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The Speechie

I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) working in Australia. I’ve dabbled a couple other professions before (advertising, sales and marketing) and thought briefly about a career in public relations. But really, my passion lies in languages and children with communication difficulties, hence, being an SLP was a natural fit! I love my job and can’t imagine myself doing anything else! (Although in another life, if I became better at writing and someone would pay me, I could also see myself being a travel writer, or a food reviewer!) Currently, I am a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist in Australia and was once upon a time also certified with the American Speech and Hearing Association (until it got too expensive to keep both certifications, such a shame!).

I also speak Mandarin and some Cantonese and have experience conducting therapy in both languages. Hopefully through this site, I’ll be able to share resources and information more targeted to Australia and eventually Asia. My aim is to eventually add resources in Mandarin as they are almost impossible to find anywhere! The reflections and posts on this blog are solely mine unless otherwise stated. They are not of my employer’s or any professional organizations’. I also hope to share materials and resources I use at work or have found, and facilitate discussions on what can be done better. Blogging – writing – and reading other people’s posts, have given me opportunities to reflect on my practices and experiment different ways of working; I have learned so much in the last few months! If there are any misquotations or misrepresentations on this site, I did not mean them intentionally and please let me know immediately.

In March 2013, I finally answered a calling to volunteer my time and expertise, in Shanghai, China. Lugging my very supportive hubby and young son, we traveled together to this crazy yet charming land. I spent nearly 10 days at a foster home that cared for babies (orphans and abandoned) 0-2 years old who primarily had cleft lip and palate.  It was an amazing experience but also opened my eyes and heart to the huge need there of working with children (and adults) with disabilities. Now that I’m home, and unsure how to help from miles away in Australia, I’m hoping to do what little I can at the moment and advocate for more volunteers to head to China and other developing communities through my blog.

An update in 2015: I decided to start my own private business and am practicing under Speech Ease Speech Pathology. Some of my blog posts that I think may be of interest to my clients may reappear on that site. Just so you know.

x The Speech Monster. 2013. Connect with me on twitter: @originalcherbie


Leave a Comment
  1. S Lowry / Apr 19 2013 4:51 pm

    Hi there. Have you got any more details on the volunteer work that you did in China?
    S Lowry

    • the speech monster / Apr 20 2013 5:02 am

      Hi! Yes a post about it is number three on list of things to do this weekend…hopefully I’ll get to write it soon! :-))

  2. MK / Jun 1 2013 10:00 pm

    Hi! I stumbled upon your blog and I have to say, it feels great knowing that there is another English/Canto/Mandarin speaking SLP out there. I only had a chance to read through a few of your entries but the Chinese/English materials are wonderful! I’m currently a 1st year grad (almost 2nd year) student in the States and still deciding where I would like to work in the future.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the blog! I look forward to reading through the entries!

    • the speech monster / Jun 4 2013 11:08 am

      Hi there are actually a few of us out there! 🙂 i’m slowly discovering them myself. i’m not sure where you are in the states but it’s probably not difficult to locate the mandarin/cantonese speaking ones. i’m glad you found the posts useful. are you able to work with mandarin speaking clients in your course? if you decide on trying out an internship or working in china, do let me know!! C

  3. KED / Jul 28 2013 11:13 pm


    I am an SLP working in the US and looking to move to Australia. What recommendations do you have as to where to begin? Skilled visa list? Getting a membership through SPA? Finding a job/business where I would like to work? I appreciate any help you can give!

    • the speech monster / Jul 30 2013 11:42 am

      Hi there!

      If you are under 30, I think you can apply for a work holiday visa quite easily of course that means you will be slightly limited in the types of jobs as most people would be seeking permanent positions (but it’s not uncommon to see a fair number of 1 year contract positions).

      I would probably start by looking at obtaining a visa through the skilled visa list on the Immigration website: before looking up SPA. If you are certified with ASHA that process to gain accreditation with SPA is fairly straightforward (albeit a bit pricey).

      There may not be too many employers would be willing to sponsor visas unless perhaps you looked for work in more rural areas such as the Northern Territory of the country where response rates are typically lower may sponsor in that case it would be fairly straightforward and may wait for you to get certified, too. You could check online job sites such as to see if they have ads that encourage foreigners to apply as they might be able to help with visa applications.

