Creating connections through feeding support and speech pathology

March 3, 2023 BY

Mia Smirnakos is a speech pathologist with a special interest in feeding and mealtime support.

Meet Mia, a speech pathologist with a special interest in infant feeding.

Speech pathologists can work in different settings including schools, hospitals, and at home.

They can provide support from infant to adult in speech, language, social communication, assistive technology, voice and swallowing/mealtime support.

Navigating which part of the profession future pathologists want to work in can come easy for some people, and for others it can develop over exposure, self-motivated professional development, and time.

“I remember sitting in a lecture room at La Trobe University, listening to a powerful lady, Bernice Matheson share her knowledge and her passion in the area of paediactric feeding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU),” Mia said.

“I remember vividly fixating on this wonderful lady in complete admiration of her experience.
“I recall thinking to myself ‘Ah ha! I have found what sparks my joy’.”

Mia said Bernice shared stories of her own personal experience working alongside the incredibly strong NICU population.

What she found most captivating about Bernice was her genuine care and compassion for babies, and mums/caregivers and her intuitive approach to healthcare.

“I was wanting to find my niche in the area of speech pathology and hearing Bernice’s gentle approach inspired me.

“I knew from that day forward, I would become a speech pathologist with a special interest in feeding and mealtime support.”

Mia’s career path took time, self-motivated professional development, and exposure.

Opportunities that she acquired included the hospital setting, working with adults (predominately feeding support), home-based/community setting, including schools working with a mixed caseload, from ages 2 and older (speech, language, social communication, and mealtime support).

Every job Mia took led her to working in the area of infant feeding, particularly the guidance she received from supervisors and role models in each setting.

“I am grateful for how each experience has helped shaped me in how I deliver my services today,” Mia said.

Throughout her years practicing as a speech pathologist, Mia has always put human to human connection as number one.

“I believe that providing a safe environment for my families to share what goes on in ‘their inner world’ is vital in achieving positive outcomes,” she said.

“With a little bit of luck, hard work and determination, I am grateful to have been chosen to participate in the Possums Care Scholarship Program and am currently undergoing accreditation.

“The Possums Care Program is an evidence-based program focusing on empowering woman through breast feeding support (fit and hold, food aversions, transitioning to solids), sleep support and the relationship with mum/bub and their wider world (perinatal and postpartum).”\

Gentle deliverance of therapy and support is deeply embedded within Mia’s approach to therapy the Possums Care approach.

“I am eager to share my knowledge with the Surf Coast community,” she said.

Mia will be taking on new referrals in the area of Infant Care as of June 2023.

She welcomes paediatricians, General practitioners and mums/caregivers to contact her via email at [email protected] with any questions or referrals.

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