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About Us

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Research has shown that Speech Therapy can:


  •    Improve reading outcomes

  •    Improve educational outcomes

  •    Improve school retention

  •    Improve behaviour

  •    Improve self-esteem

  •    Improve socialisation


Happy Child

General questions:


  • Do I need a referral from my doctor to see a Speech Therapist?
  • How long do I have to keep on seeing my Speech Therapist?
  • Speech Therapy is very expensive. Is it really worth the money?
Do I need a referral from my doctor to see a Speech Therapist?

No, you do not need a referral from anyone.  You can just phone and make an appointment.

It is helpful for us to get information from other professionals working with you. We may ask your permission to phone your doctor or other therapists working with you; or you may bring us reports from these professionals.

If you intend to claim payment for your therapy from NDIA, Workcover, Betterstart, or HCWA; or from a Medicare approved plan from your GP, we do need a written referral.

How long do I have to keep on seeing my Speech Therapist?

The length of time you need to see a Speech Therapist really depends on the reason you are attending therapy.  Some communication or swallowing difficulties only involve a few visits to the Speech Therapists, with some follow-up sessions to monitor progress.

The majority of our clients, particularly children with communication difficulties, attend therapy for several years.  Communication doesn’t involve just one goal to be achieved.  It’s not like toilet-training.  Once a person is toilet-trained, they have that skill for life. With communication development, the goal-posts are constantly shifting.

We can work on a child’s oral communication skills (talking) in the preschool years, but we can’t start working on written language until he or she gets to school.

We can work on basic grammar and vocabulary in the preschool years and early primary years, but we can’t really start working on high level thinking tasks and abstract language until a child is older.  Throughout school, apprenticeships, TAFE, and university the communication demands keep on changing.  It is the job of the Speech Therapist to help a client manage all of these changing demands.

Some of our clients are now in their 20s and have been coming since they were 3 years old.  We are now helping them manage job interviews!

Speech Therapy is very expensive. Is it really worth the money?

Speech Therapy can seem expensive. However, consider that you are paying for the expertise of someone with at least a 4-year degree.  In our practice, the therapists have between 4 and 12 years of tertiary qualifications.  You are paying for specialised knowledge.  You are also paying for specialised resources – standardised tests, computer equipment, etc.

Most importantly,  you need to weigh up the money spent on Speech Therapy now, compared to your child’s future income and psychological well-being. Speech Therapy can help to minimise behaviour and self-esteem issues. Speech Therapy can maximise your child’s educational potential, thus improving their earning potential.


Questions about children in therapy:


  • When is it time to see a Speech Therapist?
  • My child is only little. Surely if we just wait, he will catch up to the other children and be fine?
  • How early should my child see a Speech Therapist?
  • Why does a child need to see a Speech Therapist and what are the benefits of speech therapy?
  • “I think children are pushed too much today. Music, ballet, kindergym, swimming, Speech Therapy; I think children should just have a chance to be kids.“
  • My child seems to be really smart. Why would he need speech therapy?
  • “My child is lazy. He can speak properly if he wants to.“
  • My child’s behaviour is very difficult to manage. What has this got to do with speech therapy?
  • What has speech development got to do with reading?
  • Does it really matter if my child has a speech or language difficulty?
  • Can Speech Therapy make a difference?
  • We speak two languages at home. Will that stop my child developing good speech and language?
  • Why did the Speech Therapist tell us to stop our two-year-old having a dummy and a bottle?
  • My child is a very fussy eater. What has this got to do with speech therapy?
  • Is my child autistic?
  • “I don’t want my child ‘labelled’ as having a problem just because he isn’t fast at developing speech and language.“
  • The Speech Therapist said that my child can’t hear the syllables in words and he can’t hear the sounds on the ends of words. Does that mean he’s deaf?
  • Should I have my child’s hearing checked?
When is it time to see a Speech Therapist?

People tell me to wait – he’ll be fine, the penny will drop, it will click, he’s just a baby, he doesn’t need to have therapy etc etc.

These pieces of advice are the ones we hear about most often and we’re not sure why. Anyone who knows anything about children’s neurological development, speech and language development knows that the sooner a therapist assesses a child and provides advice, the better.

People have a natural desire to reassure others that everything is okay and parents are keen to be reassured about their children. The problem is that it’s not good advice. In all cases, the sooner a child gets help the better off they’ll be. Also, in most cases, the earlier a child is seen, the less therapy they’ll need in the long term.

My child is only little. Surely if we just wait, he will catch up to the other children and be fine?

People used to think that this was true. But now, there’s a ton of excellent research that shows us waiting is never the way to go. Even a small delay at an early age can lead to long-term problems with speech, reading, writing, maths and social skills. It can also lead to lower self-esteem or behaviour problems.

There really is no research that recommends waiting to see how children go. The research shows us that, children who are left without getting the help they need typically fall further behind. Hoping that a child will ‘catch up’ of his own accord is not a good idea.

