We will join you on your journey, no matter what it looks like, and provide you with the support, skills and understanding to help your child grow…
Many children will have difficulties expressing their needs, pronouncing certain words, understanding instructions or even chewing and swallowing food. A Growing Understanding Speech Pathology offers assessment, diagnosis and therapy to help children with a wide range of speech, language, literacy, fluency (stuttering) and feeding difficulties.
If you find yourself asking the following questions, our skilled speech pathologists can help you navigate your concern and provide you and your child with the skills to connect, communicate and grow.
Should my toddler be talking by now?
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 specialised support and therapy to help your child grow.
Click here for more information on the ‘warning signs’.
Why does my child have trouble pronouncing certain sounds in words?
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).
Why does my child have trouble listening to and following instructions?
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.
Can a speech pathologist help my child to read and write?
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.
How do I know if my child is stuttering?
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 school age children.
Do you work with children with Autism?
Because communication impairments are common in children diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), speech pathologists often play a key role in their early intervention treatment.
For children with autism, communication is a key component in their ability to form relationships and function in their world. Our speech pathologists are trained in the Hanen More Than Words™ Program for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and social language difficulties. This means we can work closely with you, your child, the preschool, school, and other professionals to improve your child’s social communication and interaction skills, play skills, imitation skills and enhance their quality of life.
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.
If you have any concerns about your child’s development, contact us to discover how we can help your child grow.