      I’m not sure where you’re hoping to find work, but I hear that at the moment, there does not seem to be as much work available in Melbourne as there have been a couple new SLP courses that have opened up that have already seen a couple of graduating classes.

      Hope that helped. My situation was easier as my husband’s employer paid for his work visa and mine, too. So all I had to do was get in touch with SPA and get certified/membership (which was a big pain; but that’s another story that won’t apply to you).

      Here’s a forum that you might find useful:

      Hope that helped, and good luck!!


  4. Emily / Aug 17 2013 9:58 am

    Hi I’m a bilingual(Eng/Chi) SP student in Aus and hope to volunteer with International China Concern again after my graduation at the end of the year. I’m also thinking of moving to Melb to work. It would be great if we can connect and chat more about what can be done in China. 🙂 Looking forward to hearing from you!

    • the speech monster / Aug 19 2013 12:15 pm

      Hi Emily
      Will you email me cherylyelien at gmail dot com.


  5. Jessica / May 19 2014 4:33 am

    Hi! I was so excited when I found your blog! I am an undergraduate student in the States majoring in SLP and I am also going into my 3rd semester of Mandarin. My TA for my first into to SLP class told me that there is not much overlap between the Chinese and Speech Pathology, and I refuse to believe that!!! I am very interested in going to China next summer and I would like to intern/volunteer/study. I have never been to China before and I am not sure what I should focus on while I am there. I really want to improve my Chinese but I also want to observe or intern in an environment that SLPs work. I read your other blog posts about your experience in China and your suggestions for programs to get involved in. I really like ICC and Olivia’s Place. Do you have any other advice about studying Chinese through a studying abroad program in China vs volunteering in SLP work? Is it feasible to do both in a summer? At first I was sure that I wanted to just do an academic study abroad, but now I wonder whether it would be better to work with an organization during my time there. I am very passionate about this and would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you very much!

    • the speech monster / May 29 2014 10:56 am

      Hello, thanks for your comments. I can totally sense your enthusiasm. To be honest, I would probably try volunteering so you can get first hand experience of what it’s like doing both SLP and working in Mandarin. I’m not sure what subjects you’d do through an academic study abroad but if it’s mostly language related ones, you can always boost your Mandarin skills later through taking additional classes or just by practicing the language on the job.
      Then again, that’s just what I would do if it were me…I hope you find the best solution and get a great experience out of what you eventually decide to do.

      Best wishes.

  6. sammoody14 / Jun 21 2014 6:01 am

    Hi there! I’m an undergraduate SLP student in TX. I will be going to china during the spring (2015) semester, through the SIT study abroad program. Which means that I will be creating a field based research project while I am there. Right now I have absolutely no idea what to work on. I was thinking Possibly how air pollution can effect speech intelligibly in a tonal language? But that’s just a thought. I would greatly appreciate any ideas or advice.

  7. Chunya Yu / Nov 18 2014 1:30 am

    What a great resource for our mandarin speaking families. I am a practicing SLP in California and have served countless mandarin speaking families. Are you a private speech therapist? Or do you work in the schools?

    • the speech monster / Nov 21 2014 11:31 pm

      Hi there! Thanks for your comment. I am on mat leave at the moment but prior I was working in a public school district and also doing private work at a clinic. After my leave I will be doing only private work.
      Have you been working in the area for long? Do you have many resources and a network of Mandarin speaking SLPs in the States? There aren’t too many of us (Mandarin/Cantonese speakers) here in Aus so always lovely to “meet” and connect with someone else virtually!

    • the speech monster / Jan 27 2015 11:18 am

      Hi, I used to do both: work in a public school district and do private work. But now I’m starting to venture into doing just private work. Do you have any Mandarin resources you’d be happy to share? I’m always looking out for new ones! Let me know – we can start some kind of group share if you’re keen!

  8. Kai Yee Wong / Jan 18 2016 7:11 pm

    Hi I am a student studying speech pathology in HK. Since our curriculum only includes Cantonese and English therapy, I would like to know more about the Mandarin therapy. The information online is so limited and I am glad that I found your blog! Besides, I really want to know more about your volunteering experience in China. Can we talk more on Facebook? 😀

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