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Speech & Language Therapist

This is my ChildVision family,” Senior Speech and Language Therapist Sinéad Fitzpatrick says with a smile.

Sinead's Personal Story image

And  her  role is nothing like you might expect. “In  the  morning I could be under a table in the  preschool, working with a child on  farm animal concepts that develop language through play. In an  hour’s time I could be in primary school with an  MDVI (multiply disabled and visually impaired) child looking at food  consistencies and safe textures for them to eat.”

She pauses to explain how some children have disabilities that keep  them from swallowing certain foods, and how textures are critically important. “By the afternoon, I could be with vocational students working on  role  plays  and improvisations. I get to wear  so many different hats, and I love that.”

“We have great  opportunities to trial  new programmes,” Sinéad describes, as entrée to two exciting developments to help her  MDVI students. “Our  adaptation of the  Royal Irish  Academy of Music’s (RIAM) speech and drama syllabus makes ChildVision the  only organization in Ireland to utilise this  programme. It builds what we call pragmatic language development – language and social  skills – but  students use their creativity and imagination at the  same  time.”

With a Masters from the  University of Essex, Sinéad is also helping change how students are diagnosed. To a visually impaired child, the  world can  be a scary  place. So they sometimes behave in ways that mimic autism. Yet autism’s gold  standard diagnostic test,  called ADOS, relies  on  visual materials and eye contact. “With special permission from ADOS publishers,” Sinéad explains “we are making adaptations for our children with little or no  functional vision. This is a long term research project, and one  I’m very passionate about .”

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