What is a speech pathologist?
A speech pathologist is an allied health professional who specialises in the assessment and treatment of communication and feeding and/or swallowing difficulties.
Our speech pathologists work with children and young people aged 0-18 years to help them overcome the challenges they are experiencing with speech, language, feeding and mealtimes, literacy, speech fluency, and social interaction, and to support the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) methods.
At Able Kids Therapy, our speech pathologists are highly experienced and passionate about working with children and helping them to be successful in all areas of their lives. We believe in meeting your child where they are and supporting them to learn and grow in the ways that work best for them.
What can our speech pathologists help with?
Speech skills involve the ability to produce speech sounds correctly so others can understand what we are saying. Children with speech difficulties may have challenges putting their tongue, jaw and lips in the right place to make a sound, following the phonological rules of when to use a certain sound in words (for example saying ‘wabbit’ instead of ‘rabbit’), and speaking clearly enough to be understood by family members and/or unfamiliar listeners.
Language skills involve the ability to understand and use words to share meaning. Children with language difficulties may have challenges understanding words, following instructions, putting words together in sentences, using grammar correctly, telling or understanding stories, and asking or answering questions.
Feeding and Mealtimes
Feeding skills involve everything related to eating and mealtimes. Children with feeding difficulties may have challenges with biting, chewing or swallowing food or liquids, eating a variety of food types and textures, sitting at the table and joining in family mealtimes, and may cough/choke/gag on foods or drinks.
Literacy skills involve learning to read and write effectively. Children with literacy difficulties may have challenges learning the connection between letters and sounds, putting sounds together to make words, breaking words up into their sounds, reading quickly and fluently, spelling words correctly, and understanding what they read.
Speech Fluency (Stuttering)
Speech fluency involves speaking in sentences with natural-sounding continuity, smoothness and rate. Everyone experiences occasional moments of disfluency (e.g. saying ‘um’ when you can’t think of what to say), but children who stutter have consistent fluency difficulties including repeating parts of words (repetitions), stretching out a sound for a long time (prolongations) or having a hard time getting a word out (blocks).
Social skills involve learning to engage well with others in order to build relationships. Children with social interaction difficulties may have challenges making and keeping friends, joining in with conversations, taking turns, and understanding nonverbal communication like facial expressions and tone of voice.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
AAC refers to the different tools and strategies that we can use to help someone communicate if they cannot get their message across through verbal speech alone. The aim of AAC therapy is to provide your child with more communication tools for their toolbox, which will help them to understand and interact with others, and to share their thoughts, feelings, wants and needs. Some common AAC tools are sign language, symbol boards, symbol books, and tablet-based communication devices.
What services do we provide?
Able Kids Therapy offers appointments in our clinic and in the community at your child’s home, school, kindy or daycare.
We offer several appointment types including:
- Speech pathology intervention sessions
- Occupational therapy intervention sessions
- Combined speech and occupational therapy intervention sessions
- Assessment sessions with a comprehensive report
- Group therapy sessions for social skills, early language and literacy
Financial support for accessing speech pathology and occupational therapy services can be provided by:
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – We offer NDIS funded services under the Early childhood and Therapeutic Supports – Capacity Building category. We can accept clients who are plan managed or self-managed.
- Private health insurance – All of our professionals have Medicare provider numbers, which means you may be able claim for eligible services, depending on your level of cover.
- Medicare Chronic Disease Management Plans (CDMP) – You can claim a rebate on up to five allied health sessions per year with a referral from your GP. Please note that the rebate does not cover the full cost of sessions.