Speech Pathology

Speech, language and communication skills are fundamental to a child's development. Our experienced Speech Pathologists are based in Newcastle. We work together with families to guide and support the development of communication skills, so that your child may thrive and reach their full potential. We also offer our speech pathology online services through telehealth and private online video session across Newcastle and beyond.

Speech Pathology2020-09-22T14:24:57+10:00

How can we help?

Early identification and intervention of communication concerns and difficulties is crucial in setting children up to learn effectively, build positive relationships and thrive as they grow up. Beam Health’s Speech Pathologists provide a holistic approach and work collaboratively with children, their families and relevant health and educational professionals to enhance the development and growth of appropriate speech, language and communication skills. We support children and families through screening, assessment and intervention at our clinic, in the home or at school. We also proactively support and educate parents, children and professionals through a number of workshops and group programs. We also currently offering online speech pathology services through teleheath & private video sessions. NDIS and Medicare funding may be available.

We can help in the following areas:

Articulation is the way in which we produce speech sounds using our tongue, lips, teeth, jaw and vocal folds. Children learn to produce speech sounds as they grow, and different sounds are expected to develop at different ages. It is normal for young children to make speech errors as their language develops; however if they are continuing to make mistakes with a particular sound or group of sounds past the expected age, then it is likely that they have a speech sound delay.

Speech sound delays may include articulation errors (difficulties with making the particular sound) or phonological process errors (difficulties with sound patterns). Speech sound delays may be due to a number of factors including hearing, a history of ear infections, family history or a child may have incorrectly learnt the rules of speech sound production or how to produce a particular sound. If your child is difficult to understand whilst other children their age are speaking clearly, they may have a speech sound delay.

If you have any concerns, we can help by assessing your child to identify the cause, and plan intervention with your child and family. Intervention may include regular appointments and activities for you to do with your child at home. With appropriate speech therapy, many children with articulation or phonological concerns experience significant improvement in their speech.

Language refers to the way in which we understand and use words to share ideas, feelings, desires, thoughts and information.  Language is made up of several components including:

*The meaning of words
*The inclusion of grammar to create meaning
*How we join words together to create sentences
*How we use and select language to suit a situation

Children can experience difficulties in one or more area of communication, such as receptive or expressive language, speech sounds and social communication.

Receptive language is a child’s ability to understand and process spoken or written language. Children develop their receptive language skills as they grow older. Signs that a child may be experiencing difficulties with their receptive language vary with age, but may include:

*Difficulties with following directions

*Difficulties with answering questions

*Difficulties with understanding long or complex sentences.

*Difficulties with the meaning of words and understanding figurative language such as similes, metaphors, humour and sarcasm

*Repeating back what is said to them

*They may appear to ignore or not listen to you

*They may not keep up with classmates, either with school-work or socially

*They may have behavioural problems, be acting up in class or experience frustration.

*They may be easily distracted or drift off when listening to speech or stories.

*They may appear to be forgetful. For example, they only complete part of an instruction or remember part of a shopping list.

Expressive language is a child’s ability to express themselves and share meaning, generally through speaking or writing. It can also include alternative forms of communication such as signing, alternative and augmentative (AAC) communication in the form of communication supports/aids. As children grow, they learn to join words to create sentences, using correct word order, vocabulary and grammar. It is different to speech sound difficulties, as expressive language is how your child shares meaning and expresses themselves, not the way in which they pronounce sounds or words.

Signs that a child may be experiencing difficulties with their expressive language vary with age, but may include:

*Poor sentence or grammatical structure

*Limited content in their speech

*Limited vocabulary

*Confused meaning and grammar

*They generally use short, simple sentences.

*Difficulties with expressing their message and coming to the point

*Difficulties with starting or participating in conversations.

*Difficulties with recalling or retelling information.

*Difficulties with completing oral and written narratives and/or assignments.

*They may have trouble finding the right words

*Unfamiliar people find it difficult to understand them

If you have any concerns, we can help by assessing your child to identify if they are experiencing difficulties with their receptive and/or expressive language. Our private online video sessions is also an easy way to support your child during COVID-19 phase. A formal language assessment identifies specific areas of development and strengths that your child may have, so that intervention may be planned with your child and family. Some children benefit from one-to-one therapy to develop and expand specific language skills, and sessions may be provided at our clinic, in the home or at school. School-based language intervention is useful to help your child develop and use skills and strategies in their learning environment, so that participation and engagement may be maximised.

