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31 May, 2024

Handpicked highlights: kicking off conference season with SPA 2024

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4 mins to read

Over three inspiring days, we had the pleasure of attending the Speech Pathology Australia 2024 Conference as an official sponsor in Perth.

This event was an incredible opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and dive into current evidence-based practice, whilst exploring what is yet to come for Speech Pathologists.

The conference theme, Communicating for Life, highlighted the essential role Speech Pathologists play in enhancing communication across all ages. Attendees were treated to an exciting program of thought-provoking presentations, interactive sessions, and engaging discussions that truly highlighted the depth and breadth of the field.

Here are some of our top takeaways from the action-packed three days:

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The importance of AI

Speech Pathology Australia acknowledged the growing use of AI and its benefits for practice. They discussed the importance of using AI ethically and ensuring that tools are secure and meet privacy standards. SPA highlighted the benefits of adopting AI, such as providing increased access to resources whilst operating more efficiently. Many great features were discussed for practice, including utilising speech to text, in addition to text analysis and summary for progress notes and reporting.

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Rethinking Dysphagia Rehabilitation

Maggie-Lee Huckabee, a leading Speech-Language Pathologist, is challenging traditional dysphagia (swallowing) rehabilitation methods. She is calling for a shift in how clinicians assess and treat dysphagia. Maggie tells that historically diagnostic tools have only shown us the biomechanics of a swallow. She emphasised that focus also needs to be on finding ways to assess and treat impaired physiology. She highlighted the need for personalised treatment plans, shared great benefits of using biofeedback tools such as the innovative BiSSkiT software, and expressed the need for ongoing professional development in this area.

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Emphasising Neuro-Affirming Practice

Speech Pathologists are increasingly adopting neuro-affirming practices that respect and support neurological and cognitive differences. This approach focuses on strengths, tailors interventions to individual needs, promotes dignity and identity, engages client-centered therapy, and advocates for neurodiversity and systemic changes.

We loved meeting and speaking with so many Speech Pathologists, and it was a pleasure being part of such a knowledgeable community. Engaging with experts in the field allowed for a rich exchange of ideas and best practices in speech therapy. These interactions broadened our understanding of innovative approaches to assessment and treatment and opened up opportunities for future collaborations. Safe to say, it was as inspiring as it was educational, and the three days highlighted the importance of collaboration from all areas, to advance the field of Speech Pathology.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who made our time memorable, and who came and said "Hello!" to us. We look forward to continuing these important conversations, and can't wait to see everyone at future events.

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