What to expect when you see a speech & language pathologist
Services for younger children
Do you have concerns about the way your child is using sounds when talking? Are your concerns more about the way your child is using words to make meaning? Are you worried about how little your child talks?
Are you concerned about your child ‘s ability to understand what is happening around them? Or is there a family history of reading difficulty and you are looking for early intervention?
We can help you with these concerns.
The first meeting with a speech & language pathologist will involve taking a detailed history of your child's development. It's important to consider multiple factors that may have impacted on the progress your child has or hasn’t made in their communication.
The next step is to use the appropriate assessment tools to determine the best course of action and the type of therapy that will be of most benefit. Speech & language pathologists take a scientific approach to planning the best course of treatment. They gather the data necessary to gain better understanding of your child’s strengths and areas of difficulty so that your child's skills may be compared with the research on communication difficulties. We then look closely at that data to determine your child's strengths and weaknesses and devise a course of therapy that is individually tailored to help your child reach their communication potential.
The choice of the therapy model is based on what we learn from research, what we learn about your child and what is going to suit the needs of the family and education environment your child attends. In some instances you might be reassured that your child is developing the way most children develop but with only minor delays. If the delay is significant or there is something a little unusual about the way your child is developing then we can explain the nature of the difficulties and offer a more intensive, targeted course of treatment.
Children learn best in a fun environment where they feel safe and valued. We tailor our service to reflect the interests of your child where possible. We strive to build a positive, friendly relationship to get the best out of your child.
Services for school students
Once a child starts school they need to be able to use a combination of communication skills to be successful. By this age, students should have mastered almost all of the “adult” pronunciation of speech sounds and words. The emphasis on using language to learn is increasingly important. Students need to be able to follow directions in the classroom and develop independence in tasks. Good listening skills are needed to enable students to focus on their teacher, engage with stories that are read to them and to understand instructions. The business of 'formally' learning to read and spell begins, although the language skills required to do so began to develop many years ago!
Speech & language-pathologists are skilled in helping children develop in all areas to make them successful in the process of becoming “literate”. Oral language, phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension are all skills speech & language pathologists understand thoroughly and can help to develop. At the first sign of difficulty it is beneficial to seek help for your young student!
An initial consultation will involve taking a thorough history. This is best achieved without the child present. This helps the speech & language pathologist to speak openly with you and to choose the most appropriate assessments to use at the next visit. In the planning of therapy we are diligent in our commitment to providing evidence based approaches where possible. We also apply the benefit of years of experience in choosing therapy goals for your child!
Younger students are supported to develop their oral language and literacy skills through fun activities. For example, we often use the computer software and apps designed by Bartek Rajkowski, the clinic director. This software was developed in line with current research on how children learn to read.
We encourage the clinic sessions to be reinforced by practicing new skills at home. Once again, this approach is tailored to the student and family requirements.
Services for older students
Upper primary and secondary students face increasing demands on the skills they have for learning. They need to develop organisational skills. They need to be effective communicators to work in small groups, discuss ideas, debate and make oral presentations. Good oral language skills are as important as ever. They still underpin the ability to show learning through speaking and writing in every form of assessment.
The ability to read and write are closely intertwined. The interest we share in assisting students overcome difficulties in these areas forms the core of our practice.
Our speech & language pathologists are well aware of the barriers some students face in showing what they know. We are skilled in tailoring our approach in response to student need. Students have found our services invaluable in support of their studies from school right through to TAFE and university.
An initial consultation may be conducted without the student present. It is often easier to obtain a complete history if the parent or care giver is able to speak freely. Students can become sensitive about the fact they learn differently from their peers very early in their schooling. A thorough history will provide important information about development and learning to date.
An assessment session will then be designed depending on the areas identified by the parent concerns and speech & language pathologist. The assessment tools chosen will assist in identifying areas of strength and areas that will benefit from further development. The data collected is analysed and used to determine the therapy approach best suited to the student. Student learning disposition will be taken into account. Building trusting relationships with this age group is particularly important for achieving successful outcomes.
Therapy sessions can also be adapted to fit in with the students' school work. It is more motivating to work on material relevant to school work rather than doing additional work. We encourage the student to bring an assignment they are working on and we are able to incorporate our therapy goals into helping the student complete their work.
Services for adults
Adults seek our services for a variety of reasons.
An initial consultation will determine what is required of the speech & language pathologist. A plan for reaching desired goals will be made with the client. Assessment may involve formal as well as less formal processes.
Literacy is a skill that can be improved at any age. We often work with adults who decide it is time to address reading and spelling issues. Speech & language pathologists are ideally positioned to address adult learning needs in the area of literacy. We are also familiar with a range of inclusive technologies that may be of use depending on the day-to-day activities, work situation or type of education the client is participating in.
Adults may also seek help with fluency (stuttering) or articulation errors (such as a lisp). The same process of consultation, assessment and therapy goal setting applies.
SPEECH & Language Pathologists can help with: