As a mother of a pre-schooler who was late to talk, then didn’t speak clearly or often, and didn’t seem to socialize and learn like his peers, I was looking for expert guidance in Stavanger. In a city with limited English-speaking expertise, we were fortunate to have a single point of authority in Fiona. Over a 3 year period, Fiona provided a myriad of services to our family, including speech and language assessments, play therapy programs to promote language use, behavior strategies to foster appropriate conduct and friendships with peers, as well as referrals and testimonies to Norway’s diagnostic agencies. In Fiona, we found a resource with a strong background in speech pathology, as well as a deep knowledge of conditions such as ADHD and autism, and most importantly a warm and empowering manner in championing my child, and me.

Katharine, mother of William

As an Early Years teacher, I have truly valued the time, expertise and commitment that Fiona brings to her job. She has always shared her knowledge with me in regards to specific learning disabilities and the challenges involved, she has offered advice on schemes that I can put in place in the classroom to benefit and support students of concern, and always kept me informed and updated with regards to my students going through the process of diagnosis with agencies in the community. We have always been part of a strong team working together towards making someone's school day a little easier for them.

On the number of occasions that I have accompanied Fiona to meetings with external agencies, I have always been impressed with the way she handles herself. With a strong and patient understanding of how these organisations function, Fiona is always well prepared. Understanding and speaking Norwegian competently, an absolute necessity, Fiona comes across as a well-educated, well-informed professional who offers collaboration and willingness in whichever way she can to successfully meet the needs of the child in question and their families.

I have witnessed the many ways in which Fiona supports the parents and families of students with different needs in a professional manner, and more importantly, with compassion, understanding and empathy. Not only is she extremely knowledgeable in her own role, but she also respectfully allows the parents to express their frustrations and concerns. These personal attributes certainly contribute to her successes over the past 4 years and are qualities which are essential when working with students and parents who find themselves in often challenging stages of establishing and then continuing their need for support. Routinely working over and beyond her required work hours, her tireless efforts have contributed to the success and achievements of many of our students. Additionally, Fiona has been an invaluable resource to her colleagues at ISS – offering guidance, support and direction on issues relating to our students with special needs.

Megan Medaas, Early Years Teacher

Fiona, you will not believe it when you hear him!! He is talking nonstop, and while some of it is hard to understand, I feel that he is truly communicating, and being understood a lot of the time. He repeats things that he hears us or his sister saying, and he is talking in sentences consistently. I cannot wait for you to hear him!! We can't thank you enough for the help you have already given him and us.

Lauren, mother of Joel, 3 years old at the time

Fiona is quick to recognise children who need additional support and takes action to remedy the situation. Her advice and strategies are always concise, easy to follow, relevant and innovative. For example, by creating interventions of her own, this year she has run a social skills group for Kindergarten. This not only involved creative techniques for students, but the modelling of strategies was a training session for Learning Support Assistants too. It has been highly effective and praised by local Kommune advisors.

Fiona has a wide range of skills to draw on as a speech and language therapist, educator and parent. I have greatly appreciated her being by my side at professional meetings this year. I know parents rely heavily on her and value the connection they have together. They commend her for her outstanding level of service, professionalism and follow-through. This takes time to build.

After working with Fiona for the past year, I've benefitted from her creative problem-solving, tireless work ethic, and willingness to do whatever it takes to support students and parents as effectively as possible.

Sam Bannerman, Class teacher