Speech Pathology Services

Our Speech Pathologists here at Melbourne Wellbeing Group work with people of all ages to assess, diagnose and treat communication difficulties. Sessions with our Speech Pathologists are 50-minute sessions. This allows maximum time for intervention as well as working through any questions you may have.

For your convenience, our team of Speech Pathologists have put together a list of frequently asked questions (below) on what to look for if your child needs help, or if you’re an adult who needs support with speech. There is also some general information on assessment and on expectations of treatment.

To make an appointment with our team please complete our online form here. Alternatively, you can give us a call on (03) 9882-8874.

Speech Pathologists can support people in the following areas:

  • Speech delays and disorders: Articulation and producing speech sounds

  • Expressive and receptive language: Using and understanding language to participate in exchanging information, ideas and needs

  • Augmentative and alternative communication: Using pictures, communication boards and/or assistive devices to support communication

  • Fluency: Controlling and reducing stuttering

  • Feeding and swallowing: Support infants, children and adults who have difficulty eating, drinking, and participating in mealtimes

  • Pre-literacy and literacy skills: Reading, writing, and spelling skills

  • Voice: Managing loudness, pitch, and quality of voice

  • Cognitive-communication disorders: Organising thoughts, planning, attention, memory and problem solving

  • Social communication disorders: Communicating for social purposes, adapting communication according to social context, and following social communication rules 

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Speech therapy for children & teens

What are the red flags I should look out for in my child’s communication development?

It is advised to make an appointment with a speech pathologist if:

  • You or others have difficulty understanding your child’s speech

  • Your child has difficulty following instructions or understanding new information

  • You often have to repeat/rephrase information or instructions for your child

  • Your child’s vocabulary and/or ability to form sentences and tell stories seems less developed than other children of the same age

  • Your child repeats sounds and words over and over, or makes prolonged sounds within words (stuttering)

  • Your child speaks very loudly, very softly, or with a harsh or husky voice and these characteristics are of concern to you or your child

Why does my child have a communication delay?

There are several reasons that may explain why a child has communication difficulties. Evidence suggests that children with a family history of speech, language and literacy difficulties are more likely to present with similar difficulties themselves. Other children may present with communication impairments linked to a range of developmental diagnosis, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, developmental delay, and intellectual disabilities. However, some children may present with communication difficulties with no underlying family history or developmental disorders. The causes of communication delays and disorders are often unknown.

My child is already receiving speech therapy in school. Why should we seek private speech therapy?

School-based speech therapy is usually targeted towards concerns which have an educational impact on your child’s school performance. Private speech therapy allows you to be more involved in your child’s treatment, giving you the option to target difficulties which are of most concern to you and your child. Furthermore, as schools typically have one or two speech pathologists per school, your child may not be receiving speech therapy as often as required in a school setting. Private speech clinics can provide the optimal frequency of speech therapy for your child to reach his/her communication potential.

Will learning two languages confuse my child and cause my child to have trouble communicating?

A typically-developing child should not have any trouble learning two languages simultaneously (learning both languages at the same time) or sequentially (mastering one language before learning the next). Research has shown that typically-developing bilingual children may start out with fewer words in each language and may begin speaking slightly later than monolingual children but should still be within the normal range for speech and language development. 

How do speech pathologists help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. As social skills and communication are areas in which children with ASD have difficulty, speech pathologists play a key role in your child’s treatment to ensure children with ASD are able to form meaningful relationships and participate in all aspects of life. 

Speech pathologists may help children with ASD to express their wants and needs, understand what is being said to them, and learn social skills and interact effectively with peers. Speech pathologists also work with nonverbal children, and will assist in introducing alternative methods of communication, such as using pictures or electronic devices, to enable children to express themselves. Speech pathologists also work with children with feeding problems. Children with ASD may not like the way foods look, taste, feel, or smell. Speech pathologists can assist in helping your child accept new foods. 

How much speech home practice will my child have to complete outside of the clinic?

Speech pathology home practice is highly encouraged during the treatment period. The amount of home practice given will vary from person to person due to but not limited to the following factors:

  • The type of communication difficulty

  • Severity of the condition, and how long it has been present for

  • Type and intensity of therapy

  • Co-existing health conditions

  • Personality and motivation

During the session, we will discuss the allocation of home practice and alter the amount and intensity of home practice depending on the feasibility of completing home practice and its impact on your and your child’s daily life.

