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Bangkok Faces: Chiman Estephan, Speech and Language Pathologist

Your Name: Chiman Estephan

Job Title: Speech and Language Pathologist

What is your nationality and background?

My nationality is Australian. I am from Sydney, where I was raised, educated and previously working before moving permanently to Bangkok in 2014.

What is your profession?

I am a Certified Speech and Language Pathologist.

What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?

My role involves the assessment and management of children with speech difficulties, expressive language delays, receptive language delays, stuttering, limited social communication skills, voice disorders and swallowing difficulties.

After each assessment, I devise an individualised therapy program by considering the child’s needs, their personal and environmental factors and the current research evidence. My role is to then provide therapy in a clinic or school environment.

A large part of my role involves training and supporting parents to implement therapy strategies with their child at home. I also collaborate closely with teachers to further support the child at school.

How did you get involved in your profession?

Actually, I was completing my postgraduate studies in Psychology when someone close to me began receiving Speech and Language Therapy. I was quickly impressed by the great impact that improving their communication had on their overall quality of life. I began to look into the profession and became increasingly interested. Shortly afterwards, I went on to complete a Master of Speech and Language Pathology at the University of Sydney and became a member of the Speech Pathology Australia Association. I have been fortunate enough to have worked with children in this profession both in Sydney and here in Bangkok.

How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?

Research evidence has shown that children with communication difficulties are likely to experience lower educational and occupational outcomes compared to their peers. My role is to address speech and language difficulties to ensure that they do not hinder a child’s ability to achieve and succeed as they grow older.

My role also enhances the experiences of children in their daily interactions. This includes improving their ability to express themselves, avoid communication breakdown and understand what others are saying to them. In turn, this builds their confidence and wellbeing.

What challenges do your face in this role?

Speech and Language Pathology is still a relatively new profession here in Bangkok. A current challenge I face is the need to increase awareness for identifying and helping children with speech and language difficulties.

Another challenge I face is that parents often underestimate just how great their impact can be on their child’s speech and language development. Because parents are their child’s primary speech and language model, my role is to empower them so that they feel confident implementing therapy strategies that I provide.

What do you hope to achieve within your industry?

Firstly, to increase awareness in Bangkok about how to identify children with speech and language difficulties. Secondly, to empower parents to become actively involved in supporting their child’s speech and language needs. I am currently trying to achieve these two goals by providing weekly information, tips and strategies to parents through my blog site www.theexpatspeechie.com.

Finally, I hope to earn a reputation for the highest clinical standards in my profession here in Bangkok.

Who or what inspires you?

My mother. She taught me to speak, read and write in English, her third language, even before I started school.

Only a Bangkok local would know… that there is no such thing as “phet noi!” [“slightly spicy”]

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