BSc (Hons) Speech-Language Pathology (UCT)
Specialist Speech-Language Therapist
I am based in Cape Town, South Africa
I offer tele-therapy sessions (via Zoom/Whatsapp Video) to clients living in South Africa (outside Cape Town).
This practice is a safe space. I welcome and respect all people regardless of
religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
MY FOCUS AREAS:
Gender-Affirming Voice and Communication Therapy:
I offer voice and communication therapy for Trans and Non-Binary individuals. This therapy aims to establish voice and communication techniques that are congruent with the gender identity of the client.
Communication and voice is a critical part of our identity. So, rather than focusing only on establishing gender-specific voice and communication qualities, my therapy is geared toward exploring your unique identity to find your own individual 'voice' that makes you feel confident and authentic.
Voice and speech modification is done using evidence-based techniques and emphasises healthy and comfortable vocal changes.
Therapy sessions are 45-50 minutes long and are customised to each individual client's needs. Areas targeted in therapy will include vocal health, breathing techniques, breath support, pitch, intonation, stress patterns, resonance, volume, articulation and pragmatics.
For the best outcome, weekly sessions are recommended. Duration of therapy will depend on the individual's therapy goals and their dedication. Therapy can take on average 4-6 months but this is variable. Significant commitment is required to successfully modify one's voice and clients should practise daily outside of sessions.
Feeding and Swallowing:
I offer evidence-based and comprehensive assessment, management and treatment for clients with any feeding or swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).
From neonates and babies to children and adults, I work with clients of all ages and any diagnosis that has resulted in difficulties with feeding or swallowing.
I adjust my therapeutic approach and intervention to fit the unique needs of each individual and their family or caregiver(s).
For the newborn, I can assist in weaning the baby from tube feeds (such as a nasogastric) and/or assist in establishing breastfeeding.
In adults and children, I can assess feeding and provide recommendations for safe feeding techniques, or implement therapy to work towards safe feeding techniques.
Please note that some clients require tube feeds and are not safe for oral feeds.
I will always be realistic and upfront about what I believe my intervention can achieve.
Neurological Rehabilitation for Speech and Language:
Speech and language difficulties (e.g. aphasia, dysarthria) are common when recovering from or managing a neurological pathology such as a stroke, trauma to the head or a condition affecting the brain (e.g. encephalopathy, myesthenia gravis).
These conditions can also effect one's cognitive communication abilities, such as attention, memory, picking up on social cues, reasoning and problem-solving skills.
I offer assessment of speech, language and cognitive-communication abilities. I will create a individualised treatment plan for each client, which will take into consideration their specific needs and goals.
For Individuals who
Fluency therapy for people who stutter is a gentle and therapeutic journey that teaches mindfulness, acceptance and strategies to enhance fluency and communication.
Although there is not a 'cure' for a stutter, much can be done to reduce how frequently one stutters. Additionally, through therapy you can learn to stutter differently, in a way that is 'relaxed' and 'easy'. This results in the stutter sounding like a 'typical' disfluency' (every person, including those who do not stutter, has moments of disfluency in their speech, these are referred to as a 'typical' disfluency).
Although there are strategies that can make your speech more fluent and your moments of disfluency sound 'typical', the most important part of fluency therapy is to explore your feelings and your beliefs around your stutter in a gentle and safe environment so you can learn to accept it. The act of acceptance has been proved to significantly reduce and improve stuttering!
Remember, you might be someone who stutters, but your stutter is not your identity. In the same way as someone who wears glasses or contact lenses is not defined by their vision, you are not defined by your stutter. Yes, it is one part of you, but you are so much more than that!
Learning to Project, Be Articulate and Improve Your General Communication Skills:
The human voice is an extremely dynamic and flexible instrument, but we don't always instinctively know how to use it to our best advantage.
Whether you wish to be more articulate, speak more clearly (and mumble less) or sound more authoritative, speech therapy can help you master your voice and achieve these goals.
This type of therapy is especially useful for individuals who rely on their voice and their ability to communicate clearly in their day-to-day lives, such as lawyers, lecturers, politicians and so on, but it would also benefit anyone who wishes to communicate more skilfully and mindfully.
Therapy is tailored to each individual's specific needs and goals.
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills:
Presenting and public speaking is a daunting task for many, but you can learn to be good at it!
Speech therapy can teach you how to prepare, how to keep your audience engaged and interested and how to communicate your message clearly and effectively. In addition, you will learn how to project your voice and how to use your voice to add meaning and expression to your message.
This therapy is useful for anyone who needs to do presentations or speak publicly, including students.
I completed my degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2011. Since then, I have worked as a Speech Therapist in South Africa in both private practice and in the public healthcare sector. I also gained invaluable experience working abroad in the United Kingdom for two years.
Most recently, I ran the Speech Therapy Department at Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town, a position I held for five years before leaving to start my own practice.
I have more than ten years experience.
I am passionate about evidence-based and holistic, client-centred care.
My practice is inclusive of everyone. I welcome any person, irrespective of their background or identity.
Testimonials From Clients
"Saskia treated my aunt who suffered a stroke. She saw her for a period of one month and during that time we noticed a remarkable improvement in her speech. She also gained so much confidence in herself. Saskia’s professional and caring manner gives me great confidence in recommending her. I am only sorry that due to relocation my aunt was not able to continue therapy with her."
- Relative of Stroke Client
"Masculinising Speech Therapy:
I live in Durban and have been seeing Saskia through video calls. In the past 6 months Saskia has given me an entire toolkit for lowering my voice and helped me with a variety of techniques to make my voice sound more masc, and comfortable at the same time.
What I love about Saskia's approach is that they don't only work with gender binaries: Saskia consistently asks me HOW I WANT my voice to sound (stressing that it does not need to fit a stereotypical box to pass).
I often hear FTM's ask if speech therapy is worth the money, and my honest response is YES! It does make a significant difference. Even though I am on HRT, without Saskia i wouldn't know how to make the most of my voice. It helped me understand my dysphoria, and as I hear my voice learning new tricks, lessened it.
Currently, we are working on my confidence to implement the skills i have learned in a wider social setting; There's more to Saskia's speech therapy than just making the right sounds."
- Transmasc client
"I have just completed my journey of gender affirming speech and communication therapy with Saskia. It has been incredibly helpful. After every session with Saskia, I felt like I had made more progress. The handouts are very informative and easy to understand. In under 4 months of therapy, I am able to confidently speak in a femme voice."
- Transfemme Client