachel Adkins working with a client. Photo: supplied
SPEAKING OF: MICCRH speech pathology students Jessica Steele and Rachel Adkins working with a client. Photo: supplied

Speech therapists at Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH) are offering a new stuttering program until November, thanks to a fresh intake of speech pathology students.

Allied Health Clinical Lead, Martina Taylor, says the program is designed to cater to each individual patient’s goals.

“As speech pathologists, we do more than help people with a lisp. We do a whole range of things,” Ms Taylor said. 

“It could be to do with difficulties with language; speaking, understanding others, reading and writing, or it might be difficulties with speech sound production; the way their words are formed isn’t as clear as they would like,” Ms Taylor said.

“We can also help with fluency; people who have difficulty with stuttering and want to increase the smoothness or fluency of their talking,” Ms Taylor said.

Stuttering is a new clinical area for MICRRH, thanks to the new students coming through. 

“Because the skill set in our team has increased, we can now expand the types of services we provide.”

Other areas include social communication, people who have changes to their voice, and people who have difficulty swallowing.

The centre is looking for interested adults and adolescents in the north west region who might benefit from speech therapy. Phone Martina Taylor at MICRRH on 07 4744 7911. 

Ms Taylor said placement program prioritises speech pathology students from JCU, the institution MICRRH sits under.

“We have the next load of Occupational Therapy (OT) students from JCU coming, and our speech pathology students are here from the University of Queensland in Brisbane,” she said.

“We are really interested in tapping into students who have an interest in working in rural and remote practice, so we can give them experience in that kind of environment.”

Ms Taylor is leading the development of this project, which she says is part of a bigger workforce strategy for the region.

“We are looking to try and strengthen the workforce in and for our region, and by doing that provide these opportunities for students to come and experience what it’s like to live and work in outback Queensland, with the idea that they enjoy it, they get a sense of what it’s like, and then hopefully once they graduate they come and work in our region or other rural and remote locations.”

Ms Taylor is assisted by a casual speech pathologist who joins the team when there are students, and supports with student supervision.

Students arrived at MICRRH on October 3 and are offering the new services now. Phone Martina Taylor at MICRRH on 07 4744 7911.