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About

Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology is a Speech Pathology private practice in Newcastle focusing just on paediatric feeding difficulties.

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OWNER – Valerie Gent, Paediatric Feeding Speech Pathologist, Certified Practising Speech Pathologist

“I am passionate about feeding and enjoy learning from both my patients and their families – every small step towards positive feeding interactions and skill development is a step to be celebrated!”

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, trust based model with eating, Sensational Mealtimes etc) and absolutely love what I do.

Private practice gives me the flexibility with raising a family. My husband and I moved from Sydney to Newcastle 8 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 14 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

I regularly locum at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital and under their umbrella, lectured to Speech Pathology students at the University of Newcastle for 3 years. 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 line with my disability experience, I am Hanen Certified (It takes two to talk), Key word signing trained, Proloquo2go assistive technology and Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) trained.

I am a registered provider with private health funds, Medicare, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIS) and FaHCSIA and a rebate for services can be claimed using extra covers, Enhanced Primary Care plans and Fahscia Better Start.

Let’s Eat – Dominique Halvorsen-Gray, Paediatric Feeding Speech Pathologist, Certified Practising Speech Pathologist

Hi there, I joined forces with Lets Eat in 2017, I graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (distinctions) from the University of Newcastle in 2014. I am an experienced Speech Pathologist who has worked in special needs and in a generalist speech and language caseload both in private and non for profit organisations. I love working in the SNUG camps and have a special interest in breastfeeding and early infant feeding. In July 2017, I completed my training in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) protocol and am currently undergoing training with the “Let’s Eat, Paediatric Feeding Program”.

In my spare time, I loves being a mother of 2 kids under 3, Newcastle is home to me and my husband. I am a local Novacastrian and proud of it!

I also enjoy cooking with my daughter and spending family time at the beach. I currently work Fridays with Let’s Eat managing children with

  • Fussy eating difficulties
  • Extreme picky eating
  • Difficulties transitioning to solids eg eating textured or finger foods
  • Early breastfeeding and bottle feeding difficulties
  • Delayed oral motor skills eg chewing

I look forward to working with you and your child – family mealtimes are a special time and I hope to help you create that stress free environment where everyone enjoys coming together and eating a shared meal. See you in clinic! 🙂 Dom