The Spot Family

WHO WE ARE

Providers of consistent, accessible therapy

Consistent & reliable therapy is hard to come by. Our team can support you always, not matter where you are.

Scroll down to meet the team!

Meet The Family

Heidi Begg

Director/ Principal Speech Pathologist

Sarah Banford

Speech Therapist

Taylor Price

Speech Therapist

Annie Towers

Speech Therapist​

Alex Archer

Book Keeping / Finance

Jade McRae

Speech Therapist

Laura Barkla

Administration

Danielle Wales

Speech Therapist

Sarah Rolfe

Speech Therapist

Sally Hacker

Book Keeping / Finance ​

Kimberley Lockly

Speech Pathologist

Ashling Barry

Speech Pathologist

What's Next?

Book your free consult

Anyone can make a referral to our service and access therapy straight away from home, school, or hospital! 

ONLINE HEALTH CARE

About Teletherapy

What is teletherapy?

Teletherapy is the delivery of assessment and therapy online. But it’s more than that. It empowers children, adults, schools, hospitals and families to access the services that they need, at the click of a button. Also, research has found that teletherapy is proven to have the same outcomes as in-person therapy!

Who can do teletherapy?

Anyone who needs it! We serve families with babies and toddlers, children, teenagers and adults. Teletherapy can support any individual, but it can also support schools, hospitals, nursing homes and community health centres to access the high quality allied health services that they need. This means an in-house therapist might not be necessary and you can access a range of experienced clinicians, at the click of  a button. When we partner with a school or hospital, we provide training for your staff and any families members to support the easy implementation of teletherapy in your organisation.

The SPOT Story

Growing up between Bollon & Cunnamulla, there weren’t many shops. Forget shops, there wasn’t a hospital. We had a bush nurse about 1 hour down the road, and the closest hospital was 2 hours away. In this hospital however, you didn’t find any allied health professionals that provide therapy to little kids with disabilities. My mother tells a story of once driving to Toowoomba, over a 12 hour round trip, to visit a Speech Pathologist. This therapist was unable to fathom how “advanced” my brother Jack was. He was a cute little boy with Down Syndrome who had amazing manners and was hitting his speech and language milestones. Shocking. Unfortunately, mum wasn’t impressed with the session and decided that the 12 hour trip wasn’t going to be worth it in the future. What a shame that this was her only experience, and a 12 hour round-trip was her only choice.

CAREERS

Are you a therapist? Join the family!

We’re always looking to take on more teletherapists. If you think you’re a good fit for the SPOT team, apply today. 

Vision Statement

Initially, our vision was to bring high quality, accessible healthcare and specialised learning support services to those living in rural and remote Australia. Since we started delivering teletherapy services, our vision has evolved. We now have a vision for all individuals, schools, and hospitals to have access to high quality allied health services, without barriers. 

Throughout this process, we still aim to educate, inform, and empower those who are living in remote areas to make informed decisions about their health, development, and learning.

Mission statement

 

Therapy for Anyone, Anywhere

 

We stand to empower our patients. Through the highest quality of service, the delivery of above and beyond care, and supporting you to realise your potential, we raise our patients up. We’re working to break down the barriers to quality healthcare by providing: continuity, consistency, a choice, and quality.

What's Next?

Book your free consult

Anyone can make a referral to our service and access therapy straight away from home, school, or hospital! 

Heidi

Heidi is our Founder, Director, Principal Speech Pathologist and all-round Boss Lady here at Spot.

She is a country girl through and through, and started Spot (originally SPOT Rural) so that rural and remote families could have access to top notch healthcare, just like those city-folk. She started her schooling through distance education over the UHF radio, and completed seven years at boarding school before becoming a Speech Pathologist. While Heidi’s roots are firmly cemented in rural and regional communities, she’s passionate about making speech therapy more accessible across the board. Whether it’s speech therapy for a child growing up on a farm, or stroke rehabilitation for someone living in the city centre. Heidi was inspired to start a career in speech pathology by her older brother, who has Down Syndrome.

