Hi everyone,

I’m Michele, and I am back in my 2nd Year of the MIS(LIP), studying part-time externally.  I live in lovely, sunny Yeppoon in Central Queensland.

I am a long-time speech pathologist, looking to change careers.  I have worked primarily with people with disabilities during my career.  I have learned a lot; about communication, speech, language, and behaviour; not to mention different approaches to therapy, including person-centred, relationship-based approaches through to didactic behaviourist approaches.  I have a special interest in the development of intentional communication, which occurs at  around the 8-10 month mark  in typical development, but may not occur at all in some people with profound disabilities.  Intentional communication is great, because it is at this stage that someone realises that they can use their behaviour to communicate a message to someone. This is where you see a whole host of communicative behaviours occurring (before the development of speech), including joint attention (this is very important – this is where a person shifts their gaze between something in the environment, to a person, and back to the something again), reaching for things, gesturing, leading people to what they want, giving and showing items, and pointing.  I love to see pointing. If I see pointing and joint attention, I think “woohoo! I might be able to teach some signs here, and this person could have a symbolic way to communicate”.  I love to use play and super-motivating activities to develop communication skills.

I could go on and on, but I won’t, because I understand that my particular area of interest may not necessarily be interesting to others.  If you have stuck with me for this long, I will wrap up by saying a little bit about what I like to do in my spare time. Actually, I don’t really have spare time. When I am not working, I am usually being a wife, mother, house-cleaner, runner, and now part-time student.  I do love to read and listen to music, and sleep.  I don’t get enough sleep.

Looking forward to the semester. I hope to have some fun playing with technology, while I am also learning.



  1. kathleen · March 4, 2016

    That information about intentional communication is so interesting! And it is an interest that I think I can see mirrored in library and information practice, it’s all about getting the right information across, and speech pathologists want to help people to be able to ask for the right information and librarians want to help them find it. That’s my take on it anyway (and I don’t know a lot about speech pathology!), so tell me if you think I am onto something or way off course.


    • Michele Smith · March 5, 2016

      Thanks Kathleen. That’s a nice parallel you’ve drawn – I could take it a little further to say that a person might come to a librarian with a poorly formulated query/request, and the librarian helps the person to shape it into a fully formulated, intelligible request that enables them to get their message across and successfully fulfil their information need. Similarly, a speech pathologist helps a person shape their query/request to be better formulated or more intelligible so that they can get their message across and fulfil their communication need.


      • kathleen · March 5, 2016

        I am glad I was on the right track, and love where you have taken this idea.


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