Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating Your Speech Pathology Journey

It is normal to have a lot of questions about your child; why is my child not talking yet, do they need speech therapy, how much will it cost, what does a speech pathologist do, what support is available, and the list goes on.

And as a parent you might feel like you need to have all the answers, but the truth is, you can’t expect to know everything.

That is why A Growing Understanding Speech Pathology is dedicated to helping you navigate your concerns, and find the answers to your many questions. We have compiled a list of our frequently asked questions to help you start your journey with the right information.

If there is anything that is not covered below, please contact us.

Typically, children begin to use their first words at around 12 months of age. By 2 years of age, it is expected that children will use approximately 100 words and start combining two words together ie. “Bye Mummy”.

Communication and language skills can develop at different rates so it can be hard to know if your child is behind. However, if your child does miss a language development milestone, they could be regarded as having a language delay. These delays could result in your child having trouble expressing their ideas and thoughts (expressive language) or understanding instructions and questions (receptive language).

If you have noticed that your child is not saying as many words as other children the same age, it could be tempting to take the advice of those around you and just ‘wait and see’ or think that they may ‘grow out of it’. But this can mean precious time is lost during their critical learning phase.

Early intervention is critically important when it comes to your child developing the communication skills necessary for future success in their academic and personal lives. Our Hanen certified speech pathologists are here to answer your questions. We possess the skills required to assess your child’s abilities and provide support and therapy to help your child grow.

Find more information on the ‘warning signs’ here.

By the time your child commences preschool, they will be starting to use much longer sentences. While this may present with some mispronunciations, their speech should be understood by people outside of the family about 75% of the time. By five years of age, anyone (including unfamiliar listeners) should be able to understand your child’s speech in conversation 95-100% of the time.

If you are concerned about your child’s speech development, we advise that you should first have their hearing checked by an audiologist. Hearing is an important part of learning how to say sounds correctly, and is a great place to start if you are concerned.

Our certified speech pathologists can also assess your child to see if the sounds they are using are appropriate for their age. In particular, we would recommend that you make contact with us if your child is hard to understand, if they are frustrated with attempts to communicate, if their speech appears very effortful, if they are using very few words, or if they are not using sounds at the start of words (e.g., saying “ish” for fish).

Some children have a difficulty with receptive language – the ability to understand information and follow instructions. Difficulties with receptive language is not necessarily associated with hearing. Children with receptive language difficulties can often hear quite well, but they have trouble understanding some words or have difficulty completing tasks as they become longer or more challenging.

Our speech pathologists can assist in determining if your child’s difficulties are a result of challenges with understanding language (receptive language), and provide you and your child with supports to help them to listen and follow instructions more easily.

Reading and writing are important skills to master, and children with a history of speech sound and language difficulties are at increased risk of reading and writing difficulties. Speech pathologists are able to assess and support children with reading, comprehension, vocabulary, spelling and writing.

Our speech pathologists can assess your child’s reading and writing abilities and determine if their skills are age appropriate or if your child requires assistance. We can work closely with your child’s teacher and learning support team to optimise their learning outcomes within the classroom.

Stuttering can affect children, adolescents and adults. Around 1% of the population experiences stuttering at any given time and as many as 5% across a lifetime. Stuttering usually starts in early childhood, often by the age of three. In most cases, the first sign of stuttering is the child repeating syllables such as “I…I…I…wanna…” or “Where…where…where is ….?” Stuttering may also change in type or frequency over time. It may decrease or even seem to go away for periods of time. Often, as stuttering develops, children begin to show signs of effort and struggle while speaking.

Early intervention from a speech pathologist is recommended if your child is showing signs of stuttering. Our speech pathologists can work with your child to reduce the impact of stuttering. We can implement the Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention which is a treatment developed specifically for stuttering in children younger than six. However, there is research to support use of this program with primary aged children as well.

Our speech pathologists are skilled in working with Autistic children and families, and helping them communicate and connect in a way that works for them. We take a neurodiversity-affirming approach and ensure all supports are responsive to individual needs.

If your child has little or no speech, we can also look at ways of introducing alternatives, such as signing or the use of technology that supports communication like Augmentative Assistive Communication (AAC).

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, contact us to discover how we can help your child grow.

Children develop at different rates, but speech pathologists can give professional advice on whether a child’s difficulties are expected for their age or if an assessment is warranted. Essentially, you may find speech pathology beneficial for your child if:

  • your child takes longer than average to learn new words or build sentences
  • you or others have difficulty understanding your child
  • your child has difficulty following instructions or understanding new information
  • you find yourself repeating or rephrasing instructions and information for your child
  • your child is becoming frustrated as he / she is finding it difficult to communicate
  • your child struggles to form sentences or tell stories
  • your child displays oral motor or feeding difficulties
  • your child has difficulty with speaking clearly, or has a stutter
  • your child is having vocal difficulties ie. speaks loudly, very softly or with a harsh or husky voice

We urge parents to seek early assessment, diagnosis and therapy for communication problems, particularly prior to school entry.

You don’t need a referral from a GP or other health care provider to see a speech pathologist. However, if you are wanting to see a speech pathologist working in private practice then your GP may be able to write a Chronic Disease Management Plan. This plan will provide you with access to up to 5 appointments, where a rebate of $52.95 can be applied.

If you have concerns about your child’s communication skills, an up-to-date hearing assessment is recommended before seeing a speech pathologist. An updated hearing assessment is also recommended if your child has a history of middle ear infections.

You can contact us by phone, email or use the contact page on this website. Our staff will collect information from you such as your child’s age, contact details, appointment preferences and what you are concerned about. Typically, an appointment time can be provided to you at that time of contact.

There are a number of funding solutions that may be available for your child. A basic outline is as follows, but please visit our Bookings and Fees page for more information , or download our FREE Speech Pathology Funding Guide.

Medicare – Allied Health Initiative for Chronic Disease Management Items – previously known as Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plans. A rebate of $55.10 is available for up to 5 appointments when a Chronic Disease Care Plan has been completed by a GP.

Children can access Medicare items under the Helping Children with Autism program provided they meet the requirements of each service and have not already accessed services under the Better Start for Children with a Disability initiative. A rebate of $77.10 is available for the following:

  • Up to four diagnostic / assessment services from a speech pathologist (item number 82005 – for a child under 13 years of age).
  • Up to 20 treatment services from a speech pathologist (item number 82020 – for a child under 15 years of age, providing a treatment and management plan is in place before their 13th birthday).

Private Health Funds – Speech Pathology services can be rebated if you have Ancillary cover with your private health fund.

Contact your health fund directly to determine the rebate amount and the maximum amount you can claim per person or family in a calendar year. You cannot claim through both Medicare and your Private Health Insurer for the same session.

A Growing Understanding Speech Pathology is committed to keeping costs low. That is why we take the time to talk with families and ensure we can meet your child’s needs and deliver a service that is appropriate for you and your budget. We can also help identify any assistance programs that you could access including The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Speech pathologists can work with children and adults to help them develop and grow their communication skills.

At A Growing Understanding Speech Pathology we work with children who have difficulty with speech, language, communication, reading, social skills and even swallowing.