After completing her Bachelor of Speech Pathology at The University of Queensland, Heidi practiced in acute and rehabilitative hospital settings, community health and private practice, before going out on her own. Along the way, she developed a specialised knowledge and interest in learning disabilities. More specifically, the assessment and treatment of literacy disorders, such as dyslexia.

Heidi is trained in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) which incorporates: tongue tie, tongue thrust, tongue positioning for speech sounds, mouth breathing and oral habits. She loves learning and is certified in the Spalding Method and Sounds ~ Write literacy programs, has trained in Hanen’s early language program, ‘It Takes Two to Talk’.

Sarah

Sarah’s been lucky enough to have lived in a variety of places throughout her childhood, including: Vanuatu, Dubai, and Australia. So, she understands first-hand just how important communication is for people to make connections and friendships. It was this incredibly unique upbringing that drew Sarah to a career in speech pathology!

She completed her studies at The University of Queensland and loves working in the areas of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT), dysphagia rehabilitation and evidence-based literacy intervention. She’s grown to be really passionate about these areas because she’s seen the enormous impact they have on her clients’ lives. Their improved quality of life and growth in confidence is what motivates Sarah.

With experience providing therapy and support to adults and children, Sarah has clients from metropolitan areas through to regional Western Queensland. She is what we’d call a “rural generalist” and thrives on supporting clients with: articulation, social communication, language, literacy, dysphagia, and Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs).

Taylor

Taylor holds family values closely and has a sociable, people-first nature. So, working in a field where she can help and support people had always been a priority. She learned early on as a student that she had a deep passion for working with clients across the entire lifespan; from babies to the elderly. After completing her Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) at The University of Queensland, Taylor started her career in the aged care sector. She soon transitioned into private practice, joining the Spot family as the first ever employee (yay!).

Taylor has a particular interest in dysphagia rehabilitation, orofacial myofunctional disorders, acquired neurological conditions, and learning disabilities. She also has a special interest in research, which stems from the time she spent involving herself in advanced research studies at university. Living and working by the motto: “with the right support, everyone is capable of achieving their goals”, Taylor’s committed to improving the quality of life as well as the communicative confidence in each of her clients.

Her experience providing clinical services in areas of dysphagia, dysphonia, dysarthria, orofacial myology, language, speech, literacy and phonology, means Taylor is exceptional in treating complex disability profiles. Taylor has a background in mixed research studies and is trained in the Spalding Method for specialised, evidence-based literacy intervention.

Annie

Annie joined our team with a background in disability support!
Annie grew up on properties in North Western NSW, starting her schooling through distance education and then attending boarding school, before moving to the beach to study a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Hons) at the University of Newcastle.

Annie’s passion for working with those living in rural and remote areas comes from her own experiences, and her plan has always been to support people living outside of major cities to access fantastic services that are on par (or better!) than those living in the big smoke.
Annie is now based in the Hunter Valley, and when she is not working, she can be found chasing after her dog and attempting to bake the perfect chocolate chip biscuit. If you have a family recipe that you’re willing to share, she’s all ears!

Annie understands that every person is different, and she is passionate about tailoring a client-centred therapy approach that will have the biggest functional impact for each individual.
Annie is trained in the Spalding Method, which is one of Spot’s primary evidence-based literacy intervention programs. Annie has experience working with people of all ages and loves the diversity of working within a private practice – from early language, to dysphagia rehabilitation, and everything in between!

Alex

Alex grew up on her family cattle and cropping operation north of Goondiwindi in Queensland. Like Heidi, she did her primary schooling through distance education. She then went on to boarding school for her secondary years. Upon leaving school she went to work in a stock camp of a large cattle station in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

While still today her favourite thing to do is be on a horse behind a mob of cattle she felt like she had more to give and wanted to explore her options in the industry she was so passionate about – agriculture. She completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College in Victoria. Alex then worked in accounts and marketing for a corporate agricultural company in Melbourne. Following that, she travelled and worked on a cattle ranch in Canada for a year but after all that time away, Queensland started calling her name again.

She is now back on the property where she was brought up. Spending most of her days on the property whether it is on a tractor, on a horse behind a mob of cattle, or in the office. She is very passionate about rural Australia but mostly the people that it is made up of. That is why she loves Spot and what we do so much. She lives and breathes the isolation disadvantages daily and knows how hard it would be for families to access services such as Speech Therapy in the bush without Spot.

