Laura Hansen is a paediatric speech pathologist who has children making snails and planting flowers in pots they’ve decorated themselves. It’s all part of her fun-focused multi-sensory approach to helping children reach successful speech outcomes.
Laura is part of the large team of wide-ranging allied health specialists at Macedon Ranges Health in Gisborne.
She brings her skills to children aged from two to 12, developing their communication and social skills, confidence and self-esteem – and she encourages parents to stay and be involved in the sessions.
Each term, Laura chooses a theme on which to base her therapy.
“At the moment, it’s gardens,” she says. “We’ve been using sensory bins filled with the likes of gum leaves, wood, pine cones and sand; craft activities, like making snails; board games; picture storybooks about gardens; and painting, play dough, puzzles, and toys such as felt gardens.”
While Laura is very much about fun and making speech pathology sessions engaging for children, she’s also a professional with loads of work and life experience.
“It was after completing a bachelor of health sciences/master of speech pathology that I decided on a career in paediatric speech pathology,” she says. “It was a natural fit for me because I love working with children and creating a fun learning environment.
“I worked as an au pair in France, at the same time teaching English to children aged between three and seven at the local primary school. When I came back, I supported a local prep/grade 1 teacher.”
So now she’s with Macedon Ranges Health, what services does Laura offer?
• Assessment and therapy services for children.
• Assessments for speech and language.
• Articulation/speech sound delays or disorders.
• Language delays and disorders – grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, following directions.
• Phonological awareness difficulties (pre-reading and spelling skills).
• Literacy difficulties (reading, spelling, dyslexia).
• Fluency/stuttering difficulties – trained in the Lidcombe Program.
• Pragmatic (social) difficulties – trained in the Secret Agent Society Program.
• Auditory processing and comprehension difficulties.
• Developmental delays and early learning difficulties.
• Autism Spectrum Disorder.
• Vocabulary development of late talkers.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is available on eligible services.
Since starting as the Gisborne Bush Nursing Hospital in 1958, Macedon Ranges Health has grown to become one of regional Victoria’s most comprehensive primary health and aged-care services.
This year, MRH will amalgamate with Benetas, a leading provider of residential, home and retirement services, to create a $60 million investment in the local community and ensure the long-term delivery of high-quality, not-for-profit services.
The centre’s team includes paediatric and general psychologists, social workers, a mental health nurse and counselling staff. Other services include physiotherapy, exercise physiology, occupational therapy and podiatry. Public and private appointments are available.
Macedon Ranges Health, 5 Neal Street, Gisborne. Opens 8.30am-6.30pm Monday and Tuesday, 8.30am-7.30pm Wednesday and Thursday and 8.30am-5pm Friday. Inquiries: 5428 0300 or mrh.org.au