Does my child need to see a speech pathologist?
Parents are advised to make contact with a speech pathologist if they have any concerns about their child’s speech, language or learning abilities. Speech Pathologists can give professional advice on whether a child’s difficulties are expected for their age or if an assessment is warranted. Parents are urged to seek early assessment, diagnosis and treatment for communication problems, particularly prior to school entry.
Do I need a referral?
As a general rule, referrals are not required for assessments at our clinic however referral letters from a local doctor, paediatrician. autism advisor or Carers Australia under the Medicare Chronic Disease Management Scheme, Medicare Disability Rebate or the FaHCSIA Disability Initiative must be presented at the time of the assessment in order for the appropriate receipts to be issued. In addition, we also prefer that school aged children come with a letter from their school outlining the reason for the speech pathology assessment.
How do I make an appointment?
Parents can phone us or drop in to our clinic. Our friendly office staff will take details such as your child’s age, contact details, appointment preferences and what you are concerned about. Typically office staff will be able to allocate an appointment time straight away although sometimes, a follow up phone call may be needed from one of our speech pathologists to discuss your child’s needs in detail. Unfortunately, during some peak periods of the year, we experience high levels of demand for our services. At these times, children may be placed on a waiting list for service or experience a wait of greater than a month for their first appointment.
Why do I need an assessment?
The most effective, high quality, tailor made therapy for a child comes from a thorough assessment of the child’s temperament, difficulties and needs. It is for this reason that all new clients to Therapy Matters must have an assessment at their initial consultation even if they have seen another speech pathologist previously.
Why might my child be experiencing a communication difficulty?
Unfortunately, many communication disorders have no definite cause although it is common for difficulties to “run in families” with a family history of speech, language or literacy difficulties commonly reported. Boys are more commonly affected. Hearing impairments and middle ear infections are often noted which is why we often recommend that children have their hearing tested before being assessed at our clinic. Speech and language problems can also be associated with a range of disabilities including autism spectrum disorders. A speech pathology assessment may determine the cause of your child’s difficulties but often further assessments by a range of other health professionals may be needed (e.g. paediatrician, audiologist, occupational therapist or psychologist).
What happens in the assessment?
Prior to the assessment you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire about your child’s development and your concerns. You may also be asked to provide copies of any relevant reports (e.g. from the paediatrician, teacher or audiologist). This information will help the speech pathologist prepare the most relevant assessment tools to evaluate your child’s difficulties. Typically, our initial assessment appointments are scheduled for 1.5 hours. This allows sufficient time for the therapist to get to know your child, for you to ask questions and for the therapist to feedback to you the assessment findings.
Sometimes, school-aged children or children with complex needs may require a second assessment session. Your speech pathologist will be able to let you know if this is required. The speech pathologist may use a combination of formal tests and play based observations in order to evaluate how your child’s speech, language and literacy skills are developing. The type of test will depend upon the child’s age, their temperament and the reason for the referral.
What information will I be given?
At the end of the assessment, the speech pathologist will be able to let you know if your child has a problem or not and whether speech therapy could be of benefit. The speech pathologist will talk to you about what you can do at home to help your child as well as the type of speech therapy techniques that may be of most benefit. Sometimes, the speech pathologist may need to spend additional time after the assessment scoring, analysing and interpreting test results in order to provide you with an answer. In other instances, the speech pathologist may need to seek further guidance from other health and educational professionals to interpret the results of the testing. Should this happen the speech pathologist will then ask if you would like a follow up consultation to explain these results or the outcome of any liaison with other professionals.
What happens after the assessment?
After the assessment appointment, the speech pathologist will write a report that clearly outlines your child’s communication strengths and weaknesses as well as any recommended therapy for their difficulties. You should expect to receive this report within three weeks of testing.
What if my child needs therapy?
Contact us for more information