Giving others a voice

A country girl at heart, speech pathologist Anna Haire grew up on a property in south west of NSW, where she developed an interest in rural health. After completing her studies in Speech Pathology at the University of Sydney, Anna returned to the country and began her professional career in Tamworth in north west NSW.

Anna’s passion for speech pathology grew as she realised that communication difficulties can have a life-long impact. She broadened her knowledge and experience by working in Britain for a couple of years before returning once again to rural clinics in New South Wales.

She has enjoyed working with both adults and children throughout her career and loves the broad range of opportunities available in rural clinics. She often works in Narrabri and Wee Waa primary schools and has a strong interest in school age language.

“I like to keep things fun and relevant and recently ran an oral language presentation for 4-6 year olds based around emus hatching. I live on an emu farm, so that allowed easy access to the main subject of the talks!” she said.

Anna feels that the 1.2 million Australians who live with a communication disability are largely invisible, unseen and out of sight. She hopes initiatives like Speech Pathology Week promoting ‘Communicating with Confidence’ can help increase awareness of this relatively large group in our communities.

“I’ve been with HealthWISE since it started so it has been a great pleasure to watch it flourish over the past few years. I love how HealthWISE embraces technology and this can be seen in the Telehealth services we offer as well as other technology that we use in therapy,” she said.

A mother of five children, Anna is very familiar with the Sounds good to me program, a school readiness course designed by speech pathologists for early childhood educators. Her own children attended a centre locally where Sounds good to me was being delivered and she could see how it improved their phonological awareness skills in a fun and engaging way. As a speech pathologist, Anna knows that these skills are a strong predictor for later success in reading.