About Speech Pathology
At Paeds Plus, our experienced speech pathology team provide a wide range of services, at our Currambine clinic or at selected schools. We assess, diagnose and provide intervention for a range of speech, language and communication difficulties. Our services range from screening at schools, specialised intervention, small group therapy and individual therapy.
"Speech pathology focuses on the
assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of speech, language (communication), fluency, voice and swallowing disorders. These can include difficulties with articulation of speech sounds, comprehension and expressive language skills, pre- and early literacy, fluency, swallowing and voice.
We help children from infancy through to teenagers who struggle with their communication and/or swallowing.
Our goal is to work with parents and teachers to build each child’s skills to allow them to function in their environment".
OUR SPECIALIST SERVICES
Paeds Plus Speech Pathology clinic offers a variety of speech and language services, located onsite in our Currambine Clinic. We also provide some services externally in selected Daycare and School Settings. As part of your child’s speech therapy journey we work in our multidisciplinary team, working collaboratively with Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Dieticians, Paediatricians and other health professionals. Our aim to provide holistic family centred therapy, involving parents, teachers and other professionals at different stages of the decision-making process.
Our experienced team of Speech Pathologists provide several Specialty Services which are listed below.
PAEDS PLUS SPEECH PATHOLOGY CLINIC
Our team of Speech Pathologist provide services for children of all ages onsite in our Currambine Paeds Plus Clinic. We assess, diagnose and provide intervention for a range of speech, language and communication difficulties including: Delayed speech and language development, Articulation difficulties, Language difficulties, Voice, Fluency, Stuttering disorders, Literacy and learning difficulties , Auditory Processing Disorders, Social Skills and more. Our team of experienced Speechies provide comprehensive assessments and therapy in several specialised areas detailed below.
Services in our Speech Pathology Clinic is available for both internal Paeds Plus patients, and children referred externally. We also provide screenings and therapy at selected schools and daycares.
KINDERGARTEN AND PRE-PRIMARY SCREENINGS
These screenings assess each child’s speech and language skills across 11 separate areas and include an individual report for parents to take to their clinician of choice, as well as a summary of the strengths and challenges across the whole class to allow teachers to plan their programs. Our screening program also includes parent information sessions to empower parents with the knowledge and the resources that they need to work with their children while they are waiting for an appointment.
We offer speech pathology screening services at selected schools - please contact your school to see if we provide screenings at your school. Schools are welcome to contact us for further information and to register their interest.
KINDERGARTEN BOOST GROUPS
Boost groups were initially developed as a follow-up for kindergarten screenings and are particularly suitable for children who are shy, lack confidence to speak in groups or who need support to remain focussed. They focus on 1-2 specific skills areas, meaning that individual children may not ‘fit’ any given group program, however multiple groups can be arranged to cater for different challenge areas. The groups can be run in-clinic in selected schools and can be adapted for children up to Year 1. Please speak with our speech pathologists about whether your child would benefit from a small group and when the most appropriate group will run next.
Language Development Centres are specialist public schools catering for children who are bright but whose language skills are limiting their learning. Places at highly competitive and are available from Kindergarten through to year 1. Paeds Plus offers LDC assessments throughout the year, however applications for the following year close in September. The assessment includes all of the application documentation and parental interviews that are required, and this information is then shared with your child’s school psychologist (who then completes additional assessments). For children applying for places in Kindergarten, all assessments can be carried out at Paeds Plus, ensuring a streamlined process.
ASSESSMENTS FOR SCHOOL SUPPORT FUNDING
If your child has a diagnosed developmental or speech condition, they may be eligible of school supports and funding. Our speech pathologists work together with school psychologists to confirm or exclude the impact of specific language difficulties on a child’s learning. This information can then be used to support school applications for support funding and / or applications to SCSA for special provisions during the ATAR exams.
Our Senior Speech pathologist is experienced in providing professional learning seminars for teachers, medical professionals and other community and government organizations (including clinical education and resourcing seminars for speech pathology students). Topics include early language development, speech sound development, auditory processing, literacy and emergent literacy and the impact of English as a second (or third) language upon development. Specific sessions on the impact and management of children with ASD and ADHD can also be provided in collaboration with our Occupational Therapist. We can also provide parent and teacher workshops.
