Speech Pathology in Schools Resource Project

Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) has been contracted by the New South Wales Department of Education to develop the Speech Pathology in Schools Resource Kit. There is a Speech Pathology Australia Reference Group overseeing this project.

What is the purpose of the kit?

The purpose of the kit is to provide:

  • information to principals, teachers, parents and speech pathologists about best practice speech pathology in an educational setting.
  • support to encourage more schools in NSW to engage (either employ or contract) speech pathologists to work in their schools 
  • advice regarding how speech pathologists working collaboratively in schools can improve student learning outcomes and wellbeing.

Who is the kit for?

The kit will have four individual components for four different audiences. The audiences for the components are:

  • principals
  • teachers
  • parents
  • speech pathologists.

The kit will be accessible from the NSW Department of Education website when it is finished/available.

The finished document/kit will be launched in July 2017.

Between January and July 2017, a range of activities occur. These activities involve consultation and advice from speech pathologists expert in the fields of education and learning, and other key stakeholders in NSW.

January 2017

Resource Project commencement

Senior Project Officer, Mary Gornik, was appointed and commenced with the Association on 23 January 2017. The Speech Pathology Australia Reference Group was established and met for the first time on 24 January 2017. The reference group submitted relevant articles documenting best practice and an extensive literature review was commenced.

February 2017

Stakeholder forums and national survey

Several stakeholder forums were organised in Sydney by the NSW Department of Education with extensive representation for principal and teacher groups, parent groups, health and education departmental representatives, and aboriginal education representatives.

The purpose of the forums was to identify:

  • current knowledge regarding the role of speech pathologists in schools
  • what best practice looks like in schools?
  • what doesn’t work well in schools?
  • what information and resources should the resource kit contain?
  • where should the resource be available from?
  • how do we promote the resource?
National survey

A survey was distributed to Association members and non-members nationally. The response to the survey was overwhelming and the data received was extensive and informative. The survey’s aims was to capture data in each state and territory regarding current speech pathology practice in schools, the challenges speech pathologists face and suggestions regarding best practice in schools.

March 2017

The draft writing briefs were developed for all four components and feedback was received from the NSW Department of Education’s key stakeholders. The feedback has fine-tuned the content to be included in each component.

As part of development of the speech pathology component of the kit, video interviews were conducted at Mahogany Rise Primary School in Frankston North in Melbourne. Testimonials were secured from the school’s principal, speech pathologist, and literacy teacher; plus a parent and two year 3 students. Excerpts from these interviews will appear in the kit as short YouTube clips.

April 2017

A draft of the resource kit’s four components has been finalised and submitted to the NSW Department of Education for review and feedback.

An invitation to receive written testimonials from schools implementing a whole school (Response to Intervention) approach was sent out via the Reference Group.

The Association was represented at the Language, Literacy and Learning Conference in Perth. Delegates were composed of educators, allied health professionals, and parents. A number of speech pathologists presented papers at the conference, including:

  • Dr Suze Leitao was part of a group presentation with Deanna Francis, Mary Claessen and Genevieve McArthur on “Mental health and self-esteem in children with reading difficulties.”
  • Natalie Munro and Dr Julia Starling conducted a presentation on “Direct vocabulary instruction: What does it look like in the classroom.”
  • Dr Tanya Serry conducted two presentations, firstly with Professor Pam Snow, Ros Neilson, Maureen Westerveld and Melinda Schambre on “Clinical guidelines for speech pathologists working in the literacy domain.” Secondly, on “Managing dyslexia and other reading related problems: University students’ perspective.”
  • Professor Pam Snow conducted several presentations:
    • “Making the transition to literacy in the first three years of school: Lifting the bonnet on oral language skills,”
    • “If I had a hammer” – A symposium on how to address Australia’s “long tail of under-achievement” (Co-presenters: Jennifer Buckingham, Mandy Nayton and Greg Ashman).

May 2017

Speech Pathology Australia National Conference and the launch of the speech pathology component of the kit.

June 2017

Final kit provided to NSW Department of Education.

July 2017

Finalising of project materials.

Speech Pathology Australia Reference Group

  • Gaenor Dixon, National President, Speech Pathology Australia/Principal Advisor, Therapies
  • Tim Kittel, Director, Speech Pathology Australia
  • Alison Smith, Queensland Branch Chair/ Director Strategy and Performance, Metropolitan Region, Department of Education and Training (Queensland)
  • Gail Mulcair, Chief Executive Officer, Speech Pathology Australia
  • Candice Brady, Speech Pathologist at Children’s Hospital at Westmead (SCHN), Leader for Advocacy & Influence – Speech Pathology Australia (NSW Branch)
  • Felicity Burke, Practice Leader Speech Pathology, Clinical Innovation and Governance, Ageing Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services
  • Associate Professor Patricia Eadie, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
  • Dr Charlotte Forwood, Leader of Advanced Learning – Strathcona Girls Grammar School
  • Associate Professor Suze Leitao, Life Member SPA | School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences | Curtin University
  • Professor Sharynne McLeod, Life Member SPA, ASHA Fellow, Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition, School of Teacher Education, Charles Sturt University
  • Eleanor McMillan, Speech Pathologist in Private Practice/ School Leader in the ACT Education Direcorate
  • Dr Natalie Munro, Course Director BAppSc(SpPath) & Senior Lecturer Speech Pathology | Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, and University Associate, Curtin University
  • Dr Tanya Serry, Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Speech Pathology; Chair, Human Research Ethics Sub-Committee; Honorary Research Fellow, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Policy Equity and Transition group
  • Dr Julia Starling, Certified Practicing Speech-Language Pathologist Adjunct Lecturer, The University of Sydney; President, Learning Difficulties Coalition of NSW
  • Kathryn Thorburn, Speech Pathologist/Teacher Language and Learning: K-12 Speech Pathology & Learning Support
  • Pamela Thuan, Speech Pathologist and Speech and Language Specialist Consultant
  • Sue Wilks, Speech Pathologists/Managing Director- One Stop: Allied Health & Medical Centre
  • Christine Lyons, Senior Advisor – Professional Practice, Speech Pathology Australia
  • Cathy Olsson, National Advisor – Disability, Speech Pathology Australia.

The Reference Group is supported by Mary Gornik, Senior Project Officer.