How early should my child see a Speech Therapist?

The earlier the better. The earlier the better. The earlier the better.

At Columbia University in New York City in 1984 a program was started where parents brought in 6-week-old babies who were at risk for speech and language problems – so that the parents could learn as early as possible how to develop their children’s communication skills. By 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months, a child is well on his way to developing his communication skills. We can assess a child at any age and provide advice about what steps are needed to develop communication skills.

Why does a child need to see a Speech Therapist and what are the benefits of speech therapy?

In our daily life, we all meet adults who have speech that is unclear, who are illiterate, who stutter, who can’t express themselves well or who dropped out of school because of learning disabilities. We also meet adults with poor social skills or who are unemployed because they lack interview or literacy skills etc.

The goal of speech therapy is to help the children of today to avoid all of those outcomes later on. More than sixty percent of all jobs today require some level of higher study. We want to make sure that the children we work with are ready for the challenges of their teenage and adult years.

“I think children are pushed too much today. Music, ballet, kindergym, swimming, Speech Therapy; I think children should just have a chance to be kids.“

To start with, speech therapy should never, never be on this list – although we often do hear parents ‘lumping it in’ with their child’s ‘extra-curricular’ activities. Speech therapy is only for the 10-15% of children who have a measurable difficulty with speech and language development. It is an allied health area in which the therapist works with the child and the child’s parents to maximise the development of the child’s brain / neurological pathways.

The aim is to give children the opportunity to be equal to their peers whenever possible. Speech therapy develops a child’s ability to communicate with the world. Speech and language are basic skills – they are not enhancement skills. Whether parents decide to take their children to other classes etc. is a matter of personal choice. But it is terribly important that parents recognise what are basic skills and what are enhancement skills. Speech therapy is a major health and education area, which is why public hospitals and education departments employ speech pathologists.

My child seems to be really smart. Why would he need speech therapy?

High intelligence is no barrier to speech and language difficulties – or to learning disabilities. Most children who go to speech therapy have normal or high intelligence. However, it can work the other way. If a child has slow developing language skills and doesn’t get the help he needs, it can mean that he will end up ‘less smart’ in the long run.

This is one of the major, major reasons why we urge early intervention for all children who are slow to develop good speech and language skills. Intelligence develops along with language so, if a child doesn’t have adequate language skills, his intelligence may also be limited.

“My child is lazy. He can speak properly if he wants to.“

Very few children can fake a speech problem.  Children who find it hard to develop speech often give the appearance of being lazy but that is never the case. Children’s speech problems are never the result of laziness. They are doing the best they can. Just because a child can say a perfect ‘ch’ sound when you ask him to, doesn’t mean that he has mastered that same sound in the word ‘chicken’. It is terribly important that parents know that their child is doing the best he can. Give him tons of praise. It’s not easy being a child with unclear speech.

My child’s behaviour is very difficult to manage. What has this got to do with speech therapy?

Think about how you try to get your child to behave well. You use communication skills – verbal and non-verbal. You may frown or raise your voice – but some kids don’t understand that this means they have done something wrong.  You may tell a child what you expect him or her to do, and what the consequences of bad behaviour will be – but perhaps the child doesn’t understand the concept of ‘if….then’.  If your child has a communication difficulty, he will often have difficult behaviour because he just doesn’t ‘get’ what you’re on about. It would be like someone trying to read semaphore signals or morse code with no training. To discipline children with speech and language difficulties you need to use special skills and you need to have tons and tons of patience. Your Speech Therapist can take you through a program with your child. Your child needs to have settled behaviour before he can learn speech and language well.

What has speech development got to do with reading?

Reading is built on speech skills. Children who have poor speech and language skills are more likely to have reading problems. One of the main reasons we aim for early intervention is to prevent reading problems as much as possible.

Does it really matter if my child has a speech or language difficulty?

Absolutely! Communication is the basis for all relationships. Communication is crucial for learning. The majority of classroom learning (from pre-kindy onwards) is language-based. Preschoolers are taught through stories, songs and rhymes, and are expected to follow instructions. At school, reading and writing are all about language – it is about understanding words and sentences that are written down, and being able to communicate your own thoughts in writing. Research has shown that if a child has not overcome a speech or language difficulty by the time they enter school, they are likely to have life-long difficulties with language. This will impact on how they learn to read and write; how they are able to use reading to learn new information; and how they communicate their ideas.

In late primary and high school, the child with language difficulties will struggle to understand the teacher’s explanations; will struggle to do independent reading to find information; will struggle to express ideas in spoken or written form; and will struggle with social interactions. As a result, children with language problems often have difficulties with self-esteem. Some children develop behaviour issues.

In the long-term, language difficulties will affect a child’s educational outcome i.e. how successfully they complete their schooling and the further training and education for which they are eligible. Ultimately, language difficulties affect their employment prospects.

