Your Speech Pathologist
My name is Andrea Coombes, and I am a fun-loving and energetic Speech Language Pathologist. In addition to being an “SLP”, I am a wife to my incredible partner and a mommy a precious little man. We have a dog named Charlie, who is an “excellent guard terrier” and snuggle companion. When I’m not working, you will often find me outdoors with my family, in the kitchen, or crafting up something glittery (and likely chalk painted). One of the reasons that I love Vancouver Island so much is that it is and always has been “home” for us. We spend a lot of time at the beach, and are fortunate to be surrounded by extended family. Laying down roots here has been a long-term journey, but we are thrilled we made it back to beautiful BC.
Initially I became a Speech Language Pathologist to help children become more effective communicators and to help support families of children with complex needs in their environments. I have experience working with speech sound disorders, language disorders, social language challenges, fluency (stuttering), literacy skills, and oral-motor speech disorders (apraxia and dysarthria). I also have experience working with children who have developmental disorders, cognitive delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, and learning disabilities. I have worked with preschool children in Early Education programs, as well as school aged children with Alberta Health Services, in the Edmonton zone. In addition to working with children, I have experience working with adults, as well as the senior and geriatric population.
I am a member of the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia (CSHHPBC), BC Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (BCASLPA) as well as through Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC).
In a mission to build a company that mirrors values and ideals that I find important, I opted for a name that had undeniable meaning to me: Blue Heron Speech. Blue Heron Speech is named in honor of Buddy the Heron. Growing up in British Columbia, I spent an abundance of time deep in thought, sitting on the beach out front of my childhood home, with Buddy the Heron at my side. My family made a point of acknowledging Buddy the Heron on a daily basis; he was always there, a part of the landscape and perhaps extended family.
Every morning, Buddy the Heron was sitting on the beach. Buddy the Heron lost his spouse tragically the first year that we lived on the ocean. While many Blue Heron choose a new spouse each year, Buddy opted to live his life in solitude. Yes there were occasions when Buddy would bring a friend to visit, but for the most part, he was spotted by himself. I suppose he wasn’t really “by himself,” as he was constantly in the company of seals, otters, seagulls, and occasionally a pod of Orca whales, but for the most part he kept to himself. I always suspected that Buddy found comfort in fishing alone and enjoying the peaceful sounds of the waves rolling in, and I was able to find comfort in the consistency and reliability of the presence of this Blue Heron.
While in Alberta, I found that when I needed a peaceful place, I continued to visualize myself on the beach with the calming sound of the waves, the cool and salty breeze, and the company of Buddy. When I had the opportunity to go visit my family, I made a point of sitting outside with a coffee and simply enjoying the wonders that lay before me, including Buddy, who was still spending his days on the beach. Now I am back on beautiful Vancouver Island, where I have strong personal connections and am excited to start working with children.
At Blue Heron Speech, I strive to create a comfortable setting for children and their families to adapt, to learn and to grow, while enjoying the wonders that lie before them.
The Blue Heron Speech Vision:
Family-centered services that incorporate child, family, and environmental needs, all of which are necessary to make treatment functional and effective for children and their families.
Blue Heron Speech Values:
- Adaptability: Changing with the environment to create a functional and peaceful place to practice speech and language, to maximize success.
- Collaboration: Working together to help children help themselves.
- Communication: open and honest communication of goals, progress, expectations, and next steps.
- Productivity: Achieving the best results you can to attain and maintain gains.
- Accountability: Responsible for setting achievable goals and working with families to provide family-centered treatment.
- Proactive Treatment Approaches: Being proactive rather than reactive allows a child to thrive in their environment, rather than struggle. We strive to help you help your child be the best that they can be.