Have you been told that your child needs to see a speech pathologist and are wondering what to do next? We have the answers to the most commonly asked questions about speech pathology, plus a link to speech pathologists in Brisbane that specialise in helping children.
What is the difference between a speech therapist and a speech pathologist?
These two terms refer to the same profession and are often used interchangeably. However, ‘speech therapy’ is becoming an outdated term, with ‘speech pathology’ now the preferred term.
What does a speech pathologist do?
A speech pathologist is a university-trained professional who can help people of all ages with problems relating to speech, writing, reading, signs, symbols and gestures. Speech pathologists also work with people who have difficulties swallowing food and drink. They can work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals and private practice.
How can speech pathology help my child?
Speech pathologists can help children with speech disorders or language delays. A speech disorder can stem from hearing impairment, cleft palate or for no obvious reason. Raising Children has published a helpful article about speech disorders, which outlines what is normal in a child’s developing speech, and when you should seek help.
A language delay is when children have difficulty learning words, building sentences and understanding what is said to them. Children develop at different rates, but the Raising Children Network has some guidelines for what your child should be able to achieve at various ages. If your child is not meeting these milestones, it is advised that you arrange a check-up with a speech pathologist.
How do I know if my child needs to see a speech pathologist?
There are many reasons why your child may need to seek help from a speech pathologist, including:
- Your child is not meeting their speech milestones for their age.
- Your child has a lisp, stutter or other speech or voice concern.
- You find it difficult to understand what your child is saying.
- Your child is having difficulty reading, spelling or comprehending text.
- Your child has a special need such as autism, which causes communication challenges.
- Your baby is having difficulty swallowing or eating.
What will my child do during their speech pathology appointment?
Usually, you and your child will attend an initial consultation/assessment where the speech pathologist will determine whether therapy is necessary. Therapy for younger children is usually play-based, with more structured therapy offered for older children. Often, children will be encouraged to practise what they’ve learnt at home and complete at home exercises.
For more information, visit the Speech Pathology Australia website to view fact sheets regarding different aspects of speech pathology.
To make an appointment for your child with a speech pathologist, click here to view a number of local pathologists listed in our Brisbane Kids Directory, including speech therapists that make home visits.