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What is a Speech Pathologist?

Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speech, language, fluency and voice. They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language.  People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drink safely can also be helped by speech pathologists. Speech pathologists are university trained and have obtained a bachelor or masters degree in speech pathology.(Source: Speech Pathology Australia)
  • Alison Downey’s speech pathology practice focuses on providing speech pathology for children.   Alison uses her skills to diagnose each child’s communication difficulties and to develop an individual treatment plan.
  • Diagnosis is based on a comprehensive assessment using assessment tools and a detailed interview with the child’s family.  The child’s specific problem is identified and a treatment plan is developed that best suits the child’s needs, interests and family circumstances.
Speech pathologists work in different settings including; clinics, preschools and day care centres and schools. Speech pathologists work with many different children with lots of different communication challenges.  Children attend speech therapy for a variety of reasons that may include;
  • A child who is not understanding and comprehending what is said to him/her at school, preschool or school. The child maybe experiencing difficulty following everyday routines and directions, answering questions and participating in conversation.
  • A child struggles to put their thoughts into words and sentences. A child may not be able to recall the word for the object, action, feeling that they need in order to communicate.  Or the child might use a short sentence or a sentence in which words are missed or in not in the correct order.
  • When other people do not understand what the child is saying.
  • A child who becomes easily frustrated during everyday activities as they are struggling to understand and communicate.
  • When a child is struggling at school and is not achieving literacy outcomes.
  • A child who is mispronouncing words.
  • A child who struggles in social situations. A child who is unsure of how to interact with others and to play with other children and make friends.
  • A young child who has not started talking or is using very few words.