About

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Let’s Eat Paediatric Speech Pathology is a Newcastle-based private practice specialising in paediatric feeding intervention service for babies and children from birth to adolescence. Founder and speech pathologist Valerie Gent understands that feeding difficulties in babies and children can be stressful for parents as well as their child. The goal of Let’s Eat Speech is to empower the family to be able to understand and respond to the feeding difficulties their child may present with.

Feeding is a complex interaction between behaviour, medical, environment, sensory and developmental skills. We strongly believe in working together with families, doctors, and other therapists to ensure a multi-disclipinary focus with. Both assessment and therapy for children with feeding difficulties.

Speech Pathologists, Valerie and Ashleigh are specialised in assessing and treating babies and children with a range of feeding and swallowing difficulties including difficulties with breast or bottle feeding, transitioning through solids, gagging on lumpy foods or finger foods, general refusal of specific food types, fussy eating, or behavioural challenged related to eating meals, and more.

Our practice can work with you and your family to develop feeding programs according to the needs of your child. We are happy to work with what you would like - blocks of short intensive weekly sessions, fortnightly sessions or review programs as you need it.

We look forward to working with you!

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Hi, my name is Valerie, I started my practice, Let's Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology at the beginning of 2013 to be able to offer a private specialised feeding service for babies, toddlers and children with feeding difficulties. I have extensive postgraduate training in paediatric feeding (including the basic and advanced SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) feeding program as well as many other certified feeding programs including Ellyn Satter, Melanie Potock, Gen Jereb, Oral facial training (Kristie Gatto), trust based model with eating Susanne Evans Morris, Sensational Mealtimes etc) and Circle of Security. I absolutely love what I do.

Private practice gives me the flexibility with raising a family. My husband and I moved from Sydney to Newcastle 10 years ago and now have 2 Novacastrian boys. We love living in Newcastle and hope to be here for a long time.

Here's a little bit about my experience:

I graduated 17 years ago with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at the University of Sydney in 2002.  Since then, I have worked in NSW Health (Sydney Children's Hospital and John Hunter Children's Hospital including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and outpatient feeding clinic) as well as in disability services (Sylvanvale Handicapped Children's Centre, Cerebral Palsy Specialist team at SCH), in the United Kingdom and  in private practice in Sydney.

Through the years, I have had both additional postgraduate training and clinical experience in:

- Extreme picky eating difficulties in children

- Autism Spectrum Disorders and related feeding concerns

- Medical conditions such as gastro-esophageal reflux, brain injuries, cleft lip and palate conditions, cerebral palsy, chromosome deletions and syndromes as well as premature babies who have resulting feeding and saliva management difficulties.

-  Sensory Processing difficulties (including oral sensory defensiveness) that impact on feeding difficulties

- Paediatric videofluoroscopy (swallow study) and Cervical Auscultation

During my locums at the John Hunter Children's Hospital, I also lectured to Speech Pathology students at the University of Newcastle for 3 years (under their banner). More recently in 2014-2015, I completed a one year Project Officer and Speech Pathology rehab position for children with cerebral palsy and/or movement disorders who have saliva management/drooling concerns. I enjoyed working in a multidisciplinary (medical and therapist) clinic and liaised internationally with other saliva management treatment clinics in Ireland and Sweden.

Feeding is a complex interaction between behaviour, medical, environment, sensory and developmental skills. I strongly believe in working together with families, doctors and other therapists to ensure a multidisciplinary focus with both assessment and therapy for children with feeding difficulties. In commitment to this, I am also "Circle of Security" (attachment based) trained (2018).

I am a registered provider with private health funds, Medicare, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIS) and a rebate for services can be claimed through the Enhanced Primary Care plans.

ABOUT ASHLEIGH O'LOUGHLIN

Ashleigh, originally to the Central coast has just moved from the Northern Territory to Newcastle. In Katherine, she was working with children and adults in feeding and communication delays.

Ash's passion as a Speech Pathologist has always been in babies and children. She is an experienced therapist in fussy eating, transition to solids and oral motor development in a range of children both in urban and remote settings.

Ash has a strong work background in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She believes in working with clients and families to celebrate and build on their strengths.

Ashleigh is fun, enthusiastic and a team player, your child will adore her and you will be impressed with her feeding skills and knowledge. We are so happy to have her on our Lets Eat Speech team.