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Speech Pathologists at Speechcare offer a range of services to help people to improve their communicative, swallowing and literacy abilities.
Our voice is the vehicle for expressing emotion, thought and ideas. A vocal disorder can be very concerning for people who rely on their voices for a living - teachers, clergy, actors or singers.
A consultation with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist is a necessary first step. Following this, a thorough assessment by a Speech Pathologist provides the necessary information to plan an individualised treatment program.
A breakdown in fluency results in the disorder known as Stuttering.
Symptoms include repetition, prolongation, and blocking of sounds and syllables. This can be extremely frustrating as the person knows exactly what they want to say but for that moment cannot say it.
Treatment focuses on breathing, learning to use gentle onsets to sounds and techniques to decrease anxiety about speaking. Advocacy and support groups are available across Australia. Look at our Resources page to find out more.
This includes problems with the accurate production of speech sounds. A Speech Pathologist can assess, diagnose and treat difficulties with speech-sound production.
If you would like to modify your current accent, a Speech Pathologist can help you. Most often we help clients with English as their secondary language to achieve an accent closer to that of the people in their community and/or workplace.
Many people reach adulthood without being able to read or write to an adequate level. Assessment and intervention by a Speech Pathologist can help you to make significant gains in reading, writing and understanding written text.
Speech, Language and Swallowing disorders
Speech Pathologists can support people with lifelong disabilities in the areas of literacy, speech, language, social interaction and relationships. At Speechcare we provide support to adults who present with a range of disabilities and can provide individualised assessment and intervention based on functional goals that will support better quality of life.
Speech Pathologists have the skills to assist adults with neurological conditions such as stroke, head injury and Parkinson’s Disease.
Speech Pathologists understand the effect that swallowing and communication difficulties can have on a person’s everyday life and can provide support and advice to the individual and their family.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder. The muscles of the mouth, face, and respiratory system may become weak, move slowly, or not move at all after a stroke or other brain injury. A Speech Pathologist can assess and treat these difficulties.
Aphasia is a loss of language skills usually caused by stroke or other brain injury. A Speech Pathologist can provide assessment and treatment.
Aphasia can affect:
- understanding the speech of others
- understanding numbers and money
Dysphagia (Swallowing Difficulties)
Dysphagia is a term that refers to difficulty with eating and/or swallowing. Swallowing is mainly a fairly automatic process, one that people don’t consciously think about unless something goes wrong.
Most people have experienced food or drink ‘going the wrong way’ and the coughing and spluttering that results. Most of us have also occasionally felt a very hot or very cold drink as it goes down the oesophagus to the stomach. These occasional events are considered normal and are not associated with anything going wrong with the swallowing mechanism.
For some people there can be a breakdown in their normal swallow, with different causes producing different signs and symptoms.
People may find they are coughing on every mouthful, having food or tablets ‘get stuck’ on the way down, find that they have difficulties chewing or swallowing, or find they experience reflux or regurgitation after eating or drinking.
This may happen more at a certain time of day, be related to a particular texture of food or type of medication, or a person may have no difficulties when they are well, but notice whenever they are unwell they have swallowing problems.
Speech Pathologists work closely with your GP and can help with strategies and exercises to improve swallow function and can advise on modifications of food and fluid to ensure your safety when eating and drinking.
Anyone can self-refer directly to Speechcare. We can receive referrals from GPs, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialists, Neurologists, Audiologists, Psychologists and Dietitians.
Sometimes your Speech Pathologist may recommend a referral to a medical practitioner or allied health professional for further investigation. A referral to an Audiologist for a hearing test is often recommended as adequate hearing is vital for speech and language development.
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What to Expect at Subsequent Sessions
Depending on the communicative difficulty the Speech Pathologist will provide you with exercises and activities. Home practice is recommended. We encourage you to ask questions if at any stage you are unclear about any aspect of the assessment or therapy program.
Alternative Service Delivery
Speechcare Speech Pathologists may, in some circumstances, provide home and nursing home visits. At Speechcare we are fully equipped to provide therapy via telehealth.
Alternative and Augmentative Communication
For those with little or no speech, support can be offered in the area of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). This can range from compiling a simple communication board to programming a complex speech generating device (SGD). Assistance in trialling different SGDs and applying for funding through the NDIS is available.
We trial devices through Liberator Australia.