Speech Pathology Placement in Rockhampton

Student Reflection


Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Speech and Language Therapy

Placement Location:

Rockhampton, QLD

Year of Placement:


I am a career changer, moving into the allied health sector by studying a Masters in Speech & Language Therapy. Unlike many of the other ACEN WIL Scholarship recipients, I’m still trying to determine my identity within this space. I’m studying externally, from the remote regional community of Roma in Queensland’s south-west, where I live with my young family. My working background is far removed from healthcare, and the vast scope of Speech & Language Pathology (SLP) is quite daunting if I’m honest. I wanted and continue to want my placement experiences to provide exposure to diverse client groups, therapy types, communities, and healthcare teams, so as to enable me to explore SLP practices, develop diverse therapy strategies through practical experience, and build working relationships and networks that I can call upon when managing complex client goals in the future.

This was my first placement, asking me to relocate to the central Queensland city of Rockhampton for four weeks. I worked with a private multidisciplinary paediatric allied health practice, servicing clients and families with ALL SORTS of complex developmental difficulties. 

Through this placement I was able to experience SLP work in school-based settings; clinical feeding programs for children with challenging oral aversions and behaviours relating to food; and clinical therapy sessions with complex communication and physical difficulties from early years to high school aged children. I was given opportunities to work as part of a multidisciplinary team, to understand the importance of holistic therapy focusing on developmentally appropriate treatment, catering to client and family needs. I experienced and worked with alternative and augmentative communication across multiple platforms, including electromyography and 3D spatial control technologies.

This placement provided me with an insight into the daily lives and healthcare needs of children and families with complex disabilities. It forced me to adapt to an unfamiliar client caseload and actively participate in learning more about the development of goals and engagement for this client population. I gained an understanding of current NDIS practices from both a service provider standpoint and a client/family position, which often isn’t touched on enough as part of our studies. Throughout my placement I continued to grow my skills in building rapport and trust with clients and families. I began to develop an understanding of the social context of complex disability within communities and healthcare services, becoming more aware of power relationships and the reliance of families upon responses of clinical best-practices. 

Living in a regional area I am aware of the desperate need for healthcare services to be available beyond metro-borders, however my placement really opened my eyes to the vulnerable status of families and clients with complex disabilities in regional locations. Not only in the ability to access healthcare but to access clinicians with an understanding of complex disability needs and the requirement for sustainable holistic care. My growth in knowledge through this experience would be difficult to attain from standardised studies alone or even through placement in mainstream therapy providers within metro areas. 

My WIL placement has been invaluable and the support from ACEN, to make this a viable option financially, is wonderful. The accompanying Mentorship gave me grounding in this unfamiliar working environment, offering support and insight into translating this learning into identification of employability skills. I would encourage other students to experience regional WIL placements and to apply for this scholarship through ACEN.

Explore our Resources