DAY CARE SCREENINGS
Our team are currently designing an early speech screening program in Daycare settings. We will be offering day care screenings for children aged 3 years and older at selected day care centres to identify potential difficulties early and allow parents to refer to appropriate services. Please contact your day care provider to see if they will be a Paeds Plus Speech Screening Centre. Daycare centres are welcome to contact our team to register their interest for our Day Care Screening services.
Our staff are passionate about providing holistic care for your child, with ongoing training to ensure that all interventions are evidence-based and effective.
Our Allied Health team are excited to be undertaking an Autism Assessment Training Course (ADOS) later this year.
An Announcement will be made when we can offer this service.
HOW SPEECH PATHOLOGY CAN HELP YOUR CHILD
Communication skills and the
ability to interact with others is
essential skill for children to learn,
making speech and language incredibly important in a child’s development.
Assisting your child with these skills, whether at home or with a speech pathologist, creates the building blocks of
healthy communication skills.
Our Team of experienced Speech Pathologists provide assessments and Speech Therapy in the areas of..
Children learn to say the various speech sounds over time as their muscles and control develop. By the age of 7, most children will accurately produce all necessary speech sounds for their native language, however many children make residual errors and need support to produce the sounds correctly. Articulation therapy involves teaching the child how to say the ‘new’ sound and them using a step-by-step approach to practice the sounds in words, phrases, sentences and then in everyday speech. Research shows that children who do regular home practice achieve faster and more lasting results. Our speech pathologists will demonstrate the techniques used so that you can practice regular with your child between appointments.
Voice refers to the sounds we make from our vocal folds (aka voice box). Many young children experience periods of having a husky or hoarse voice, particularly if they are loud or produce a lot of non-speech sounds such as screaming, animal or vehicle noises (especially dinosaur roars!). Others might have a high-pitched (or ‘baby’) voice or even lost their voice altogether. A voice problem can affect social, emotional and educational development. A voice disorder may restrict your child from expressing themselves and participating in home and school life. Speech Pathology can help by teaching children strategies to use their voice in a safe way so that they can still get the volume and projection that they need but without damage to their vocal cords. Your speech pathologist may also refer you to your GP to exclude any concerning physical features, however most children have good success with speech pathology alone.
Fluency refers to the flow or rhythm of speech and how it can be disrupted. Many children experience a perfectly normal period of dysfluency between the ages of 3 and 4 years as they are working out the complexities of grammar. Dysfluencies can sound like repetitions of sounds or words (eg I want a d-d-d-d-d-drink” or “I-I-I-I-I want a drink”), prolongation of sounds/words (eg “I waaaaaaaaaaant a drink”) or periods where a child appears to struggle to speak at all. Speech pathologists can distinguish between these concerning, yet normal, dysfluencies and a true stutter. With early identification and intervention, most children achieve fluent speech again quickly and go on to remain fluent. Your speech pathologist can provide reassurance, strategies to support your child during this period of time and specific intervention if there is evidence of true stutter.
Language refers to the words we use to speak and understand others. Yet language is much more than just words. We also express language through gestures, pictures and voice output systems. Some children may take longer to develop language skills and require extra support. Our Speech Therapists cover a range of difficulties affecting receptive (comprehension) and communication (expressive) skills. Comprehension focusses on your child’s ability understand and follow instructions, answer questions and solve problems. Children with comprehension difficulties often find the kindergarten classroom situation challenging because they struggle to understand the routine and activities. Communication refers to your child’s ability to use words and gestures to express their needs and share stories. It includes a focus on vocabulary, how they form sentences, tell stories and use skill such as turn-taking and sharing topics to communicate. Children who have difficulty in expressive language often find it hard to communicate their understanding of what is happening in the classroom, and they may find it harder to form friendships if they can’t join in the games. Therapy involves starting from your child’s strengths and then finding ways to help them express their ideas more clearly.