To make an appointment for your child or teen with one of our team - fill in the form here, or give us a call on (03) 9882-8874.

 
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speech therapy for adults

Do I need speech therapy?

Some of our adult clients are referred to us by other health professionals due to communication concerns which are secondary to their health conditions. Such conditions can include, but are not limited to, acquired brain injuries (e.g. Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury), progressive neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s disease) and lifelong developmental disorders (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder). 

Other adult clients decide to seek our services as a result of communication concerns which are affecting their daily lives. This can include voice disorders, language deficits, speech deficits and cognitive difficulties.

If you have a concern regarding your communication or have been referred by other health professionals to see a speech pathologist, please contact our clinic at (03) 9882-8874 or complete our online appointment form.

What are the red flags I should look out for before seeking speech pathology services?

It is advised to make an appointment with a speech pathologist if you are experiencing:

Communication

  • Discomfort in your voice when speaking (e.g. unexplained hoarse voice, reduced loudness, reduced pitch range)

  • Reduced verbal ability (e.g. difficulty finding the right words/ using appropriate words in conversations)

  • Difficulty retaining and understanding instructions

  • Reduced clarity in speech and articulatory skills (e.g. others find it hard to understand your speech)

  • Reduce control of speech rate and/or air flow when speaking

  • Problems with executive cognitive functions such as concentrating, memory, reasoning, planning, learning, self-monitoring and problem-solving

Swallowing/Feeding

  • Drooling and spillage of food out of mouth during chewing

  • Prolonged chewing of foods

  • Frequent coughing or choking on foods or liquids

  • Discomfort or pain when swallowing foods or liquids

  • Persistent, recurring chest infections or pneumonia

To make an appointment with one of our team fill in the online form here, or give us a call on (03) 9882-8874.

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other frequently asked questions about speech therapy

Is there a difference between speech, language and communication?

Speech, language and communication sound similar, but they have unique meanings.

Speech: Speech refers to talking;using our tongue, lips, jaw and vocal tract to produce the recognizable sounds we use to talk. Also referred to as ‘articulation’ or ‘intelligibility’, speech describes how accurately children produce speech sounds. Someone with a speech difficulty has trouble producing specific sounds, patterns of words, or intelligibility.

Language: Language refers to the words we use and how we use them to convey and understand information. Language includes knowing what words mean, making new words (e.g. ‘friend’, ‘friendly’, and ‘unfriendly’ have different meanings), and how to put words together to make sentences and stories.

Communication: Both speech and language are part of a larger process called communication. Communication is the exchange of information, ideas and needs between two or more people. These might be conveyed in a number of different ways, such as speaking, writing, gesture, and facial expression.

How are Speech Pathologists different from Psychologists?

Psychologists and speech pathologists are both allied health professionals. However, while psychologists help clients with psychological distress and mental illnesses, speech pathologists work with people who have difficulty communicating or have swallowing difficulties. Services provided by psychologists and speech pathologists can complement each other due to the complex relationship between mental health and communication. You may opt to see both a psychologist and a speech pathologist if you or your health professional believe that you may be struggling with inter-related mental health and communication issues.

What does a speech therapy session involve? 

Therapy is offered as a 50-minute appointment. During appointments, there is a discussion and review of progress with previously-set goals and activities. New targets may also be introduced and practised. This can involve a range of table-based or formal tasks as well as less structured activities. For children, parents are encouraged to be involved in the therapy sessions. This gives parents an opportunity to observe their child’s skill set and progress, and help translate their child’s new skills to outside the clinic.

At the end of each appointment, goals and activities may be provided for practice at home and/or in other settings such as preschool, school, work or socially. This allows the new skills to be further developed and transferred into different environments. 

How many speech therapy sessions will I need?

The number of sessions required varies across individuals, and the length of therapy is determined by a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The type of communication/swallowing difficulty

  • Severity of the condition, and how long it has been present for

  • Type and intensity of therapy

  • Co-existing health conditions

  • Personality and motivation

Although we endeavour to set functional goals that are achievable within a reasonable amount of time, our focus is on developing communication skills effectively to ensure these endure and can be used in everyday communication environments and interactions.

Do I need a referral to see a speech pathologist?

No, you do not require a referral to see a speech pathologist. However, your health professional may recommend you see a speech pathologist if they believe you may benefit from our services. 

To make an appointment with one of our team give us a call on (03) 9882-8874 or fill in the online form here.