Ashley Sirko, Speech-Language Pathology
Student Name: Ashley Sirko
Program: Master of Health Science, Speech-Language Pathology
Speech, language and related cognitive skills are essential to our academic performance, career accomplishments, and our ability to connect socially with the people around us. These skills are necessary to maintain quality of life, yet they are often taken for granted. As a volunteer during her undergraduate studies, Ashley had the opportunity to witness the significant impact the loss of these skills had on stroke patients. This motivated her to pursue a career where she could help others reach their full communication potential. The Master of Health Science in Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of Toronto provided Ashley with this opportunity. She attended the master’s program from 2014-2016. During this time Ashley was able to develop skills in assessment, treatment and management of various communication and swallowing disorders through academic and clinical education. The clinical placements exposed her to a wide-variety of clinical populations. They included assessing language disorders in school-age children, managing swallowing and communication difficulties for adults in a rehabilitation hospital and contributing assessment information to fetal alcohol syndrome diagnostic clinics in Northern Ontario.
During her time in the program, Ashley formed and chaired the first-ever Speech and Hearing Awareness Committee at the University of Toronto. The mission of this committee was to organize various events throughout the school year to promote the profession of speech-language pathology and to raise awareness of the significant impact communication disorders have on people across the lifespan. Ashley was the recipient of the Speech-Language Audiology Canada Student Excellence Award for the University of Toronto in 2016, an award that is given to a student judged to be the best all-round future professional.
Ashley continues to have a passion for raising awareness about speech, language and swallowing disorders. She is currently practicing as a speech-language pathologist in Northern British Columbia as a member of an early intervention team. In this role, she enjoys delivering services to remote communities where she is often challenged to be creative as a result of limited resources. She is energized by the collaborative atmosphere and privilege of working with a team of other healthcare professionals. In addition to continuing to develop her clinical skills, Ashley intends to continue to learn about how families are accessing speech-pathology services in more remote areas of the country. In the future, she hopes this experience will inform her goal of improving access to services for people in remote areas across Canada.