Reading and writing are important life-skills, however there are many reasons which a child might find them challenging in the early stages. Even as early as Kindergarten, children are learning important pre-literacy skills such as rhyming, blendins and sounding out words as well as identifying the sounds at the beginning / end of spoken words and matching letters to sounds. These skills re critical for a child to then start spelling and reading. Our speech pathologists use the Sounds Write program which teaches clear spelling rules in a step-by-step way. Research shows that increased spelling ability improves reading ability. If your child is experiencing significant difficulties, we may also recommend referral to other professionals such as audiologists (for a hearing assessment), optometrists (for a vision check), occupational therapists (for visual processing and fine motor skills) and a psychologist (if parents are concerned about more significant challenges).
This relates to how children hear, understand, remember and process spoken information. It can often be linked with inattention, difficulty in starting and completing work, recalling information during assessments, following routines and in developing literacy. In older children, many of the effects are similar to those relating to ADHD and they can have a signficiant impact on learning and confidence. Speech pathologists use a combination of assessment to investigate your child’s difficulties and identify specific strategies to reduce the impact in the classroom. They might also recommended a collaborative approach with a paediatrician (to exclude or manage any additional features of ADHD), an occupational therapist (to target strategies such as note taking and using a diary to reduce the impact on schooling) or a psychologist (to exclude any underlying cognitive or processing challenges).
AUGMENTATIVE AND ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION (ACC)
Some children find verbal communication challenging for a range of reasons. For these children, they may achieve good success in using non-verbal alternatives to communicate their needs and ideas. This can range from something as simple as pointing to a desired object, or using facial expression to express how they are feeling right through to key word signing or one of the many visual systems. Some children use a paper-based system while others use technology-based systems that can even include computer-generated verbal output. This is a very specialised area that is changing rapidly as technology advances, our speech pathologist can assist most children however may refer to a specialised clinic if they feel that they are better able to meet your needs.
Social skills are important for your child’s ability to create and maintain meaningful friendships. They also provide a framework for how children make sense of their world. Speech and communication skills impacts how your child uses language to interact socially with others. As children get older, there is an increased need for them to be able to greet others, take turns, introduce and change topics, keep conversations going, resolving conflict verbally and understand the use of humour. Some kids can find it difficult to make and maintain friendships. Others find it difficult to interpret subtle social rules and nuances. Many children who are unable to interpret humour feel as though others are teasing them or bullying them because they cannot detect the underlying ‘joke’. Therapy targeting social skills can help your child make and maintain friendships and relationships. Our speech pathologist can work with you to help your child learn and practice these skills.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AN APPOINTMENT
Our goal is supporting your child
with fun, evidence-based
creating a learning environment
that is fun and enjoyable
for your child.
Speech therapy is tailored to the unique needs and goals of each child. An important first step is getting to know your child and helping them feel comfortable in our welcoming environment before starting any assessments. During your first appointment, your speech pathologist will discuss your concerns and will then use a combination of formal and play-based assessments to work out where your child’s strengths and challenges lie. You will have the chance to ask questions and your speech pathologist will spend time with you to explain where any difficulties lie and then to identify joint goals. If your child is suitable for a Short-Term Parent Supported Therapy program, this will be discussed and the timing and spacing of any further appointments will be confirmed.
Therapy sessions revolve around play and fun, while developing your child’s skills and strengths helping your child achieve key goals identified. Sessions include fun, play-based games or activities aligned with your child’s interests, which helps to keep them motivated while they develop and practice their new skills. You will have the chance to watch the speech pathologist, who will explain the techniques used so that you can use them at home. At the end of each session, you will be given some activities or suggestions to use at home. These will depend on your child’s interests and the goals that you are working towards. You are encouraged to contact the clinic if you experience any difficulties between appointments to ensure that your child’s progress continues to be smooth.
Booking in Appointments
If you feel your child may benefit from our Speech Therapy clinic, we would love to help you.
No GP referrals are required for an appointment with our Allied Health Team.
To request an appointment, refer to our website and click on the referral/appointment link.