Literacy is your ability to read, write and spell. You start to learn language as a baby. You learn how to say sounds and put them together to make words. You learn to use words to tell people what you think and how you feel. These early speech and language skills help you learn to read, write and spell. Reading is the ability to understand meaning from written words, and spelling is the ability to write letters to create words that express meaning.

Difficulties with reading, writing and spelling can impact your child’s experience at school, their learning, participation, academic success, self-esteem and confidence. Some signs that a child may be experiencing difficulties with their reading, writing and spelling include:

*Mispronunciation of letters or words

*Confuses or has difficulty distinguishing similar sounds

*Not understanding or remembering what they have read

*Guessing a word based on its shape or the first letter

*Skipping words when reading.

*Forgetting how to spell familiar words

*They find writing to be slow and tiring

*They dislike reading and writing, and may try to avoid it.

We support children who experience difficulties with reading, writing and spelling, with assessment and intervention to support the development of literacy skills. We are also able to work with your child’s teacher to make it easier for them to learn in school. Unfortunately reading difficulties, do not tend to go away; children need to be taught skills and strategies so that they can successfully decode and understand information they are reading. We also offer telehealth psychology and online service to help make it easier for those who are unable to visit our psychologist’s consulting rooms in person.

Reading, writing and spelling can be hard, but we are available to help.

Functional communication refers to how an individual expresses their needs, wants, feelings and preferences, in a way that others can understand. Some of these messages may include “I want that”, “I am hurt”, “I need to use the bathroom” or “No, I don’t want to”.

For most children, functional communication begins to emerge in the first year of life with gestures, followed by spoken words and later, simple sentences. However, for children with speech and language delays and/or additional needs, this may happen much later. Children with significant language impairments may be developing their functional communication when they are older, in a way that can be understood by a range of communication partners. Functional communication varies in its expression and may include gestures, verbalisations, signs, pictures, words, communication devices and so forth. These communication supports are generally referred to as Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) aids. Teaching functional communication skills is essential so that an individual can meet their basics needs and wants. When children and adults can functionally communicate, they are ready to learn choice making and may increase their independence and autonomy.

At Beam Health, we recognise that all children are individuals and that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not result in successful functional communication, where one’s needs are met. Our Speech Pathologists work closely with families and your child to develop a profile of their communication needs, strengths and preferences, so that an individualised, multi-modal communication system may be developed. We also collaborate with your child’s network to meaningfully and consistently support the teaching and use of functional communication within routines and across environments. Our Psychologists offer a professional and confidential telehealth service, using technology that enables you to access services wherever your location in Australia.

Social communication is the use of language in social contexts. It includes social interaction, social understanding, language processing and the rules that we follow when we talk, known as pragmatics. There are rules about when and how you should talk to people. For example, we learn how to let someone know when we want to change the topic, we know how to talk to our friends versus our teachers, and we use facial expressions or gestures to share how we feel. Knowing and using these rules makes it easier to communicate.

Social communication includes three major skills:

*Using language for different reasons (e.g. requesting… “I want a cookie please”)

*Adjusting language for the listener or situation (e.g. talking differently in a classroom than on a playground)

*Following rules for conversations and storytelling (e.g. taking turns).

Children naturally break some of these social communication rules as they learn and develop their language and communication skills. However, some children can have difficulty identifying and understanding these rules, resulting in them finding it hard to talk to others and make friends. Social communication difficulties may occur in combination with some other areas, such as speech, language and/or learning difficulties.

We help children with social communication problems. We can screen or assess your child’s speech and language skills and help your child learn how to use language with different people and in different situations.

If you have any concerns, we can help by screening or assessing your child’s speech and language skills, and support them to learn how to use effectively use language with different people, to suit different purposes and situations. We provide intervention in the clinic, at home or at your child’s school so that they may learn and practice skills and strategies in their everyday environments. We also run social skills groups where children can meaningful and effectively develop their social communication skills, with their same-age peers.

Get in touch

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Speech Pathologist do?2020-08-28T14:30:40+10:00

A speech pathologist helps with developing a child’s speech, language and communication skills. Our Speech Pathologists can help with:

  • · Articulation (speech)
  • · Language (understanding and expression)
  • · Social Skills (play skills, turn taking, making friends, developing eye contact, conversation skills)
  • · Play- move this to social skills
  • · Stuttering
  • · Voice problems
  • · Literacy (reading, writing, spelling)
How much does it cost to see a Speech Pathologist?2020-08-28T14:30:05+10:00

Our fees are $150p/h for a Registered Certified Practising Speech Pathologist. Medicare rebates or NDIS funding may be available.

