Hi, I’m Katie Sala-Tenna, one of the Speech Pathologists at the ILC WA and I had the pleasure of exploring the Great Southern as a part of ILC’s country service. The country service visits gives people who live outside the metropolitan area an opportunity to talk to a Speech Pathologist and get information and advice about equipment that can help them to communicate with those around them. It also gives them an opportunity to trial some equipment.
This was my first trip to regional WA with the ILC. Although only going for three days I managed to pack double the permitted baggage allowance. Who knew assistive technology was so heavy?! Flying into Albany is truly a sight not to be missed.
Once I landed, I was off and going. Day one saw me providing an Outreach Presentation on Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) to local Speech Pathologists. It is so wonderful to see this area of speech pathology expanding. Following this I spent the afternoon doing some individual client appointments. There was a lot of interest generated in text-speech apps, especially amongst those with neurodegenerative diseases. Predictable, a text to speech app available on Apple and Android devices, was the crowds’ favourite. The day ended in Mt Barker, with an overnight stay in a beautiful property for the night. A big thank you to Rob and Donna.
Day two started with Nicole (ILC Occupational Therapist) and I – but mainly Nicole – presenting information on assistive technology to a friendly group at the Mt Barker HACC. Nicole and I followed Rob (ILC Driver) and the caravan back to Albany. We then parted ways as Rob headed to set the caravan up for the Albany show and Nicole and I completed an afternoon of appointments. Joint appointments are always great, two brains are better than one. It was really interesting for me to see the wide range of assistive technology options, outside of the communication realm, that individuals can use to enhance their independence and quality of life. We ended the day with a tasty meal at a local favourite.
Day three began with a drive to Denmark, one of my favourite spots in WA. I spent the morning doing appointments in Denmark before then heading back to Albany for the two more appointments. On my final day there was a lot of interest generated in switch access and iPads. The APPlicator was particularly popular on this day, with both speech pathologists and clients. These devices allow users to use switches with iPads, which themselves don’t have switch ports. Day three came to an end. I lugged my baggage back through the airport and it was yet again slapped with an orange ‘HEAVY, bend your knees when lifting’ tag and boarded the plane back to Perth. Knowing how beautiful Albany was when I flew in, I made sure I requested a window seat.
What an experience and what a pleasure it was to provide information, advice and support about assistive technology to those living in the Great Southern. I will be sure to put my hand up for any future country trips!
For more information about our ILC Speech Pathology services and to find out when we might be in your area next, please ring us on 9381 0600.