We have internationally reputed and published academic staff who are actively researching in a range of specialist areas in communication sciences and disorders. This provides students with the distinct benefit of studying with experts in the field.
The Faculty of Health Sciences is also home to the Australian Stuttering Research Centre. Researchers from the Centre contribute significantly to the course, and students have access to the on-site teaching clinic which services the community and gives candidates the opportunity for hands-on experience.
Speech pathologists work with children and adults with communication difficulties caused by congenital or developmental problems, illness, and emotional or physical trauma. These difficulties include multiple problems with speaking, understanding what people say, reading, writing, voice problems and stuttering. Speech pathologists also work with children and adults who have swallowing difficulties or need alternative, non-verbal ways to communicate. Their workplaces are diverse, and include hospitals, schools, health centres, and universities, to name a few.
Dr Cate Madill is the Director of the Voice Research Laboratory at the Faculty of Health Sciences. She conducts experimental and applied clinical research into the mechanism and processes that change the voice.
Originally I trained as an actor and in acting school fell in love with the voice classes. I decided I wanted to work in the area of voice as a career. I applied for the Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at the University of Sydney. I finally found my niche – I loved it!
The human voice is hard-wired to express who we are and how we feel – it is one of our most fundamental mechanisms of survival and integral to our everyday existence. This means that we reflect ourselves and our current state in the sound of the voice. Assessing and treating voice disorders requires an understanding of this fact, and requires the clinician to set the client up for success by empowering them as much as possible.
Speech Pathology is a diverse and relatively new field in health and we are discovering knowledge about how humans vocalise, speak and understand language all the time. There are often no ‘right’ answers or best treatments to guide clinical practice. Students therefore have to develop clinical reasoning skills and trust that their judgement is ‘correct’.
I try to call students forth to be more than they think they can be. Often it is the limiting thoughts we place on ourselves that are our greatest challenges.
The Faculty is a lively, creative and inspiring workplace. The staff and students are energised by the passion for what they do, and there is a genuine and deeply felt drive to produce not only the best graduates but also generate research outcomes that have a positive impact on the world.