My journey to this point
I wanted to move away from the chaotic busyness of Sydney, and the Central Coast was the perfect place. Beautiful beaches, water ways, national parks, and the less traffic allowed me to feel like I finally had space to breath. So, 2017 was the year I finished up with uni in Sydney and started my journey as a qualified practicing speech pathologist in the Central Coast.
4 years later, having worked in two private practices, I had strict criteria of what I was looking for in my next role.
- The team had to have a great supportive work culture with positive vibes. Having a great work culture is so important in providing the best care possible to our clients and their families. I believe if team members are kind and supportive to one another, we can then provide the same culture for our clients, making us even better therapists.
- I wanted to be surrounded by amazing therapists who I can continue to learn from. It’s so important to continue to grow as a therapist, continue to expand your knowledge and skills to provide the best care for clients. This could be having an amazing supervisor with many years of experience and knowledge to pass on and/or being in a multidisciplinary team where I can learn from colleagues in other professions.
- An amazing admin team is a must to keep things running smoothly.
Beam Health met these criteria. My journey with Beam started in October 2021 when a brand-new Beam clinic opened in the middle of Tuggerah. I had finally found my work family I had been searching for.
So what is Beam?
In 2016, Beam Health started off as a little psychology practice in Cardiff Newcastle with the big aim of creating a unique multidisciplinary health hub for children, youth and families. The service moved to a bigger clinic in Warners Bay, then has since grown and expanded into both Cessnock and the Central Coast, providing high quality support for many children and young people every year. Beam is now a multidisciplinary team of passionate, experienced, and qualified psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and behavioral specialists (And now I am lucky enough to be one of them!!!).
We also have the most wonderful team of admin staff that we could not live without. I have never worked with a more organized, friendly, and helpful team of admin.
A brand new Tuggerah Clinic
In my 4 years of working as a speech pathologist and living on the Central coast, I have noticed that our community does not have easy access to speech pathology services. There is a shortage of speech pathology practices on the Central Coast, and the practices we do have are backed up with waiting lists. I am so glad that the Central Coast now has a Beam team of speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and psychologists to service our local community and hopefully help to close this gap. And the best thing is, as we are a brand-new clinic, there is no wait list for speech services!!!
What to expect at your first appointment with a Speech Pathologist at Beam
When you call up to make your first enquiry or booking, you are greeted by one of our lovely admin team (I can’t praise these guys enough for the job that they do!), who will match your needs with a therapist and book you in for your first session at Beam, which is called an Initial Consultation.
What paperwork is involved?
The admin team will email a consent form and Client Information Form for you to complete and send back to us, ideally before your first session. We ask that clients complete the forms prior to their session, so that your clinician can prepare any resources and materials, and have an idea of your needs before you even step into the clinic.
There is some additional paperwork involved for NDIS participants, which your clinician will complete with you during the initial consultation session. It is important to discuss the types of services that will best suit the client and support them in working towards their NDIS goals. A service plan will be created with you and include information such as frequency and number of sessions, hours and funds required.
Do I bring my child with me for the first session?
When our Admin team book your first appointment, they will let you know whether to bring your child to the initial consultation session. Typically, if you are a full-fee paying client or have a referral for a Medicare rebate, then you are required to bring your child to the session. If your child has an NDIS plan, then we ask that parents/carers attend on their own but if your child is over the age of 12 years, then it’s up to you if they attend the session.
What happens at the first session?
Your first session is called an Initial Consultation. During this session, the clinician will obtain a case history by going through your completed forms, asking questions and discussing developmental, medical, educational, family history. We also encourage you to bring along any supporting documentation or previous therapy reports. The session gives you and the clinician a chance to spend time together to get to know your situation, understand your needs and concerns. In collaboration with you, we set goals, customise therapy to your family’s specific concerns and needs and develop a plan to help reach the goals.
For NDIS participants, we will complete the NDIS service agreement and plan to make sure that we are providing supports that are best suited to the client and their family.
If your child attends the session, we usually have the room set up with some exciting activities and games. During the first half of the session, the clinician will obtain a case history and complete any paperwork whilst your child explores the activities. The therapist tends to observe the child’s interactions and engagement whilst chatting to the parents/carers. During the second half of the session, the fun really starts! The clinician will play games and activities with the child as a way of building rapport, observing their speech sounds, understanding and use of language, social communication and play skills. If we need to get some further information or determine if an assessment is needed, then we may complete an informal screener.
At the end of the session, the clinician will discuss their observations and if therapy sessions are recommended.
How long are the sessions?
An initial consultation is 50 minutes. Our therapy sessions are 50 minutes, however if we find that this is too long for your child or their goals, then we may discuss shortening them to 30 minutes.
What happens next?
Many other speech pathology services jump straight into a formal assessment. Here at Beam, we only do a formal, standardised assessment if it’s necessary or required. A formal assessment can take a lot of time, be costly and at times, may be stressful for a child. Informal observations in combination with screeners are a useful way to identify areas of strength and those which may be challenging. If a formal, standardised assessment is recommended, then the clinician will discuss this with you during the initial consultation session.
Get in touch
If your child could benefit from the support of a Speech Pathologist, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a chat about your child’s situation and how we may be able to help.