Early Links Supporting Inclusion

Rhys’ Journey with Early Links

Rhys and Rachel

By Tiarn Yorke

Marketing Coordinator


Rhys has been an Early Links client since 2017 when he began early intervention with our therapists. Now that Rhys is a teenager, his goals and therapy needs have changed. With the help of his speech pathologist Rachel, Rhys’ journey with Early Links is now headed in a new direction.

Setting new goals

Focusing on building autonomy and life skills, Rhys and Rachel have worked together to create a list of goals that Rhys has for the short and long-term using the teens and adults goal-setting tool. This tool covers different areas of skills that a client may want to work on, including social relationships, self-care and home living, study and training, employment, health and fitness, community access and participation, communication, finances, and emotional wellbeing.

Clients can choose which areas they already feel they have skills in, which areas they’d like to improve, and which areas they may want to improve in the future. Cards prompt the clients to think about specific skills they could work on and help them figure out which skills need to be developed to reach larger goals in the future. Once created, these goals shape the therapy and support services to best support the clients’ independence.

Rhys’ goals for the future

One of Rhys’ larger goals for the future is to become a truck driver. To reach this goal, Rachel helped Rhys first figure out which skills he’ll need, such as being able to read a map or job description and being able to instruct others, and then set smaller goals to learn those skills. This led Rhys to determine that improving his written and verbal communication skills would be a goal that he’d like to work towards.

Some of Rhys’ other goals include wanting to feel more confident setting boundaries, trying new foods and being involved in meal preparation, improving his skills in math and managing money, and getting a job after school. Rhys works towards these goals in his sessions with Rachel by doing activities to help improve his reading and spelling and attending some of our community groups like Cooking Group and the Fun Factory at Kurri Kurri.

A different approach

About a quarter of the clients Rachel currently sees are teens, and she says the approach is fairly different to that of early intervention. Teenage participants are encouraged to set goals to help them with independence and gain autonomy. In teens especially, there is a shift away from family-centred goals set in collaboration with parents/carers, to working towards client-led goals set by the teens themselves. For teens and adults, the skills-building in therapy sessions is more focused on life skills and functional skills.

Rachel says she likes that she can help clients do what they want to, and help build their life skills to make those everyday tasks and interactions a little easier. She also enjoys seeing how motivated her clients are when setting their own goals and making their own decisions about their lives. Rhys says that he really likes working with Rachel, especially learning about spelling and grammar, and that he is excited to be gaining new skills.

Where can I find out more?

To find out more about speech pathology, or any of the therapy services that we offer here at Early Links, visit our Therapy Services page. Alternatively, get in touch with us via the contact form below.

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