Speech Pathology

How can a Speech Pathologist help?

Communication is an essential skill to be an active and engaged member of your community, so having an appropriate method of communication is essential. Our Speech Pathologists understand this and can work with you to develop these skills and find alternative means of communication to give each and every person an opportunity to live their fullest life.

 

Therapy can include working one on one with the Individual to assist in skill development, or sessions can include family members or support staff to teach them strategies and skills to work on with the Individual outside of therapy sessions. Our team can also provide parent/carer training to build their skills in caring for a person with disabilities.

 

Sessions can take place in one of our clinics, at the Individuals kindy/school or care facility, or at home.

Some of the areas our team can assist with

  • Language: The words we use and how we use them to communicate. Language is often broken into two areas: Expressive Language – how we use language to express our needs and wants; Receptive Language – how we understand the words and language other people use
  • Social Language: Both the words and the non-verbal cues, like our facial expression and body language, we use when communicating with others.
  • Speech: How we produce sounds and words. It is typically broken down into three areas: Articulation – how we produce sounds with our lips, teeth and mouth; Voice – how we use our breath and vocal folds to create sounds; Fluency – the rhythm of speech and repetitions (i.e. a stutter)
  • Social Skills: The skills we use to communicate and interact with others, including use of appropriate language and non-verbal cues, and understanding the ‘rules’ like turn taking and active listening. These skills also include play skills, conflict resolution and risk awareness.
  • Feeding and Swallowing Difficulties: Particular food preferences and refusal to try foods of a certain colour or texture, creating a risk of poor nutrition. Difficulties chewing, breathing whilst eating or drinking, excessing drooling and swallowing. This can include the development of an Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan (OEDCP) to implement and assist school or care facility staff.
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Systems that enable a person to develop communication and language skills and can be used as an alternative means of communication.

Assessments

Individual assessments give us a snapshot of the Individuals strengths and needs and help us to tailor an individual therapy plan to best meet the needs of the Individual and determine how to work towards your goals. Assessments completed by our Speech Pathologists assist us to:

  • Identify any strengths or delays in the areas of speech, language, social skills and feeding behaviours
  • Assist us to understand what may be causing these challenges
  • Help us to develop a therapy plan, planning how to work on these challenges
  • Develop strategies for family members, school and/or care facility staff, or support staff to implement

If you have a National Disability Insurance Scheme Plan, as part of the reporting requirements at each plan review, individual assessments need to be conducted before starting a new therapy and either when you finish the therapy or at the end of each plan. These assessments provide us with ‘pre and post-baseline data’, or in simple terms, it provides a snapshot before and after therapy. This helps us when reporting on what progress was made and to develop recommendations for your future plan.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices are systems that enable a person to develop their communication and language skills and/or can be used as an alternative means of communication. AAC devices are often used with individuals who are:

  • Difficult to understand
  • Slow to develop speech
  • Unable to or have difficulties to communicate via speech

 

There are many different types of AAC devices, which can range from low tech devices, such as Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) and Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) books, to more high tech systems, such as Proloquo2go and similar speech generating devices. These devices can assist the person to:

  • Develop their language skills
  • Increase their engagement in their community and participation in social opportunities
  • Decrease their anxiety or frustration in trying to be understood or expressing their needs or wants

 

A Speech Pathologist will work with the individual and their family/carers to determine what is the most appropriate system to meet the individuals needs and provide training and support to enable successful usage of the system.