Can Speech Therapy make a difference?

Definitely!  There is plenty of research to show that Speech Therapy can make a huge difference in children’s lives.  When therapy starts early enough, many of the effects of communication difficulties can be reduced.

We speak two languages at home. Will that stop my child developing good speech and language?

The general rule is that if your child’s speech and language is developing well then, by all means, push on with two languages. There are many advantages in terms of language and thinking skills to being bilingual. However, if your child is not developing speech and language well, then concentrate on English (if that is the language your child will be educated in). This is extremely tricky when you have grandparents providing a variety of languages and dialects. Just do your best to see that your child hears lots of English as much as possible.  Use audio books, nursery rhyme CDs, and good quality story DVDs to expose your child to good English.

Why did the Speech Therapist tell us to stop our two-year-old having a dummy and a bottle?

When a child sucks on a dummy or a bottle, he or she does it with the forward tongue thrusting motion of an infant. If a child has delayed speech or language development, it seems to help their oral sensory and motor development [and consequently, their speech development] if they stop the infant sucking. Dummies and bottles are usually just a habit that is easy to break if you know how. Please talk to your Speech Therapist if you have a child over 2 years with a dummy or bottle.

My child is a very fussy eater. What has this got to do with speech therapy?

We use the same muscles to talk that we use to eat. Children learn to talk more easily if they’re used to eating a big range of tastes and textures. Get their little muscles moving and it will help their speech. Don’t let meal times become battles. Give your child a choice of 3-4 healthy things on a plate and leave it at that. If he’s hungry, he’ll eat. No sweet or fatty snacks between meals, no pleading with your child to eat and no discussion around your child about his ‘fussy eating’.

Is my child autistic?

Some of the children Speech Therapists work with are autistic and this is often what parents fear when their children are slow to develop communication skills. However, children who are slow to develop their communication skills do not necessarily have autism. Autism refers to a very specific group of symptoms. Even if your child is autistic, you can still be very optimistic. Start early, do lots of therapy and we see excellent results.

“I don’t want my child ‘labelled’ as having a problem just because he isn’t fast at developing speech and language.“

This is kind of an old fashioned and unhelpful idea. Again, as mentioned before, children either have difficulty with speech and language development or they don’t. No child is ever ‘labelled’. By saying that a child has a speech or language delay or disorder it means that a child is able to get the help they need. Given enough help early on, many children go on to flourish without having ongoing problems or ongoing help. The more help a child has in the early years, the less likely they are to ever be labelled.

The Speech Therapist said that my child can’t hear the syllables in words and he can’t hear the sounds on the ends of words. Does that mean he’s deaf?

No. It means that your child has a phonological processing disorder. It means that your child can’t easily sort out all the individual sounds in words and can’t store new words easily. A phonological processing disorder can seriously interfere with language and literacy learning.  If a child can’t perceive sounds in words, it is hard to learn new words.  It is also hard to perceive word endings, like plurals and verb endings.  It is especially hard to learn to break words into sounds for spelling, or blending sounds together for reading.

Should I have my child’s hearing checked?

Absolutely. Just to be on the safe side, always have your child’s hearing checked regularly.


Questions about adults in therapy:


  • My voice sounds hoarse when I talk too much. Can a Speech Therapist do anything about it?
  • My 90-year old mother is in a nursing home. She has recently had a stroke and is struggling to talk. Is she too old for therapy?
  • Sometimes I struggle to swallow my tablets. I don’t enjoy having meals with other people, because I eat so slowly and sometimes have trouble swallowing. Can anything be done about it?
My voice sounds hoarse when I talk too much. Can a Speech Therapist do anything about it?

Definitely!  Speech Therapists work closely with ENTs (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists) to treat voice problems.  Some voice problems are caused by using your voice incorrectly, also known as ‘vocal misuse’.  Although an ENT can treat the physical problems, such as nodules that form because of vocal misuse, the best option is to change the way you use your voice, so that the problem does not return.  A Speech Therapist can advise you how to use your voice differently, and  how to manage your environment to protect your voice.

My 90-year old mother is in a nursing home. She has recently had a stroke and is struggling to talk. Is she too old for therapy?

Therapists work with people, not with ages!  Our philosophy is that no-one is too young or too old for therapy.  Some of our clients are in their 90s and are improving their communication with regular therapy.  Communication is such a vital part of who we are and how we relate to the world.  We believe it is crucial to help someone maintain relationships with people around them, to communicate their needs and feelings, and to have a measure of independence for as long as possible.

Sometimes I struggle to swallow my tablets. I don’t enjoy having meals with other people, because I eat so slowly and sometimes have trouble swallowing. Can anything be done about it?

Swallowing difficulties (known as dysphagia) is one of the areas where Speech Therapists can make a difference.  After a thorough assessment, your Speech Therapist can advise you about changes to your diet, or techniques to manage your swallowing better.

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