The Speechie Life Glossary

with Ishwari Samarakoon


Speech Pathology Glossary


A change or adjustment made to something to enable someone with a disability to participate or function equally.

Allied Health 

 A group of healthcare professions that complement the work of physicians (medical doctors). Examples include speech pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing.

Allied Health Assistant (AHA)

A healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a licensed healthcare provider, such as a speech pathologist, physician, or therapist.  AHAs provide a variety of patient care services and can specialise in specific areas like speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.


Anxiety is a common emotion characterized by feelings of worry, apprehension, and fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension. While a normal reaction to stress in some situations, excessive or persistent anxiety can interfere with daily life and become a disorder.


In the context of psychology, boundaries are a conceptual limit between you and the other person. Simply put, it’s about knowing where you end and others begin. Knowing what’s yours and what’s not. Acknowledging that every adult is responsible for themselves

Brene Brown

Brene Brown is an American professor, author, and podcast host who is known for her work on shame, vulnerability, and leadership. She became widely known after her TEDx talk in 2010 went viral.


Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. To find out if you are suffering from burnout, click here for a free resource to help you identify and work out a plan for getting through burnout or avoiding it altogether. 


A metaphor representing your ability to handle stress and challenges. Engaging in activities you enjoy helps fill your cup, making you more resilient.


A profession or work-related experience pursued for a long period of time.


In the context of speech therapy, a caseload refers to the group of clients a therapist is responsible for seeing on a regular basis. A narrow caseload focuses on a specific age group or therapy area, while a general caseload encompasses a wider range of clients.


CBOS is a core document used for accreditation of university courses, assessment of overseas qualified speech pathologists and the re-entry program for speech pathologists wishing to return to practice after a career break. There is a process in place for a transition to the Professional Standards (2022).


Money owed by one person or entity to another. This can include mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit card balances. There are different types of debt, with some considered “good” debt (used for investments that can appreciate in value) and “bad” debt (used for unnecessary purchases or with high-interest rates).


A feeling of disappointment arising from the realisation that something is not as good as one believed it to be. In speech pathology, this might occur when expectations about the profession or client progress do not match reality.


Reducing the size of something, often due to financial difficulties or a change in circumstances. This can apply to businesses reducing their workforce, individuals selling a larger house for a smaller one, or even libraries reducing their physical collections.

Gestalt Language Processing

Gestalt Language Processing is a type of language development where children learn language as scripts, which are whole phrases or chunks of language. For children who learn language this way, they often begin by learning whole phrases before moving on to single words.


Refers to a therapist focusing on a particular area of practice, such as early intervention, stuttering, or AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). This allows them to develop in-depth knowledge and expertise within that specific field.


FOMO stands for “Fear Of Missing Out.” It describes the feeling of anxiety or insecurity that you’re missing out on enjoyable experiences or opportunities that others are having.


A natural physiological response to perceived threat or danger, characterised by physical stillness, inability to think clearly, and shutting down.


A phenomenon in group decision-making where the desire to conform stifles dissent and leads to inferior decision-making.

Health Leadership

The practice of leading and managing healthcare teams and organisations to improve patient care, operational efficiency, and employee well-being. Effective health leadership involves strategic decision-making, empathy, and the ability to inspire and motivate others.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome refers to a persistent feeling of inadequacy or a fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite evident accomplishments or competence. Those experiencing it often doubt their abilities and attribute their success to luck or a sense of deceiving others, leading to a sense of unworthiness in their achievements.

Indigenous Australian

The first peoples of Australia. This term encompasses both Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander people.

Invisible Work

Invisible work for Speech Pathologists refers to the tasks and efforts that occur outside of direct therapy sessions with clients that is often not billed to the client. This includes activities such as planning, preparing materials, researching and staying updated on relevant information, creating handouts, seeking guidance including in supervision/mentoring sessions. This behind-the-scenes work is essential for the overall effectiveness of therapy but often goes unnoticed by parents or clients as it takes place outside the scheduled sessions.


