SPEECH pathologist Heidi Stieglitz Ham from Autism and Language Intervention WA said she would never forget the first time she worked with an autistic child.
“This child was a gorgeous boy with beautiful blue eyes and black hair and he used echolalia, imitating language from videos. I could see that he was extremely bright,” Dr Stieglitz Ham said.
“We established a connection and it was a joy to see him progress and grow during the time that I knew him.”
It was years after this experience when Dr Stieglitz Ham realised her own father had undiagnosed autism.
Dr Stieglitz Ham’s niece and nephew were all also later diagnosed with autism, inspiring her to open and manage her private practice, Autism and Language Intervention WA, as well as become part of the Perth Psychological Services’ diagnostic team.
“I help my clients understand their strengths and scaffold their weaknesses,” she said.
“Sometimes they need help understanding how their brain works best.
“I work with individuals who have never been told that their brains process information differently and that they see the world through a different filter.”
Last week, the Nedlands resident won the $10,000 Perth Convention Bureau City of Perth Scholarship, which will enable Dr Stieglitz Ham to speak at a conference for speech and language pathologists in the US in November.