While she doesn’t always get to meet you, she meticulously knows your billing setup like she knows which calf belongs to which cow in her Angus herd.

Jade

Graduating from The University of Queensland in 2013, Jade has gained professional experience in hospitals and healthcare settings ranging across metropolitan cities and regional towns. She has a wealth of experience in the assessment and management of swallowing and communication difficulties in the acute and rehabilitation phases of various medical conditions. Throughout these, Jade aims to enhance her clients’ understanding of their condition and their quality of life. Jade works with her clients to develop effective strategies for communication and swallowing issues, while putting an emphasis on promoting their independence in day-to-day life.

Jade is passionate about providing a holistic approach to her services, always working to improve her client’s overall quality of life. She understands the impact that speech, language, and swallowing difficulties can have on an individual’s daily life. So, she makes sure to work with individuals to work towards and achieve their goals.

With family based in rural areas throughout Australia, Jade knows the barriers that those living rurally have to face to access health services. So she’s passionate about making these services available and accessible to members of these communities.

Jade has a special interest in research and providing evidence-based care in a variety of settings, so she understands just how important ongoing research and education is in her field. Jade is certified in the Sounds ~ Write literacy programs, and is so excited to get to work with children, adults, and their families to achieve the best possible outcomes for their communication, goals, and quality of life.

Laura

Laura is a social butterfly and has always had a passion for working alongside others, hence, her role as Administration Officer! She’s armed with a Bachelor of Psychology, which has equipped her for running our fast-paced office, working along-side therapists and chatting to mums, dads, and teachers on the phone every day. Laura grew up on a cattle property in South-East Queensland, where she experienced the many barriers people face when it comes to accessing health services of all kinds. She has a passion for supporting people with accessing better opportunities and services “Anytime, Anywhere”. Laura is in charge of all things admin here at Spot and is always up for a phone call to answer your questions!

Danielle

Danielle was lucky enough to grow up on her family’s cattle property in Central Queensland. She loves going out there in her spare time and helping out in any way possible, whether it’s cattle work, jumping on the tractor or fixing fencing. Having spent most of her life in a rural area, she understands that these places don’t always have the things you want (Kmart!) and the things you need (a great speechie available for regular therapy) at your doorstep… or maybe not even for the next 300km. This upbringing is what created her passion for providing services to people with limited options, and it is made possible by Spot.

After completing her Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) at CQUniversity, Danielle completed research and published an article looking at the effectiveness of providing speech therapy services online and this is where her love for telehealth blossomed. She started her career in the disability sector, acute and rehabilitative hospital settings and community health facilities, before transitioning to work in private practice at Spot, to pursue her passion for telehealth.

Danielle is experienced in providing clinical services in areas of dysphagia, language, speech, literacy and orofacial myology. She loves seeing the progress a client can make. From a child being able to tell their parents what they want or learning the skills to read and write, to an adult saying “hello” and “I love you” to their family for the first time after a stroke. What better way to spend your day than helping people change their lives for the better (while sitting in your home office)!

Sarah

Sarah is our guru in all things disability! Graduating from the University of Newcastle in 2013, Sarah has gained extensive experience in the disability sector, and has had the pleasure of working with a range of individuals, including those with: ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ODD and ADHD. Sarah understands that communication is about so much more than speech, and her therapy programs often focus on functional communication skills, targeting a mix of speech, language and social skills. Sarah is passionate about helping each client find a way to communicate, and has clinical experience in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems.

Like all valued members of our team, Sarah has a vital role in supporting our therapists with their disability clients and caseloads. We always say that two Speechie heads are better than one! Another reason why Sarah is a vital team member here at Spot, is because she is trained in: PODD, ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) and Hanen More Than Words. She has worked closely with families who use a range of AAC systems including: PECS, PODD, Proloquo2Go, LAMP-WFL, Key Word Sign, Snap and Core and Cough Drop.
Sarah loves to work with her client’s unique interests, to make therapy engaging and meaningful. Working with clients who benefit from visual communication aids, Sarah is not shy about having her photo programmed into communication devices, used on visuals/flashcards, used in social stories, or even about featuring in therapy modelling videos!

