'Wait' lifting: Active waiting for services for children with speech and language difficulties
Children with speech and language difficulties and their families can remain on waiting lists for public speech-language pathology services for up to 12 months, which is problematic because research evidence is in favour of early intervention. Also, research into experiences of individuals on waiting lists indicates that they can experience stress and uncertainty (Connolly & Gersch, 2013; Dew et al., 2013; Miller et al., 2008). My PhD will holistically explore what happens while children and families are waiting for speech-language pathology services. Studies will focus on exploring natural change/spontaneous improvement in children's speech and language while waiting; how children are prioritised for speech-language pathology services; and educators and families' experiences of being on waiting lists, including what they do while they are waiting. The research also aims to provide an innovative solution for supporting children and families who are waiting for speech-language pathology services.
I previously completed my speech pathology bachelor degree with honours at Charles Sturt in Albury. In the years following, I worked in clinical and project officer roles, as well as tutoring and research assistant roles through Charles Sturt. My interest in research continued to grow. I wanted to improve the experiences of and services for children with speech and language difficulties and their families, after the stories and experiences I had heard while working in the public health system. Professor Sharynne McLeod was one of my Honours research supervisors and it was with her encouragement that I applied for a RIPPLE PhD scholarship in 2016 and was successful. I was excited at the opportunity to commence PhD studies in November 2016 with Sharynne supervising once again, along with Dr Kate Crowe. I hope my research will directly impact children and families in a positive way and have direct relevance to clinicians at the frontline of service provision.