Helping children to reach their full potential.

From the Desk of… Eleni Michael

A peek into a speech therapy room at Hear and Say often reveals an appointment in action filled with lots of toys, singing songs and imaginary play.

It might look like just fun and games, but behind the scenes is an individually-tailored plan which works to develop a child’s specific, age-appropriate speech and language goals. Eleni Michael, Listening and Spoken Language Specialists at our Gold Coast centre, explains.



  1. Books: A great way to expose children to lots of different sounds, language and speech is through reading. We recommend parents/carers aim to read at least one book each day to their child – ideally many more! Choose books which are suitable to their age, entertaining and full of bright visuals. For babies and young children, simple picture books filled with things your child can identify are best. Check out more tips here.
  2. Laptop: I love that my day involves meeting with families both face-to-face in our centre at Varsity Lakes, and also linking in with people from towns all over the state! Our telepractice appointments mean that children can have their specialist speech therapy services in the way that best suits their family’s lifestyle, and location isn’t an issue. This has been especially important during the pandemic, when outbreaks sometimes force us to temporarily shut our centres and move everything online.
  3. Sea life puzzle: A big part of any speech therapy session with children is play! Through games, craft and toys, we can keep a child engaged while also focusing on specific speech, language and listening skills. This colourful ocean-themed puzzle is not only perfectly on theme for our coastal families, but is a handy tool for working on goals such as building vocabulary, responding to instructions and use of descriptive language.
  4. Hearing device headband: When parents ask how often their child should be wearing their hearing devices, we often say: “Eyes open, hearing devices on.” That means, aiming to wear hearing devices for all waking hours wherever possible. At Hear and Say, we support children and people of all ages with many types and degrees of hearing loss, and lots of different technology too – from cochlear implants, to hearing aids and bone conduction hearing devices. Parents build up lots of tips and tricks for helping their child to keep their devices on, including these handy headbands.
  5. LEGO bricks: Playing with toys such as LEGO is another way we can work on speech and language goals while having lots of fun!

We’re also very excited to have LEGO Masters grand finalists Andrew Tuppen and Damian Hinds join forces Hear and Say next month to build 3D Charlotte’s Web, Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory LEGO creations in three Gold Coast libraries. These books were hand-picked by Hear and Say children, with the project promoting children’s language and literacy skills by nurturing a love of stories in young readers. It times with our annual Loud Shirt Day fundraiser too, where the community dresses in their wildest getup and raises vital funds for kids with hearing loss.


Maia’s Story

At 9.10pm on 24 October 2013 our beautiful daughter Maia was born. 

The moment of elation was short-lived as we immediately noticed her left ear was missing. I frantically looked to the medical team around me for answers but received none.

Panic set in as we waited 4 days in hospital for an ENT to explain her condition, by which point we already had all the answers from Simone, who runs the Microtia and Atresia Program at Hear and Say.

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