Chevonne Du Plessis

Chevonne Du Plessis


B Speech, Language & Hearing Therapy, MSc in Speech-Language Pathology (cum laude), PGDip Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology (distinction)

Hello, my name is Chevonne. I completed my undergraduate degree in Speech, Language & Hearing Therapy at Stellenbosch University in South Africa in 2013. Over the next 6 years, I worked in private practice, worked on collaborative research between the University of Cape Town in SA and Vanderbilt University in the US, and presented on these findings at the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) congress in 2018. My research and academic interests centre around naturalistic communication interventions for multicultural and multilinguistic children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism. I have also tutored undergraduate students on assessing and treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other complex needs.

Clinically, I saw a diverse caseload, practicing in both acute hospital settings and special needs schools in Cape Town. My clinical interests include neonatal and paediatric feeding, adult neurogenic communication disorders, Down’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In 2019, after completing a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Cape Town, I presented my own findings as a delegate at my second IACAPAP congress. In the same year, I was one of 10 international applicants to be accepted to study a postgraduate qualification at University College, London. This third qualification, a Postgraduate Diploma in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology that I completed in December 2020, gave me a unique perspective into the complexities of neurodevelopmental disorders, mood disorders and mental-health difficulties and led me to my current position within Words First Ltd.

Since joining the Words First team in February 2020, I have worked within various schools catering for students with complex social, emotional and mental-health difficulties. In addition, I have also partnered with a private psychiatrist to support persons with comorbid Autism, ADHD, and language processing and working-memory difficulties. My background in communication, neuroscience and psychopathology allows me to have a diverse view of individuals and their needs as they grow and develop. I am always collaborating with schools to understand the complexity of young people trying to express complex emotions and experiences, and take pride in supporting families to understand diagnoses and targets from a wide variety of professionals. My approach is naturalistic and multi-level, which means that everyone is part of the team when it comes to therapy! I enjoy a mixture of 1:1 and classroom-based intervention, to support students across as many environments as possible and truly understand their communication and social needs from the perspective of each of my students.

As of September 2021, I am able to share my love of integrated theory and multi-faceted practice as a level 5B ASD | ADHD Consultant, where I provide specialist support for individuals with complex needs, as well as their families, schools and work environments, to optimise communication and interaction. In addition, after recently completing my ADOS-2 training, I am proud to say that we will be starting with ASD Diagnostic Clinics at our private clinic in Kenley as of November 2021. Our team of professionals caters for clients of all ages, offering a collaborative and comprehensive approach from diagnosis to intervention and from childhood to adulthood.

There is little else that parallels my love of learning, research and knowledge – unsurprisingly, I will happily get lost in libraries or bookstores for hours on end. One of my all-time favourite books is Quiet by Susan Cain, which explores the world of introverts and reminds us of the power of silence. It has been one of the most powerful tools in both my personal and professional life to remember that communication is so much more than words; that even in silence volumes can be spoken.