Interview with Cathy Harrison
Tell us about your current role – what does a typical day look like for you?
At the start of this year, I took a leap of faith to being my own business specialising in supporting children who may present with dyslexia. Part of this is assisting the families with detection and practical support of providing the direct specialist intervention they may need. Another part of my role is consulting directly to schools and helping to build their teaching capacity to accommodate children their classrooms with solid evidence based practice. I help parents with advocacy and also linking them into other support services. at the hospital can vary greatly from one day to the other. Each morning I find out who is on the ward and who is coming in for outpatient appointments. I make my way around to talk to students and their parents about school and what they can work on while they are here. I run a number of groups for both primary and secondary students, work individually at bedsides, contact schools and coordinate for students work, attend medical meetings and family meetings and work closely with allied health, medical and other educational staff. Due to the number of students I work with, my days are a bit of a whirlwind and just go so quickly.
What is the best/most rewarding part of your job?
Being able to create a significant difference to the children I see. While the improvement of skills is great, seeing a change in confidence and self-esteem is truly amazing. I feel completely privileged to work with such amazing children and their families.
What were some of the memorable experiences you had at Deakin? i.e. social, academic, intellectual.
I feel very fortunate through my experience at Deakin University to have meet the most amazing people who have consequently gone on to become my lifelong friends. The organised events truly helped us to come together and we still reminisce about many of those nights.
Did you learn anything from your Deakin studies to take directly to the workforce?
In reflection it was a springboard to keep encouraging me to become a lifelong learner. I continuously study through various formats. I am grateful to have this desire, and not settle with ‘oh I know enough’. I will certainly continue with this. Also I think it helped set up the platform for me in knowing how important networking is. By connecting back the alumni after all this years, I am open to the new things it may bring.
Can you give a specific example of a project or collaboration that you have been involved in with Deakin and how this has impacted your career to date? (If applicable)
I haven’t collaborated with anything at the moment but I am particularly keen to run professional development and raise awareness about dyslexia in classrooms and also in our workplaces. There may be some of provision of being able to do this in the future.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about Deakin that we haven’t covered?
In a recent tour of the campus (first time back since 1994), I was blown away with the facilities and quality of standard that students today are now able to enjoy. It certainly has a complete professional image.