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9 July, 2020
The Central Coast community now has access to unique paediatric speech pathology services lead by an early childhood educator in Springfield.
TAFE NSW graduate and Speech Pathologist Rachel Wood made the momentous decision to launch Cheeky Monkeys Speech Pathology this year, shortly after completing a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care online to expand her understanding of child development needs.
Mrs Wood, said, “I embarked on a career working with children after high school and although I was employed in a range of paediatric speech pathology roles for almost two decades, a part of me always wondered whether I should study education and combine the two vocations.”
After speaking with a number of Central Coast preschool directors and conducting research, Mrs Wood decided to take the plunge to study early childhood education and care online while working full-time within the Central Coast Local Health District.
“I consider completing the TAFE NSW course to be a significant milestone in my life-long learning journey, giving me the tools and experiences to understand children better and start my own business, to help them and their families,” she said.
“I incorporate the information I learned about cognitive and physical development, child behaviour management, family dynamics and cultural sensitivity techniques into my practice.”
Mrs Wood certainly isn’t shy of hard work and enjoys being a casual educator at Footprints Early Learning Centre in Erina, where she completed practical work experience while studying.
Like many allied health professionals, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about changes to Mrs Wood’s work environment and her service delivery mode changed from face-to-face sessions to telehealth. This was a steep learning curve for her, involving online research, training workshops, conversations with colleagues, writing policies and the unwavering support of her tech-savvy husband.
While she’s really pleased to have developed these new skills, Mrs Wood said her preferred method is to deliver sessions in person, as they are more dynamic, fun and interactive, while being able to get to the root of problems quicker.
“Helping a child to use a sound that they thought they couldn’t articulate, helping them to say their name correctly, increasing the range of words they can use, helping them communicate with longer sentences - these are the moments I love and cherish best,” she said.
According to a report by the Australian Government entitled ‘The demand for speech pathology services in Australia’,
New South Wales, the Northern Territory, the ACT and Western Australia either have no speech pathology services in their public school systems or very limited provision. For young children with speech and language disorders, early intervention is crucial to the long-term well-being of the child. 
Media contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Media and Communications Business Partner.
Mobile: 0417 134 048
 The demand for speech pathology in Australia