Growing up in the country town of Dungog, NSW, Sarah understands the barriers faced by families with limited local services. She is passionate about equal access to services, and empowering her clients and families to reach their communication goals.

Sally

Sally has a rural background and came to Spot with six years of agribusiness and commercial banking experience. She assists with all things finance and works part-time from her family’s cattle and sheep property near Longreach, QLD. Sally spends the rest of her time wrangling two little boys aged nearly one and nearly three, and is thrilled to be involved in a business which has broken down the barriers of getting speech services to the bush.

Kimberley

Kim holds a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Sydney. She first completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology, but after realising that play and communication were her real passion, went back to university to become a Speech Pathologist.

As a Speech Pathologist, she has worked in Community Health at Sydney Children’s Hospital, as well as for a Non-Government Organisation supporting children with disabilities. She is passionate about sharing good quality and usable information with families, teachers and communities. She especially loves working in Early Intervention and with children who have a disability diagnosis (but are not defined by that!).

In addition to her Speech Pathology Qualification, Kim also has several years of experience working in Childcare and has completed a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care to better equip her when working with children in an Early Childhood setting. She has also worked in ABA therapy working with children with Autism.

Kim is Hanen certified in “It Takes Two to Talk” and has completed training in the SOS Feeding Approach. She has completed other post-graduate training in Lidcombe Program for Stuttering, BLADES Language Approach, Early Start Denver Model (Introductory Level), (Applied Behaviour Analysis), Positive Behaviour Support, Social Thinking Programs, Parent Coaching in Play and Teaching Children Tuning In. She has years of experience in Key Word Sign and is also trained in Alternative and Augmentative Communication such as Language Acquisition Through Motor Planning – LAMP. She has completed a range of post-graduate training in feeding and is also currently doing ongoing study in Breastfeeding Support.

As a Mum of three (including twin toddlers), Kim knows the realities of implementing therapy at home and makes sure that every parent feels confident to implement programs in a fun and engaging way. 

She is a lover of books, board games, baths, sunshine, salt water and coffee.

Ash

Ash grew up in beautiful, sunny North Queensland!

She undertook her studies at James Cook University and after graduating in 2013 relocated to Gladstone for a role in private practice. During her time in this role she travelled across the region to provide services at homes, day-cares, schools, and everywhere in between! Even though her clients had access to an “at your door Speech Pathologist,” she began to develop a passion for providing online teletherapy services with one of her isolated rural clients.

In 2016 Ash headed home to Townsville for a clinic-based role. While working in the clinic, she continued to offer teletherapy services to her clients who had to travel long distances, or who just preferred the convenience! One child was only ten minutes away from the clinic, but by using teletherapy was able to save on travel costs and put their funds towards more one on one therapy. A huge win!

Her role based in Townsville brought with it the opportunity to provide an outreach service to Palm Island, where she worked alongside families, the Palm Island Community Company, schools, the day-care, the NDIS and other key health services. In 2018, Ash was awarded “NQPHN Allied Health Professional of the Year” for her contribution to the Speech Pathology service on Palm Island.

Ash’s priority as a Speech Pathologist is to achieve positive outcomes for her clients and to make a long-lasting difference in their lives. Ongoing professional development and learning is integral to this and she strives to maintain up to date knowledge on the treatment of communication and feeding difficulties in children. Specific programs she has gained training in include the Spalding Method for literacy instruction, The Lidcombe Program for the treatment of stuttering, The Shape Coding System for the treatment of spoken and written grammar and The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) for children using multi-modal communication.

Throughout her career, teletherapy has been an important mode of servicing her clients and she is delighted to be able to provide this innovative, evidence-based service to children across Australia.

