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For children, early intervention is key.

If you are concerned about your child’s speech, language or literacy development at any age, or your child has a developmental disorder or disability, we encourage you to contact a Speech Pathologist. 

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Communication begins at birth and is how we connect and bond with our children

Delayed or disordered speech and language development can lead to a breakdown in communication with our children. Early assessment and intervention is vital to ensure that children achieve their maximum potential. It also helps alleviate some of the associated difficulties of communication break-down such as frustration, withdrawal and socialization difficulties.

Speech Pathology Australia  has developed these Communications Milestones posters to support families' understanding of typical development. If you are worried that your child is not meeting these milestones, we encourage you to contact a speech pathologist. Early intervention is key.

We offer evidence-based family-centred training and educational Hanen Courses.

The Speechcare team is experienced in dealing with children. We know how to make families feel comfortable and to make therapy engaging and practical.

Children with delayed speech and/or language skills may:

  • be late talkers
  • have limited vocabulary development
  • find it difficult to express themselves
  • not understand well or experience difficulty following directions
  • have developmental disorders or disabilities
  • have sensory feeding and mealtime difficulties
  • have difficulties making themselves understood

Speech Delay

This includes children who:

  • are difficult to understand
  • find it difficult to sequence sounds correctly
  • produce speech sound errors beyond the usual age (e.g. continues to say 'boon' for spoon or substitutes 't' for 'k' as in 'mate' instead of 'make' well after their peers appear to have stopped making these errors).
  • are still difficult for familiar and less familiar adults to understand by the age of 4.

Stuttering

This includes children who produce repetitions, prolongations, and blocking of sounds and syllables.

Your child knows what they want to say, but are unable to produce it because of the presence of these dysfluencies.

Speech may be effortful and it may take time for your child to say what they want to say.


Literacy Difficulties

This includes children who:

  • find it difficult to learn the decoding skills necessary for learning to read or the encoding skills necessary for learning to spell
  • may be able to read but find it difficult to comprehend the text
  • are struggling to retain spelling and reading 'rules'
  • appear to not remember spellings they have just learned

Feeding Difficulties

For a variety of reasons babies and children have problems with feeding and eating at mealtimes.

For babies this may be include:

  • problems with sucking and swallowing
  • refusal of food or bottles
  • long or difficult feed times
  • and/or problems with gaining weight

For toddlers and young children this may include difficulties with the skills required to eat and drink including biting, chewing and swallowing.

It may also involve food refusal, resulting in a very limited range of foods or a restricted way in which they will accept foods.


Voice Disorders

This includes children who:

  • have husky/hoarse voices as a result of incorrect use of their voice
  • have unusual intonation patterns
  • use inappropriately loud or soft voices

Developmental Disabilities and Disorders:

Children with developmental disabilities commonly have speech, language, literacy, feeding and social difficulties.

A speech pathologist can assess your child and determine if your child has a difficulty in these areas and provide support to set and achieve targets related to improved daily living, independence and social relationships.

Our Speech Pathologists are experienced in assessing and treating a range of developmental difficulties in one-to-one, group and family-centred sessions.


Referrals

Parents can refer directly to Speechcare.

We also receive referrals from GPs Paediatricians, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialists, Audiologists, Teachers, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, 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 Your First Visit:

In most instances, children and parents/caregivers attend together. Your child is provided with interesting toys and activities while the Speech Pathologist speaks with you about your concerns for your child and goes through the questionnaire you have completed about your child’s history (developmental, medical, educational, social and family).

Depending on your child’s age and stage of language development, the Speech Pathologist then assesses your child using a variety of standardized and naturalistic assessments tools. At all times they are made to feel comfortable and at ease. Assessment tasks are done in a fun way, with plenty of positive reinforcement.

Following assessment, a report is prepared (if required) which includes recommendations. If therapy is recommended, session times are organized and you and your child return for the follow-up appointments.

What to Expect at Subsequent Sessions

Therapy sessions are fun and the emphasis is on achieving therapy goals using games and play-based techniques as much as possible.

Home practice is strongly recommended and these activities will be explained thoroughly during the session. 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 provide home visits. At Speechcare we are fully equipped to provide therapy via telehealth. 

Alternative and Augmentative Communication

For children with little or no speech, specialist support can be offered in the area of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). This can range from compiling a simple communication board or visual schedule to programming a complex speech generating device (SGD).

We trial AAC devices through Liberator Australia

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