Inertia is the tendency of a body to resist a change in motion or rest

Job Mastery

A state where an individual feels highly competent and capable in their job, often characterised by the ability to perform tasks effortlessly and with high proficiency. In speech pathology, true job mastery may be elusive due to the ever-evolving nature of the field and diverse client needs.


KPI is short for key performance indicators. These indicators may include the number of clients seen daily/weekly, expected billable hours worked or tasks completed. They are often linked to salary and job promotion.  


Continuous growth, learning, and improvement. It embraces resilience, intrinsic motivation, and the understanding that mistakes are opportunities for growth

Nervous System

The nervous system orchestrates the fight, flight, freeze response by pumping hormones and prepping your body for action (fight/flight) or stillness (freeze). Emotions like fear trigger this response, priming you for survival based on past experiences and perceived danger.


The act of building relationships with people in a particular profession or social setting, in order to find or share information or services


Having a brain that functions in a way that is different from the standard or typical. This can encompass a wide range of conditions including ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Dyslexia.

New Grad

A new grad is a new graduate who has recently graduated and is now able to work as a Speech Pathologist. They are usually in their first 12 – 24 months of working life.   


Paediatricians are medical specialists who diagnose, treat and provide medical care for babies, children and teenagers


Someone who has very high standards. Perfectionism is a pursuit of flawlessness driven by fear of failure and a need for external validation. It sets unrealistic, unattainable standards


A phobia is an intense and irrational fear of a specific object, situation, or activity, leading to avoidance behaviours and significant distress.


Prac are placements you attend so you can practise your skills, be supervised and pass your CBOS


To find something again, especially after a period of forgetting or not using it.


The process of introspectively examining one’s actions, decisions, and experiences to gain insights and improve future performance. For speech pathologists, reflection is crucial for professional growth and effective client care.


Regulation refers to the ability to manage and control your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours in order to maintain a balanced and stable state of mind. It involves self-awareness, coping mechanisms, and adaptive responses to various situations to promote emotional well-being and effective decision-making.

Resource rotation

In speech therapy, resource rotation refers to strategically switching out the activities and materials you use with clients either monthly, per term or semester. This helps keep sessions fresh and engaging while maximising the effectiveness of the resources you already have.


Adjusting something to the appropriate size or level to fit your current needs and goals. This goes beyond simply making things smaller (like downsizing) and emphasises finding a balance that allows you to thrive. It can involve aspects of your life like your living situation, workload, or social circle.


Taking actions to protect your emotional and physical health. This can include activities like getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising, and engaging in hobbies you enjoy.


Self-trust is believing in yourself to make good choices, face challenges, and act with integrity, even when the path is unclear.

Session Plan

A document outlining the goals, activities, and materials for a specific speech therapy session.

Somatic Therapy 

Somatic therapy is a holistic approach to psychotherapy that focuses on the connection between the mind and body. It aims to address emotional and psychological issues by exploring and addressing physical sensations, movement, and bodily experiences to promote healing and self-awareness.


To rent out part of a property that you are already leasing from someone else.

Therapeutic Outcomes

The results or changes that occur as a result of therapy. In speech pathology, positive therapeutic outcomes are often measured by improvements in communication skills, client satisfaction, and quality of life.


A trigger, in a psychological context, refers to a stimulus or event that prompts a strong emotional or behavioural response in an individual, often associated with past experiences or trauma. Triggers can evoke intense feelings, memories, or reactions related to the original source of distress.


Abbreviation for “University” A university is an institution of higher learning granting degrees in various subjects. It fosters in-depth knowledge, critical thinking, and a community of scholars and students.


The process of learning new skills or improving existing ones to enhance job performance and career advancement. In speech pathology, this can involve gaining knowledge about new disorders, therapy techniques, or best practices.

work-life balance 

This is often thought of as equal time or priority to personal and professional activities. In reality, it is the ability to balance your personal life and activities alongside your work life. This isn’t an equal portion and changes based on your priorities at the time. 

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