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What is a speech pathologist?

Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speech, language, fluency and voice. They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language. People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drink safely can also be helped by a speech pathologist.

What do I need to bring?

Be prepared to provide details regarding your child’s development, such as when they achieved their development milestones (eg: sitting, crawling, walking) and any relevant medical history. For children who are shy, it also might help to bring a favourite toy or book to talk about.

How many visits will I need?

The number of treatments will vary depending on the type and nature of the difficulty and the individual. The speech pathologist will create an individual learning program based on the child’s functional needs, which includes information from the family, other professionals or teachers.

How will you assess my child?

Speech pathologists use a range of assessments to diagnose communication difficulties. The type of assessment is selected based on the area of concern and the level of ability of the child. Some assessments are formal, and involve the child sitting at the table and answering questions using picture stimuli. Other assessments are informal and involve the therapist making a decision about the child’s difficulty using a developmental framework. For younger children the assessment is usually play-based, which involves the therapist using toys or activities to elicit responses from the child that can be analysed to determine the presence of a speech or language difficulty.

How do I make an appointment?

You can get in touch by phone or email. You can find the phone number for each practice on the ‘contact us’ page. Alternatively use the quick and easy ‘make an enquiry’ link to send us an email.

Do I need to be referred by a doctor?

No, speech pathologists can assess and treat without referral by a doctor. However children who are eligible for the Enhanced Primary Care (Medicare) funding, do need to bring their referral from their doctor before in order for sessions to be claimed.

How long will I need speech therapy?

Treatment duration depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, and other factors.  Re-evaluations will be done to assess your child’s progress and your therapist will communicate with the other members of your child’s team (other professionals, teachers) to ensure that therapy goals are being met.

What types of difficulties do speech pathologists treat?

We see and treat children with a wide range of difficulties and diagnoses.  Please visit our Services page for more information.

Do speech pathologists only work in the clinic?

No, we work in a variety of ways including giving 1:1 therapy, working in a classroom, doing home-based programs, giving resources and information, as well giving advice to families and other professionals.

How do I know if my health insurance covers speech pathology services?

Please check with your health insurance provider to determine if speech pathology services are covered under your plan.

How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment(s)?

Call the practice that you go to for all your regular appointments.