Fostering language and literacy projects

Welcome to Chatter Matters Tasmania

We are a young, charitable organisation with focus upon building awareness and skill in human communication. This means language, literacy and positive relatedness – the foundations of progress and human wholeness. Our goals are to kindly and effectively bring evidence-based and practical programs to population groups and individuals who have been disadvantaged in developing these skills, for whatever reason.

Chatter Matters Tasmania is greatly graced by the goodwill of Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM Governor of Tasmania who has generously afforded us her patronage. Our gratitude is with her, and her Office.

Rosie named Tasmanian Australian of the Year for 2017

We are so honoured for our founder Rosie Martin to have been named Tasmanian Australian of the Year for 2017 from amongst a wonderful group of Tasmanian finalists.

We are thrilled about the incredible opportunity this honour provides in directing some public attention towards the important work of our prison literacy project Just Sentences, and the role that speech pathology has in justice and social equity.

Positive connection and open communication is so important for us as individuals and as a society. Connection is the powerhouse of human agency. It is fuel for children's development, the foundation of our very health, stimulator of desistance from crime, and source of transformation. It is to see the intrinsic value in an
other (we are all 'others'). Kind communication matters. Connection matters. And much of it.

Rosie is greatly honoured and encouraged to receive this award; and is grateful for the kind, generous and affirming words received in response. 

Congratulations to all of the other finalists and nominees.

Chatter Matters projects

Just Sentences: Prison Literacy Pilot Project

The Just Sentences pilot project is bringing specialised speech pathology support to the literacy programs of a small number of functionally illiterate inmates within the Tasmanian Prison Service. You can read about the enormous difference it made to two inmates in the full report.

We think the results of this report are really important. Life can be dice. A different roll or a different splash of the genetic soup, born into a different family or community, and any of us – you, me, the people we love – could have had a life of being unable to read, stuck in a path of poverty, crime and imprisonment. The report shows that with the right kind of extra support, many lives which are currently warehoused... (pause for gravitas)... could be transformed. After all... adults who have not learned to read are the grown-up versions of our society’s children who struggle to learn at school. We know they need specialist help when they are children – and they still need specialist help as adults. The good news is that they can make quite stunningly quick progress when they get that specialist help.

We are grateful that ABC radio, ABC online and The Mercury also have interest in building awareness about this work.

Importantly, the Just Sentences project also made a difference within the professional learning of those who teach literacy at the prison - and then further led to our speech pathologist, Rosie Martin, providing professional learnings for those who teach adult literacy across the state of Tasmania. Such multi-disciplinary collaboration is exciting development toward change and continuous improvement which follows the evidence.

You may want to ask at this point ‘Why are speech pathologists teaching reading?’

It’s because their specialist knowledge is in the acquisition of language, and in the processing and production of speech sounds – and... after all...

Literacy is just language which has been placed on a page or screen using a code based on the speech sounds.

So if something goes wrong in the process of acquiring reading, writing and spelling, to overcome the problem, it is essential to get into the basic skills of language and sound processing – enter the speech pathologist.

And at this point it is worth reiterating that, wonderfully, adults can respond quite quickly when they receive specialist help. Rosie Martin has been supporting another project in adult literacy...

Sound Systems: A phonemically-based approach to adult literacy tutoring at the LINC

The quick heads-up on what we saw when we used the speech sounds as the starting point to learn the written code, is that functionally illiterate adult learners turn their skills around in just four months. A fantastic result, a fantastic project, and a fabulously necessary foundation from which to benefit more people whose lives have been disadvantaged by illiteracy. Read the report here.

Our third project is one of which we are very proud – it’s about love.

Fortifying, undergirding, strengthening-of-all-things love. And specifically, how the bond of love and positive emotion which forms the basis of secure attachment between parent and child gifts that child’s life with mental wellbeing, relationship which grows language and social communication and from there, on into literacy – and beyond into wisdom.

Just Time: Circle of Security Parent DVD Program® in Tasmania’s Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison

The Just Time project brought the well-respected and well-researched Circle of Security Parent DVD Program® to the mums of the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison. The Circle of Security teaches the processes of parent-child attachment using a simple graphic, powerful metaphors and reflective dialogue within a small group. You can read the full report right here. It contains many verbatim quotes from the participating mums. Stuff of authenticity and vulnerability. They are all to be honoured and greatly commended.
One of our facilitators, Sarah Kay, said this about the program:

“Circle of Security works. It’s a simple and effective program with benefits for all families within our society. Unequivocally and unquestionably do not withhold this from at-risk parents.”

She’s right.
Simple. Effective. Works.
With benefits for all families. Yours and mine included.

We are also delighted to share that we will be able to continue Just Time in the coming year.

Why Chatter Matters

So... you are wondering why Chatter Matters Tasmania?

Well, it’s simple, scientific and sassy all at the same time. This is how...
Simple – Because chatter, simply, matters. Chat, exchanges of pleasantries – both the fun exchanges and the deeply meaningful ones – are amongst the experiences which give the greatest pleasure and meaning to human lives. They simply feel good. Darn good. Universally. And by ‘chat’ we are also referring to those connected exchanges which happen without words – but with just eyes and faces. All of these elements contribute to the richness of human communication and relationship.

Scientific – Because it is by these communications that we mediate the quality of our relationships. And the quality of our relationships directly influences our health and wellbeing, and that of our communities. Our chatter matters because it pays forward to our good health and the good health of those we meet everyday – both physical health and mental health, at the individual level and at community level. And positive communication and positive relationship are the means by which to grow love, care, language, social skill, mental wellness, valuing of others, cooperation, literacy, academic skill, innovation, creativity, appreciation of the arts, mentoring, civic duty, contribution to society and wisdom.

And it’s Sassy – Because we think all of this is so important that it is worth finding out-of-the-square ways to promote communication skill and make its richness available to everyone – especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. And that’s why Chatter Matters, Tasmania!

Who are we?

Chatter Matters Tasmania is an incorporated association which is registered as a charity with deductible gift recipient (DGR) status. (This means that if you donate to us you can claim a tax deduction of any amount over $2:00). You will find us listed with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Who are our people? We are still finalising our Board, but here we are so far... random order, because all are valued and make valuable contribution – none above another.

Kristy de Salas

This is what we have to say about Kristy:

Dynamic, fun, compassionate IT-whizz with a sensitive social conscience and desire to contribute to the wellbeing of others.

And here is what she says about herself:

Kristy de Salas has 15 years’ experience as a Business and ICT Systems analyst, working with over 100 organisations to augment or transform their business with ICT. She received her PhD from the University of Tasmania and has undertaken research in the fields of Games Development, Business Process and Project Management, and ICT Curriculum Development since 2013. In addition to her role as Senior Lecturer at UTAS, Dr de Salas also holds the role of Producer for a local Games Development company - Giant Margarita Games.

Rosie Martin

This is what we say about Rosie:

Founder and passionate speech pathologist who keenly feels the privilege of having been trusted in therapy by vulnerable children, their families, and other individuals over many years; but who has lamented inequity in access to service.

And here is what she says about herself:

Rosalie (Rosie) Martin is a speech pathologist working in her own practice, Speech Pathology Tasmania. Rosie is a generalist speech pathologist, but also particularly specialises in supporting individuals with severe literacy acquisition disorders and autism – and their families. She has loved her own family life and raising her two sons – the delight of which fuelled her passion for the unique perspective the profession of speech pathology brings to human interaction at all levels of ability. She is also a group facilitator, a winger of everything that might be fun, and a lover of beauty in all its forms – but especially the beauty of human kindness and the honesty that makes us vulnerable.

Michael Salewicz

What we say about Michael:

Calm, kind and steady-thinking accountant with experience at his back and his face always toward freedom. He’s tried to retire but keeps finding interesting things to do.

And this is what he says about himself:

Michael Salewicz, CPA, of Bicheno, has a broad commercial background in finance and administration, having worked as a consultant in both the private and public sectors (education, insurance, telecommunications, accounting, water and local government) and with the Asian Development Bank (Manila). Michael holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Social Sciences (Sociology). He is a Member of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants.

Greg Barns

This is what we say about Greg:

Big-hearted, compassionate, integrative-thinker, writer and barrister, with a strong and consistent voice for human-rights, equity and positive social change.

And here is what he says:

Greg Barns is a barrister, writer and company director. He is a cofounder of the Prisoners Advisory Legal Service in Tasmania and a former National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. Greg practices from Salamanca Chambers in Hobart and Stawell Chambers in Melbourne and specialises in criminal law and administrative law. He is the author of three books on Australian politics and writes a weekly column for the Hobart Mercury. He has been a director of a number of ASX listed mineral exploration companies.

Richard Martin

We say this about Richard:

Kind, visionary, ideas-man and serial volunteer with a small-business and investment background – wholly motivated by compassion and supporting others to support themselves.

And he says this:

Richard (Rich) Martin is a group facilitator with background in small business, training and mentoring. His particular interests are in mindful personal-development for men and others who have experienced disadvantage and loss. He works in his own businesses, which include property, storage and IT support, and volunteers other time in a wide range of local community-development projects.

Rikki Mawad

Us, talking about Rikki:

Vivacious, energetic, and incisively-thinking lawyer and advisor who can juggle concepts and challenges with grace, while warmly progressing them toward freedom and abundance.

And she says this:

Rikki is an Arts/Law/Hons graduate of the University of Tasmania. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and was admitted as a Legal Practitioner in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 2009.

In 2012, Rikki completed her Masters in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at James Cook University, and in 2013 graduated from the Tasmanian Leaders Program – all while working as an Adviser in the Federal Parliament, the Senate and the Tasmanian Parliament (2010 – 2014)

Rikki is passionate about education. The recipient of numerous awards for the furtherance of education, she has continued to make contribution on the Boards of organisations which support equity of access: the former Tasmanian Academy, the Colony 47 Partnership Brokers Scheme, the Link Youth Health Service – and now Chatter Matters.

Rikki is currently a Sessional Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, and is also working across a range of projects within the Tasmania Law Reform Institute. Her primary work relates to measures to improve access to justice for people with disability and complex communication needs in the criminal justice system.

An experienced traveller, Rikki has been through close to 50 Countries, including working and volunteering in Eastern Africa and South America.

Andy van Emmerik

We say this about Andy:

Steady, just, wisely-circumspect and fun-loving engineer with an eye for fine things, and with interests and talents as wide as the sky.

And he says this:

After 20 years of practising, I'm now a full-time consulting Business Development Manager. My entrepreneurial approach and thorough research of market impact is continuing to provide a high success rate. My strength is in development and securing of civil engineering projects however my interests are significantly wider.

This new career suits me personally as I love finding out about other people, their commercial problems and discussing opportunities for change.


Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions

Rosie Martin

Phone: 0418 390 449
Chatter Matters Tasmania