Maddie first found her passion for Speech Pathology as a teenager growing up in Lismore on the New South Wales coast.
“My mum is a primary school teacher, so growing up I would come in on days off and help out with small reading groups. It [the need for Speech Pathology] was so obvious… for example I met a little boy who had English as his second language and the struggles he faced were putting him behind his peers and preventing him from being able to join in.”
“Teachers just don’t have the time to spend with each child, but one day a speechie [Speech Pathologist] came in, and I realised ‘that’s what I want to do!’,”
Education pathways for Speech Pathology in Australia are limited, but Maddie knew she had found her passion, so she made the move to Sydney to complete her Undergraduate and Masters qualifications.
After completing her Master’s degree, Maddie considered a few career options and it came down to a role in Ballina or a role with Montrose in Toowoomba. Toowoomba made the cut.
“The Montrose role had a great range of everything. I really wanted that varied experience early in my career to see what direction I want to go. My role allows me to work with all different age ranges and presentations, and also do teletherapy sessions.”
While Maddie is enjoying the opportunity to experience many areas of Speech Pathology, her core passion is ensuring everyone has a voice.
“I’m a singer so it has just always been a large part of my life. I’ve been working with people living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to voice-bank so they can still sound like themselves [after they lose their voice].
“AAC [Alternative and Augmentative Communication] is actually a lot of my caseload. For example, children with Cerebral Palsy who can’t get their words out – AAC can give them a voice.”
After almost two years with Montrose, Maddie is still loving her Toowoomba-based role.
“The biggest reason that I am staying at Montrose is the team. We are like family. When I walk in each morning I know everyone genuinely cares. When I first came here [to Toowoomba] I didn’t have anyone, but they made me feel like family.”
After coming from the beaches of Lismore, followed by the city streets of Sydney, Maddie was pleasantly surprised by the lifestyle Toowoomba offers.
“I thought I’d miss the city and access to cultural events, but there is a lot on offer here. There’s just so much green space – we’re the garden city!”