Powerful Speech Devices | Marathon Health
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Health and wellbeing Posted: 29 November 2022

Powerful speech devices

While the rest of Dubbo is slowly rising and enjoying their morning coffee, Kylie and Kiyan, outreach Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist are up early and flying to Walgett to meet with their clients. As they soar through the air, the ground below is glistening – what would have been a farmer’s crop is now completely under water.

The flight showcases regional Australia’s harsh landscape and the never-ending battle with the weather.

Once we land, we walk into the school library; all four walls are covered in colourful children’s books. In the centre of the room are pillows, toys, and the Liberator Rugged 10 device in a sturdy black case. Today Kylie is visiting 12-year-old Xander and his mum Kylie. Xander is non-verbal and currently trialling the device that Kylie and her team won at the Australian Group of Severe Communication Impairment conference.

Xander is out of his wheelchair and full of energy, while Kylie shows him how to say ‘hi’ on the device. She then presses ‘custard’ and Xander’s face lights up and a cheeky smile appears – it’s recess time.

Living in rural and remote areas can be challenging especially when it comes to accessing assisted technology, but as soon as Kylie and her team won the Rugged 10 device, she knew the perfect person to trial it. Before Xander had access to the device he would communicate by banging his head, which caused a lot of stress and frustration for not only Xander but his family as well.

“It has certainly been a learning curve, but he is becoming less frustrated which means we are too,” Xander’s mum said.

By accessing this device, it means he can communicate with his family and friends instead of banging his head or feeling agitated.

“Being able to trial a device like this has completely improved Xander’s quality of life. Once the trial phase is over it is something we would look at purchasing through his NDIS funding,” Kylie said.

“We knew that Xander and his family would be eager to try this device and being able to support them through this trial phase means Xander is communicating better, and school and home life is becoming easier.

We outreach to these communities often so the fact that we can visit Xander regularly and see his progress means that we can be there every step of the way to support him and his family.”

Alongside Kylie, Xander also accesses an Occupational Therapist and a Behaviour Support Coordinator through Marathon Health which means he has constant support.

“It’s very helpful to our family that all of Xander’s supports are in one place, it means the therapists can talk to each other and everyone is on the same page,” Xander’s mum said.

Kylie spends two hours with Xander, his mum and school supports, making sure he has everything he needs until her next visit. From there, she links back up with Kiyan and they drive to The Ridge to visit more clients.

The flight back into Dubbo, just on dusk, is breath taking. The people of regional Australia are starting to wind down after another busy day. The team coast to a soft land, happy with the work that has been completed today. An outreach day solidifies the importance of our allied health team and the increased need of accessing health care and assisted technology wherever our clients choose to live.

An outreach day is busy, but above all – it’s rewarding.

Page last updated: 17 November 2023

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