How To Know When Your Child Should See A Speech Therapist

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Wondering whether your child should see a Speech Pathologist? Confused about what a Speech Pathologist does? And what’s the difference between a Speech Pathologist and a Speech Therapist, anyway?

Pop has got you covered!

Keep reading to learn all about how to find a Speech Pathologist, how much Speech Pathology costs, and signs that your child may need to see a Speech Pathologist.

Firstly, What Are Speech Pathologists?

Speech Pathologists are also known as Speech Therapists (yep, they’re exactly the same thing!). Here at Pop, we call ourselves Speechies!

Speech Pathologists specialise in working with people who have difficulties with speech, language, voice, fluency, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing food or drinking safely.

Assessment, diagnoses, intervention management and therapy are provided by Speech Pathologists to help clients reach their full potential.

A degree in Speech Pathology is required to work in the profession and many Speechies are accredited with Speech Pathology Australia (SPA).

A referral from a doctor to see a Speech Therapist is not required, however, Medicare can cover some of the fees associated with your appointments if you’re able to obtain a Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDMP) written by your GP.

NDIS Speech therapy

What Do Speech Pathologists Help With?

  • Speech sounds including articulation or phonological disorders, apraxia of speech, dysarthria.
  • Language including language delays, aphasia.
  • Literacy difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing.
  • Social communication or pragmatic difficulties.
  • Voice or how our voices sound.
  • Fluency also known as stuttering.
  • Cognitive communication including difficulties with memory, paying attention, problem-solving, organisation, and other thinking skills.
  • Feeding and swallowing difficulties (a condition called dysphagia).
Early Intervention

Should My Child See A Speech Pathologist?

During the first few years of a child’s life, a vast majority of their milestones are being developed. These skills are known to be established within an expected age range.

For example, babies typically start crawling between 6 and 12 months, with many of them walking by 15 months.

Similarly, milestones can also apply to communication development. This is a critical time for the development of language.

See below for some signs your child should see a Speech Pathologist:
    • Unclear speech or difficulty understanding what they are saying. By 3 years of age, a child should be able to be understood for 75% of the time, and nearly 100% by 4 years of age.
    • Using only a few sounds to pronounce all words by 18 months of age.
    • Understanding less than 50 words and difficulties understanding simple instructions such as “put your shoes on” by 18 months of age. 
    • Using less than 20 words at 18 months and less than 50 words by age 2.
    • Difficulty with talking frequently and using language socially. 

    • If any of the above raises a red flag for your child, it’s worth booking in for a Free Consultation with one of our experienced Speech Therapists to discuss your concerns and see whether ongoing speech therapy would be beneficial.
  • Speech therapy for schools

    How To Find A Great Speech Pathologist

    There are a few ways to find a great Speech Therapist for yourself or your child:
    • Ask your GP. This is a great place to start and your GP may also be able to assist with helping you obtain additional funding or rebates for your Speech Therapy sessions.
    • Use the SPA website to find a certified practising member of Speech Pathology Australia.
    • If you’re currently seeing an allied health professional such as an Occupational Therapist or Psychologist, they may be able to provide recommendations for Speech Therapists near you.
    • Contact your local hospital’s allied health department.
    • Whether you live in a rural area or in a larger city, you can access Pop’s Speech Therapy services online at the click of a button! Contact us today to get started.
    Pop Speech Pathology

    How Much Does It Cost To See A Speech Pathologist?

    Speech Pathology costs can vary between clients depending on their circumstances, including the eligibility for additional funding or rebates.

    • Have a discussion with the speech pathologist or practice/health care setting before you start. Costs may differ from place to place.
    • People with a disability may be able to access funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 
    • Private insurance may cover a portion of the costs.
    • Medicare may cover a part of the costs if you’re eligible for a referral from your GP.
    Sitting at a table with a laptop, a child is putting hand to face like a telephone with adult looking at them.

    How To Know When Your Child Should See A Speech Therapist: Our Final Thoughts

    We hope this blog post helped you determine whether your child should see a Speech Pathologist! For more information about Speech Pathology, including how our services work via telehealth, book your no obligation Free Consult with one of our Speechies today.

    References for information included in this blog post can be found here, here & here.

    More To Explore

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