Emma McRorie is the owner of Speech and Language Sydney, a mobile paediatric speech pathology practice. Emma and her team are experienced in providing assessment and therapy for a range of communication difficulties and have a particular interest in working with children and young adults on the autism spectrum. A fully mobile service, Emma and her team will conduct sessions at the child’s home, preschool or school, with the understanding that working in a familiar environment gives the best results for her client group.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a Scottish speech pathologist living in Gladesville. After gaining my degree in Speech Therapy in Edinburgh, I worked in London for 7 years. Then in 2016, together with my husband, I made the move to Sydney and we LOVE it here!
What did you do prior to setting up your business?
I worked for 7 years for the National Health Service (NHS) in London, which is similar to the Australian public health system. I gained experience in working with children and young adults with a range of difficulties with speech sound, language and social communication. I loved the variety the role provided and the opportunities it gave me to work closely with other professionals, such as occupational therapists, psychologists and teachers.
During that time I found my passion for working with children and young people with social communication difficulties and Autism. I attended some courses that really changed my perspective on working with children with Autism. I enjoyed getting to know families and working with them to identify the reasons for their child’s behaviour and difficulties. In particular, I loved sharing with them that if we approach things differently, adapt our own behaviour and put strategies in place, then we can support their child’s communication skills and understanding of the world around them.
When I arrived in Sydney, I worked in a great private practice in the Hills district before moving to work with a not-for-profit organisation in the Inner West.
What inspired you to set up Speech and Language Sydney?
I realised that in Sydney, most speech pathology private practices are clinic based. Family life can be busy and it’s generally much more convenient for families if the child can be seen at home, preschool or school. Additionally, all the research for working with children with Autism points to working in their familiar environment. I really felt that I needed to spread the word that being in a person’s home, school or workplace works best!
Speech and Language Sydney is fully mobile and lots of families that come to us have tried therapy in a clinic setting and have decided to look for someone who can see their child at home or school.
What services do you offer?
We offer assessment and therapy for children and young adults. We are experienced in working with children with a range of speech and language difficulties. My particular passions are working with children with Autism, as I mentioned, and working with preschoolers. My other therapist, Cassandra, enjoys working with children with Autism and preschoolers too and also has a particular interest in working with those using AAC (such as signing, pictures or high-tech communication devices) to communicate.
We also run term-time and holiday group sessions for children with social communication difficulties. My favourite sessions are our Lego Based Therapy group sessions – the kids love them … and I do too!
What can clients expect from your services?
Children can expect our sessions to be fun and include activities that are interesting for them. For example, we often use Equestria Girls, Paw Patrol or Minecraft in our sessions.
Parents can expect us to work closely with them and at times to join in with the sessions too. Together with the parents, we identify their child’s strengths and set targets that are functional and will have a positive impact across their day and with a range of people.
Where relevant, we will liaise with daycare, preschool or school staff to share strategies and operate as a team around the child. We will also communicate with other professionals; for example, if your child is also seeing an occupational therapist or psychologist, we will share with them what we are working on and vice versa.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The clients! I enjoy finding new ways to keep them interested in what we are doing. I love sharing a part of their journey and celebrating their progress. There’s a saying: ‘Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. It sounds clichéd but for me, this is true. I love being a speech therapist!
Have you ever read a book that has changed your perspective or path in life?
I have read so many good books but I’m not sure I would say they have changed my path in life. I am currently reading Neurotribes by Steve Silberman which is a must-read for everyone and talks about ‘thinking differently about those who think differently’.
Favourite places in the Inner West?
I love anywhere near the water – this is what I love most about Sydney!
I take some time out between sessions once a week in Birchgrove and buy a tea and cake at Charlotte Cafe and take a walk down to the harbour. There’s also pretty special spot by the water near Gladesville Hospital that my husband and I like to visit at sunset.
Getting to Know … back articles
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Cover photograph by Wolfwerk Photography