“No child or family is ever the same so there are constantly different challenges to address. We have to meet every family where they are at and support the whole family, not just the child attending the program.”
To celebrate our 50th year anniversary, Telethon Speech & Hearing (TSH) will be showcasing 50 stories of people who have been a part of our organisation’s history since 1967.
Today’s highlighted story is from Briony Heap, a TSH Speech Pathologist who’s been with our organisation for over 10 years.
I began working at TSH in July 2006. I was a new graduate Speech Pathologist and saw a tiny advert in the paper. It was advertised as a senior position but I decided to try applying anyway – and got the job!
From here, I worked two days per week as the Speech Pathologist for the Talkabout Playgroups and Talkabout 5 classes. I worked with two wonderful teachers who are still at the centre, Karole Marshall and Janene Hall, who supported me and taught me so much. I was also working at a Language Development Centre for the remainder of the week, and at the end of 2006 both places offered me full-time work. I chose to stay at TSH because I loved how the team worked together, and that is still true today.
TSH has changed in so many ways over 10 years, but the team aspect is what keeps me here. TSH has grown exponentially in the time I have been here – in both staff and buildings. When I started, everyone worked out of one building and the classrooms were in tiny hexagonal ‘huts’. From there we expanded, Talkabout grew, and all of a sudden many more staff filled our buildings and the organisation was huge!
“I chose to stay at TSH because I loved how the team worked together, and that is still true today. TSH has changed in so many ways over 10 years, but the team aspect is what keeps me there.”
I have worked closely with many, many families over the years in Talkabout and they all have different stories as to why they started with us. That’s another reason that has kept me at the centre for so long – no child or family is ever the same so there are constantly different challenges to address. Some families are at the very start of their journey, grieving and having just found out that their child has a language delay. Others may have been doing therapy for years and were hoping their child may have ‘caught up’ by Kindergarten. We have to meet every family where they are at and support the whole family, not just the child attending the program.
There are always kids who stick in your memory, like a little girl who I worked with in my first year in Talkabout 5, who was so severely dyspraxic that she spoke almost entirely in vowel sounds. Her mum is a passionate advocate for her daughter and TSH, and they still come to visit. The little girl is now a stunning 16 year old who speaks confidently and is completing year 12. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see many of the children after they leave the program at 5 or 6 years old, but we always hope we have given them and their families something to help them on their journeys.
TSH runs such unique and quality programs for children with hearing and language impairments, I hope we can continue to run these well, and grow to support more children. There is such a need for specialised services for these children.
“TSH runs such unique and quality programs for children with hearing and language impairments, I hope we can continue to run these well, and grow to support more children. There is such a need for specialised services for these children.”
Briony is a Speech Pathologist who has been working with Telethon Speech & Hearing for over 10 years. Highly dedicated to her profession, Briony spends a majority of her day running through a variety of language sessions to help children enrolled in our Talkabout program develop key communication skills and abilities. Like many other team members at TSH, Briony also spends time supporting families by providing feedback to parents on their child’s progress and development.
Outside of work, Briony enjoys shopping, hanging out with friends and family, and crafting.
- Did you enjoy this story and want to read others like it? View our 50 Years, 50 Stories project here.
- Be a part of our journey and submit your own story to us!
- View more upcoming events and projects on our #TSH50years anniversary page here.