Most of us don’t think twice about talking, but have you ever tried staying silent for a given length of time? If so, you would have experienced (apart from frustration!) how important speaking is in everyday life.
Katrine Elliott and her team at Optimal Communications are putting the spotlight on speech, language and literacy impairment by asking the community to ZIP IT UP FOR KIDS, and stay silent for a given length of time. We chatted to Katrine and her business partner, Kerry Myers who recently joined Bartercard to grow their business.
While most mums crave five minutes of silence, the parents who bring their children to your clinic want to hear the opposite. Can you tell us about what you do?
Katrine: Our clinic provides individual, group therapy, parent support and training for children and adults who have listening, speech, language, literacy, voice and eating or swallowing difficulties. Our practice has been supporting the Gold Coast community in speech therapy for more than 20 years and has grown to include a team of five speech pathologists. We have a company ethos dedicated to no waiting lists and accessing services based on the client’s clinical needs, not the speech pathologist’s availability. Our passion for providing this model of service is based on a clear understanding of the benefits of intensive and early intervention and how this greatly reduces treatment time and achieves the best results for our clients. We understand the hard neurological wiring in the child’s mind that requires correction, and with effective and timely therapy this can be achieved for many communication and literacy impairments. The ‘Phonic All Star’ speech and literacy correction program has been developed to enable this to be achieved in a ‘Willy Wonker’ fun way of teaching, using puppets, brightly coloured activity resources, games and music. The children’s parents also become part of the program and learn how to undertake the home therapy tasks that then speed up the recovery process, time and reduce the expense of time in therapy.
What’s the ‘Zip It Up for Kids’ initiative?
Katrine: We’re taking the first baby steps to develop advocacy support and fundraising for children that is directed towards putting money where the mouth is and giving young kids a chance to shine.
You’ve recently welcomed Bartercard to your business – how do you see it fitting into your work?
Kerry: We see Bartercard as a means to help more people with communication issues given that there can be long waiting lists to access vital services in the government sectors of education and
health. Most speech pathologists working in private practices are small businesses or sole providers and therefore they are limited in the numbers they can take on as clients. We can see the benefit of using trade dollars for everyday running costs, helping us to direct
more cash into growing the business and putting resources in place to help more people gain access to support. Expenses that would otherwise use up our cash flow will now be supplemented with trade dollars.
So it’s about using Bartercard to allow greater access to your services?
Kerry: We have five therapists at Optimal Communications and we provide a teaching clinic where our experienced clinicians provide professional development and training. By becoming efficient with our business and clinical model, we are able to open more spaces for Bartercard clients to access therapy from our centre. We achieve this by starting earlier and finishing later, and we have opened Saturday therapy to assist families who struggle due to work commitments.
To learn more about Optimal Communications Speech Pathology and how you can source
individual or group therapy on Bartercard, call 07 5528 222, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit optimal-communications.com.