Have you ever experienced how it feels to not fully understand someone or be able to talk to someone or even read signs? Perhaps you have while attempting to communicate in an unfamiliar language. It’s not hard to feel frustrated or even give up.
Imagine how a child feels when faced with not being able to express themselves or participate in conversations with peers because they do not follow the topic well. Imagine how it feels when a child cannot read, or if they do read, they are not sure what the text means. Think about how frustrated they may feel when they cannot write down their ideas because they cannot organise those ideas or spell the words.
Now consider the impact of this over time on their self esteem, their social life, their academic performance and their ability to apply for and find employment. Communication difficulties have far reaching effects and as Speech Pathologists, our role is to minimise and eliminate those negative impacts as much as possible.
Communication is a human right and we are here to help children who are experiencing communication challenges to exercise their right communicate for themselves.
When to seek help
If you, or someone who knows your child, have any questions or concerns about your child’s speech and language development, why not contact us for advice? Getting advice early on from the health professionals who are qualified to provide it is always worth it. If everything is developing within the typical range, we will tell you. If not, we will provide you with as much information as you need to decide the next step, as well as explain how we can help your child. Early intervention is the key to success.
Speech Pathologists are the allied health professionals who are trained to assess, diagnose and treat communication and feeding disorders and difficulties. We study at university level and are required to maintain our professional development to hold the status of Certified Practising Speech Pathologists.
We work with children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulty with a range of communication issues, including;
- Speech sounds (e.g. lisps, unclear speech)
- Putting words together to communicate
- Understanding others
- Following instructions
- Language development (e.g late talking)
- Speech fluency (stuttering)
- Voice care
- Reading, writing and spelling (language in print)
- Reading comprehension
- Accessing/understanding the school curriculum
- Social communication and challenges with pragmatics
- Exams – we assist with applications for special provisions in exams, such as for the HSC.
Speech Pathology – What to expect?
The first step in helping them reach this goal is to see us for an initial assessment. With the results to guide us, we make a plan. That is, we plan the work, then we work the plan!
A thorough assessment yields a lot of information about your child’s individual communication strengths and weaknesses, which we then document and explain in a full and comprehensive report for you to keep and share with other professionals involved in their care. We will also book in a feedback session with you to discuss the results and plan therapy.
Regular, consistent therapy plus home practice of therapy target areas is the most effective way to bring about success.
Assessment, Therapy, In Services and Workshops.
This is a very important first step in the process of helping your child so we use a range of up to date assessment tools and are thorough in assessing your child’s communication (speech, language, literacy, pragmatics), taking the whole child into consideration when considering their results and making recommendations.
Any areas of challenge identified in the assessment are targeted in regular speech therapy sessions. Those sessions may be based in the clinic, home, preschool or school. Our Speech Pathologists maintain regular contact with each child’s parents and also with their teachers (with parental consent). We are committed to Evidence Based Practice and therefore we will only use strategies in therapy that are firmly based in scientific evidence.
Our therapy sessions are designed to practice our goals in a fun way so that the sessions are more meaningful for the child. If you choose to have sessions at our office you will see an abundance of games, toys, books, craft materials that we use to maximise therapy practice. You do not need to buy endless toys for home, your child will be able to experience these toys each time they see us, making them a little more interesting. We like parents / carers to be involved and siblings too.
For offsite visits, we will bring materials but may use some of your child’s own favourite toys too. As with clinic sessions, we like to have you involved as much as possible. Feel free to drop in on our preschool/school sessions and when we come to your home, please join in!
School Readiness – Weekly Groups
These groups are for children due to start school in 2021. The group will run on a term by term basis. We are taking expressions of interest for the Term 2 group, starting on 4th May, 2020.
This group will be for 4-6 children, aged 4 to 6 years, learning key skills for literacy (phonological awareness and sound – letter connections), friendship building, social skills and problem solving.
Places are limited so call us on 0499 150 333 to book or email us via our contact form. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
School Readiness Intensive
Our “School Readiness” intensive workshops (20th to 23rd January) are fully booked. Watch this space as we will another group in January, 2021.
These groups are small (approx. 4 children) working together in a fun way to prepare for kindergarten. The groups will practice phonics for learning to read/write, friendship building and problem solving. Places are limited so call us to book or email us via our contact form.
Social Skills Training
We run “Secret Agent Society (SAS)” social skills training groups for children diagnosed with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you are interested in this, please feel free to call us on 0499 150 333 or complete a contact form.
NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) Applications for Special Provisions
We assist with applications for special provisions in exams, such as for the HSC, for students who have additional learning needs that impact their ability to complete exams. This is done to ensure students are able to complete exams on the same basis as their peers.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005) require NESA to ensure that students with a disability are able to access and respond to an examination (NESA, 2019).
Typically we are involved in providing assessment results for reading, writing, comprehension and administer approved tests such as, the YARC, CELF-5, WIAT-III, to support applications. Call us on 0499 150 333 to find out more about this service.
Workshops and In-services for Childcare Centres & Preschools.
Our Speech Pathologists are available to provide in-services and workshops about all aspects of communication and how it interacts with learning and development, e.g.social skills, early intervention, school readiness.
Note: Due to privacy and consent reasons, we are unable to provide specific advice or services for children without their parent’s / caregiver’s written consent.
Funding: Medicare, Private Health Funds and NDIS Funding.
A GP referral is not required to access Speech Pathology services, so please feel free to call us to book in on 0499 150 333.
Medicare: Our Speech Pathologists are registered with Medicare and you may be able to access rebates under the Chronic Disease Management Plan if provided by your GP. The current rebate (2020) per session is $53.80. The plan runs per calendar year and there are up to 5 rebates available per plan.
Note: There are specific criteria for access to this medicare rebate. Your GP will be able to tell you if your child is eligible.
There are other Medicare Rebates available through your child’s paediatrician.
Private Health: Most health funds provide rebates for Speech Pathology so check with your health fund to confirm your level of coverage.
NDIS FUNDING INFORMATION
We welcome children who have NDIS funding for Speech Pathology.
Know your rights – you have choice!
If your child has access to funding from the NDIS, you will sit down with a planner to help write goals for your child. You then decide what services your child can access to achieve those goals and meet your child’s needs. At every stage of the process you should be given a choice of service providers, without bias.
For Early Intervention (0 to 7 years of age), you still have the choice to seek therapy services with private providers. This may be your preferred option, depending on your child’s individual needs, particularly if they need a health professional with extensive experience and/or skills in that area.
The only time you must to seek services from NDIS registered providers is when you have decided to have the NDIA manage your child’s funding.
Remember, all NDIS participants can choose how to manage their funding. At the moment, you can have your child’s NDIS funds managed by:
- You i.e. Self Managed.
- NDIA managed.
- Plan Managed.
You can also change how to manage your child’s funding by contacting the NDIS.
Buzzwords Speech Pathology is able to provide services to children (birth to 18 years) who have NDIS funding provided they are Self-Managed or Plan Managed. This includes children who need to access early intervention (0-7 years).
Please see the NDIS Website for more details.
In addition, some children with specific conditions with permanent impairments will qualify for NDIS early intervention without additional assessments required, such as hearing impairment. This information is on the NDIS Website – link below.