Jo has been working with children since she was 18 years-old. Beginning her career as an Attendant Carer and Recreational Officer working with both children and adults with autism and other developmental disorders, Jo knew from this young age that she wanted to follow a career in health and education. With this in mind, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and immediately began working in early intervention, community health and primary schools.
Only a few years into her career, Jo was invited to take an early intervention position in London. Following this, Jo relocated to Germany, where she worked in Maternal and Child Health Centres, preschools, primary schools and high schools in strong partnership with teachers, teaching aides, psychologists, nurses and parents. Jo provided training to a wide range of health professionals as well as parents and caregivers. This time abroad allowed Jo the opportunity to develop essential knowledge and skill in working with kids with autism, selective mutism, cleft lip and palate, epilepsy and paediatric brain injury. Throughout this time, Jo completed the Hanen training programs – ‘It Take Two to Talk’ and ‘More than Words’.
Upon her return to Australia, Jo continued to work in both community health and hospital settings. After a few years Jo went on to become the Speech Pathology Manager in two large Melbourne metropolitan hospitals, heading the provision of speech pathology services for both adults and children, providing staff development and training, and teaching and training speech pathology students. Jo's role also involved supporting an Allied Healthcare team while both mentoring staff completing research and undertaking her own research projects.
During this period, Jo also had her own successful private practice. This allowed her the opportunity to do what she loves most, working with children. She had a very successful practice for many years until her own daughter came along in 2011. It was at this time that Jo made the difficult decision to close her practice and spend more time with her family.
Over the last few years Jo has really enjoyed being a ‘Parent Literacy Helper’ at her daughter’s school, supporting the classroom teacher and helping children with their school work. This opportunity helped her to understand Victorian schools' current approach to teaching literacy and how speech therapy can support this.
Following ongoing demand from her clients, Jo made the decision to return to private practice and opened Ivanhoe Speech Therapy. She did so with the strong believe that children develop and learn best through playing and having fun. Her vision is to provide quality, evidence-based speech therapy, through play-based activities that engages both children and parents, and makes learning fun. Parents are supported to carry out speech therapy games in their everyday routines, ensuring successful communication and learning in the child’s natural environment.