Celebrating Mothers for the month of May – Mitch’s Mum Wendy


Tell us a bit about your background and where you are from? 

I am a Noongar man who grew up in Perth, WA. My mob comes from a small country town of Goomalling two and a half hours east of Perth, where the Noongar dialect group are referred to as Ballardong people of the Noongar nation.  


What motivated you to become a Speech Pathologist?

When I was finishing high school I wasn’t sure where I wanted to be or what I wanted to study at university. We had to pick our preferences and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I knew I didn’t want to do anything related to sport. I did enough sport as it was growing up and I enjoyed playing it but something along the lines of physiotherapy or exercise physiology didn’t appeal to me. When I had discussions with mum and dad, mum mentioned about Speech Pathology and how I needed speech therapy when I was younger to help me learn to read and write and be attentive in the classroom. So when I did some research I found out a bit about what Speech Pathologists did and found a liking to the course.


What were the struggles you faced while studying and also in your career as a graduate?

My struggles with studying can originate back to primary school, where I was unable to read or write in Year 3. Mum determined to not pigeonhole me as a lost cause as many of the teachers and professionals told her I was and that I wouldn’t complete highschool or achieve at a university level. She received input from a Speech Pathologist and from there I was able to succeed in the classroom and go to complete year 12 and be accepted into university.  

During University I definitely had my ups and downs. I failed two units during my course and had to repeat them to complete my studies. I wasn’t as committed as I should have been early on and doubting my choice in the field. Later on, in the degree I began participating in placement and being more hands on in the role that I came to really enjoy the degree and finish it.

On completing my degree and being fortunate to apply for a job and be accepted all the way in Mount Isa, the main barrier I faced was the distance from home and the demands of the job as a new graduate. I wanted to push myself, live without that safety net and challenge my ability both professionally and personally. When COVID-19 occurred, I really struggled. I was ready to come home and visit my family and was denied that opportunity with no end in sight. I’m still dealing with that barrier. Clinically my caseload is primarily NDIS, with paediatrics and adults having complex needs. Each day is different and without the strength and support my mother instilled in me, I would be giving up right now. But her persistence and stubbornness is strongly passed onto me. So I will never give up.


What does it mean to you to be supported by your mum?

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of my mother. She has been and still is the strength within the family. Having her there by my side, especially at a younger age where I was constantly doubted by people around my ability to learn. She was always there, and helped motivate me to prove those people wrong. She strengthened me to not take things at face value and if I really wanted to achieve something, I could do it and if I worked hard then I can achieve it.


What inspires you most about your mum?

Understanding the struggles, she has gone through herself and how she was able to withstand all that and be here today continuing to be a loving mother and wife. She incorporated these strong values into me and my siblings that define who we are today. She has had to juggle three very different but strong personalities in the household and grow them up to be the best people they can be, while still doing all the things we took for granted as kids. I can never question the love and support my mum gave us. She inspires me to be a better person and I hope I can continue to make her proud.


What does the future look like for you? What are your goals and what would you like to achieve?

I don’t know. The possibilities are endless. Thanks to Mum and what she passed onto us as children, we have the world at our feet. I couldn’t tell you where I may be in a few year’s time. But I know with her support I have these big goals in mind for how I want to be as a person and what I want to achieve. Whether it’s continuing supporting young Aboriginal people or pursuing my own personal dream in the artistic world. I don’t know. But it’ll be fun to see where things will lead.  

May 25, 2020


Posted by: Renae Kilmister