Maria is a fully registered Speech Therapist under the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC). She is a member of Speech and Language Therapists in Singapore (SALTS) and New Zealand Speech-language Therapists’ Association (NZSTA). She has graduated from the University of the Philippines, Manila. Maria previously worked at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) as Principal Speech Therapist and was also the Clinical Education Lead.
Having worked in KKH for 10 years, Maria has witnessed the feeding journey of neonates and children with complex medical issues. She understands that this journey is not a walk in the park and that for these children, the journey to getting at least a bite is coupled with tears and struggle. Maria specialises in neonatal and paediatric feeding cases. She has provided assessment and management of neonates and children with oromotor and/or swallowing issues, fussy eating and problem feeding. She has run multi-disciplinary and advanced feeding clinics working closely with parents and with various professionals such as dietitians, occupational therapists, nurses and doctors. Maria also has experienced running group sessions for fussy eaters where she was able to make use of each of the children’s strengths to overcome each other’s challenges. Maria was also an active member of advanced multi-disciplinary teams and has consistently engaged with other professionals during roll calls and ward rounds.
Maria understands that feeding disorders may not be as “popular” as some other disorders but they exist and the struggle and pain that come along with it are real. Maria also believes that no matter how challenging these cases are, working with dedicated and committed parents make every step to this long journey worthwhile. The goal to reach the children’s maximum potential in partnership with the parents fuels her to strive harder and give her best in every session.
Aside from speech therapy, another great passion of Maria is clinical education. Maria’s dedication in teaching not only extends to the children she sees for therapy but to the public, parents and caregivers, students, and other professionals. She is active in raising awareness about feeding issues and their management and has provided numerous lectures and talks to parents, other allied health professionals, dentists and doctors. She is committed in teaching the next generation of therapists and improving the service given to children with special needs. She has trained undergraduate and Master’s students from different universities such as National University of Singapore, Flinders University and Curtin University. She has also trained and provided consultation for basic and advanced feeding clinics for practicing speech therapists. She previously developed robust curriculum to ensure basic competencies and professional development. In 2015, she was awarded the People Developer Award Outstanding Trainer in KKH. Maria believes that teaching has a ripple effect. Like ripples that expand across the water, outcomes from teaching may start small but eventually creates a great and significant impact not only to the students but also to the children we see, their families and to the community as well.
Maria is trained in:
- SOS Approach (Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding),
- Feeding Therapy: A Sensory Motor Approach
- Oro-motor therapy using TalkTools® equipment and food
- Feeding the Most Fragile – Support breast and bottle feeding from NICU through the first six months of life