AYASHA VALJI, M.Sc., RSLP, S-LP (C)
I am passionate about helping people become better communicators. There is something very exciting about seeing someone’s language change and improve, and it’s pretty amazing to share that experience with the families and clients I work with. It’s certainly a journey filled with wonder. I created Wonderwords with that journey in mind.
My adventure began at UBC where I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and took me to Montreal where I obtained a Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) at McGill University. After graduating in 2004, I worked at Riverside School Board in Montreal where I was the only SLP for the entire school board. This meant that I was responsible for organizing and providing services to 20 elementary schools while managing a waitlist of approximately 600 students. This extraordinary situation allowed me to obtain a wealth of experience quickly.
After moving back to Vancouver I worked with younger children (birth to 5 yrs) at Deaf Children’s Society of BC and then with older students (13-20 yrs) within the Oral Program at Burnaby South High School and the BC School for the Deaf.
In these varied positions, I have worked with individuals with all kinds of speech and language difficulties. I have also gained experience with the following:
- Hunter’s Syndrome
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Down Syndrome
- Global Developmental Delay
- Childhood Cancer
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Cognitive difficulties
- Difficulties with reading & writing
- Behavioral Difficulties
- Feeding Difficulties
- Visual impairment (Deaf-blind)
- Difficulties with gross & fine motor skills
- Deaf & Hard of Hearing
While my passion is working with people, my clinical side is backed by strong scientific roots. While completing the applied Masters of Science in Speech Language Pathology, my love for research drove me to complete a second Masters Degree (a research degree) at the same time.
My thesis entitled “Language Preference in Monolingual and Bilingual Infants” allowed me to gain in-depth knowledge on bilingual language acquisition. Having worked in seven research laboratories at UBC and McGill, I have studied many different areas of language development and my research has been presented at various conferences and published in journals.
On the teaching side, I have presented workshops at Vancouver Community College and at Riverside School Board.
I have to admit my newest and best job is being a mom to my two daughters, Kiara and Sarina. It is probably the most challenging and rewarding job I’ll ever have! In my spare time I enjoy hiking, camping, traveling, rock climbing, dancing and skiing and sometimes I even manage to do these things with my kids!
My native language is English, but having lived in Montreal, I speak French fairly well. I also have experience with American Sign Language (ASL), Gujarati and Kuchi.