Calling on masters of speech

1 JANUARY 2003

A CSU graduate is advocating the use of speech therapy in the school classroom to help all children learn and perform academically to the best of their abilities.

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) graduate is advocating the use of speech therapy in the school classroom to help all children learn and perform academically to the best of their abilities.
 
Former primary school teacher Ms Elizabeth Campbell enjoyed teaching children and helping them learn, “but I wanted to know more about how children take in information, develop understanding and improve their critical thinking”.  
 
“I saw children with low-level language skills were behind their peers in their capacity for learning.”
 
So Ms Campbell completed a speech pathology degree with CSU to help her better support these children. And CSU is making this degree more readily available to professionals such as Ms Campbell as it launches a new Master of Speech Pathology course in 2014.
 
The course coordinator is Dr Jane McCormack with the School of Community Health, based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.
 
“Speech pathologists are in demand due to Australia’s ageing population, increased incidence of stroke and associated communication and swallowing difficulties, and a growing awareness of the importance of early intervention in managing or preventing social and academic difficulties that occur with speech and language problems,” Dr McCormack said.
 
 “Charles Sturt University is a leader in flexible, innovative online delivery of professional education programs, reaching out to rural and regional areas that wouldn’t normally have these opportunities.”
 
The Master of Speech Pathology course is aimed at university graduates who are looking for a postgraduate qualification allowing them to work as speech pathologists, often complementing their current professional qualification.
 
Teachers, librarians and psychologists have already applied to enrol, but other prospective students have backgrounds in areas as diverse as agricultural science and computer science. The students come from across Australia, including regional and metropolitan areas.
 
“Charles Sturt University has a proven track record as a leader in distance education in Australia and worldwide, and we are offering a flexible course that students can fit into their current work and busy lifestyles using the latest online technology,” Dr McCormack said.
 
Ms Campbell said she enjoyed her Speech Pathology degree, especially the interesting content.
 
“Having previous knowledge and experience working with children meant that I could relate a lot of the content to real events and experiences in my working life.
 
“But I had to be organised and there were times when I juggled family life and external demands. Most of my study was completed between the kid’s school hours and after their bedtime. I also had a very supportive husband.
 
‘Attending clinical placements out of town were exciting and somewhat challenging at times, especially with family commitments, but I found ways around it thanks to the support of my husband. My kids even had a holiday at the beach through my study!’
 
Ms Campbell now runs her own speech pathology practice in Albury, developing new ways for people in rural and isolated areas to access speech pathology support and providing speech, language and literacy assessment and therapy to children and young adults.
 
“I also assist learning support staff in schools by assessing students with learning difficulties and training staff and developing resources that help these children.”
 
The Master of Speech Pathology course is due to commence in February 2014. Students are encouraged to enrol by 30 November this year to allow them time to attain recommended pre-requisite knowledge.

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