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The Spot Story

Growing up between Bollon & Cunnamulla, there weren’t many shops. Forget shops, there wasn’t a hospital. We had a bush nurse about 1 hour down the road, and the closest hospital was 2 hours away. In this hospital however, you didn’t find any allied health professionals that provide therapy to little kids with disabilities. My mother tells a story of once driving to Toowoomba, over a 12 hour round trip, to visit a Speech Pathologist. This therapist was unable to fathom how “advanced” my brother Jack was. He was a cute little boy with Down Syndrome who had amazing manners and was hitting his speech and language milestones. Shocking. Unfortunately, mum wasn’t impressed with the session and decided that the 12 hour trip wasn’t going to be worth it in the future. What a shame that this was her only experience, and a 12 hour round-trip was her only choice. 

Becoming a Speech Pathologist was certainly a decision that stemmed from growing up with Jack. Starting a telehealth company? Well that was purely a copy of my childhood schooling, via distance education. We used to have classes, recorder lessons and even choir! Over the UHF radio. If we could go to school over the UHF radio, surely you can do speech therapy over skype, right?

When I was a new graduate speech pathologist, home was a property 80 km from Goondiwindi. I was instructing equestrian at my local pony club, when the mums would ask I would move home to be their speech pathologist. I thought… I can do this from anywhere!

My boss at the time was an amazing woman – Kate Broderick from Spot Therapy Hub in Sydney. Kate helped me launch SPOT Rural – our original telehealth company, and my baby. After 2 years of working in Sydney and running SPOT Rural on the side, my sister had a baby and I thought it was time to head back home. So I sadly parted ways with Kate, and took Spot Rural with me back to western Qld. I wasn’t sure where we were going (SPOT Rural and I!), but I was glad to be heading back out west.

After working for 9 months at Qld Health Roma as the paediatric speech pathologist and general speechie in Roma and surrounding towns, I decided that I’d seen enough. Enough of the lack of quality services in the bush, enough of the waiting lists, and enough of the sheer battle that families have to go through out there to access A service, let alone a GOOD or GREAT service. After one of many very passionate, teary phone calls to my dad, I decided to quit my well paid, comfortable and challenging government job – and go out on my own… with 8 weekly clients and a breath of fresh air!

Best decision that I ever made. This was April 2018.

The next move was to Brisbane, as the internet was superior and there were Speech Pathologists’ a-plenty! I was going to build this online empire and I needed to be well positioned for it. Baby steps though, the first official SPOT Rural graduated from a step-ladder in my sisters spare room, to the spare room of my Brisbane sharehouse. And it was heaven.

By January 2019 we had moved the Head Quarters (HQ) to my new home with now fiance, Michael (thanks Mike!!) and we employed our very first full time Speech Pathologist, Taylor. Throughout last year we continued to employ a full time speechie every 2-3 months, and I’m out of breath just thinking about how much of a whirl-wind that was! By November our little cottage was bursting at the seams, even with most of that staff working 3 days or full time from home. It was time to take the leap into an office, and I only inspected one.

We’ve been here (in Murarrie, Brisbane) since December 2019 and holy moly what a whirl-wind it has been! We decided to re-brand, launching a new website, a new podcast, changing the technology we use for our service… and pretty much just running around like wild women GETTING.IT.DONE.

The re-brand journey has been a tough one for me (personally). This company was founded to support rural and remote Australian families, and THAT HAS NOT CHANGED. What has changed, however, is that there are other families who need our help too; families who don’t live in remote areas. They felt like they couldn’t access our service because of our name. It’s wild, but it’s true… so we decided to simplify, and re- brand, to “Spot”.

www.spot.family is our website and is SOOOOO relevant to what we do. Why? We don’t just work with individuals, we work with the ENTIRE FAMILY to improve outcomes and reach their goals. Now, family can be their actual family, or their school family (teachers and TA’s) or their hospital family (nurses and AHA’s). The messaging is clear – we focus on working with you AND your family to make sure that you reach your goals!

So now that you’ve heard our story…. I guess you might think, what’s next? SAME HERE – I’m always cooking up exciting things for our team to sink our teeth into, and we have some great things planned for the future.
It feels like yesterday that I was working from the spare room in my sisters house, from a step-ladder, with my one-year-old nephew breaking down the door at a strong crawl. I am so, so proud of Spot, how far we have come, and where we are going. For a business that I was told “would never work” – it seems to be working, for many Australian’s and beyond!