Do I need a referral?2020-08-28T14:28:53+10:00

You don’t need a GP/specialist referral to see a speech pathologist. However, Medicare rebates are only available to those clients with a GP referral for Enhanced Primary Care Plan/Chronic Disease Management Plan. This plan is only available for certain clients but will provide you with access to up to 5 appointments, where a rebate of $53.80 can be applied. Talk to your GP to find out if you are eligible.

Can I get a rebate?2020-08-28T14:28:20+10:00

Yes you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate of $53.80 per session. This rebate is offered through an Enhanced Primary Care/Chronic Disease Management Plan from your GP. The plan is determined by your GP and may allow a rebate for up to 5 sessions in a 12 month period. You may also be eligible for Private health fund rebates depending on your provider and level of cover. It is best to call them to check prior to your first session.

You cannot use a plan from GP and private health fund rebates at the same time however.

How long are the sessions?2020-08-28T14:27:42+10:00

Appointment times can vary but usually a session will last 30-60mins.

How many sessions will my child or I need?2020-08-28T14:27:07+10:00

The number of sessions you have with your Speech Pathologist will vary for each individual. Some children and teenagers may only require brief interventions while others may have more complex needs and require more time. Some issues may only require brief interventions while others may be more complex and require more time. As you work with your Speech Pathologist you will develop a plan with them to give you a better idea of what to expect.

What to expect in the first session?2020-08-28T14:26:22+10:00

At the beginning of the session your Speech Pathologist will briefly run through important paperwork with you. This will include a brief information form for you to complete, a consent form (covering issues such as confidentiality and fees), and other important information about sessions. If you have been referred by a third party or have a medical referral this will be discussed.

The remainder of the session will be talking about why you have come to therapy, your concerns, personal circumstances, challenges and what you would like to get from therapy. Sometimes people are worried about what to say but rest assured your Speech Pathologist will know what questions to ask to get the relevant information to help you.

There is no “typical” therapy session as there are different methods of treatment for different concerns.

How involved are parents in sessions?2020-08-28T14:25:40+10:00

Our Speech Pathologist will involve parents and carers as much as possible in the sessions to ensure the best possible outcomes. It is beneficial to be present during your child’s session as you can learn about specific strategies which will help the at home and in the community. Your child may prefer to work individually in the session which is ok and we can chat to you at the end of the session.

Do you offer telehealth?2020-08-28T14:35:58+10:00

Yes we do. We use a reliable and secure telehealth platform and set this up very easily if preferred including initial appointments. Let us know if you cannot attend the clinic and we may be able to arrange a telehealth session.

Is my appointment confidential?2020-08-28T14:35:29+10:00

We understand confidentiality and privacy can be a concern. Any information disclosed to us is treated confidentially (including case notes, records, and assessment results) and stored accordingly. No information will be disclosed without the client’s consent. If there is a need to disclose information (i.e. to a doctor, solicitor or third party) the client will be consulted and a release of information will need to be signed by the client. There are some legal limitations to confidentiality which will be explained to clients in the first session.

What if my child is nervous about seeing a Speech Pathologist?2020-08-28T14:34:55+10:00

It is normal for kids to be nervous about coming to see a Speech Pathologist because they don’t know what to expect and may worry they are ‘bad’ or there is something ‘wrong’ with them. It may be helpful to explain that coming to see a psychologist is like seeing a doctor for your physical health; a psychologist can help with our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We see lots of children for all sorts of reasons.

Usually after the first visit, children will look forward to sessions and understand that they are in a safe place where they can enjoy being themselves, and talk about things they may find difficult. We will always try and use your child’s interests and strengths throughout the sessions to make them as enjoyable and engaging as possible.

 

Are you a registered NDIS provider?2020-08-28T14:34:07+10:00

Yes we are registered as a service provider for many categories of support including Improved Daily Living and Improved Relationships.

does my child need to see a Speech Pathologist?2020-08-28T14:33:32+10:00

Children all develop differently and at a different rate. Speech Pathologists can help determine if your concerns about your child are something that would benefit from further assessment or support or whether they are to be expected for their age. Some examples where seeing a Speech Pathologist would be of benefit include:

  • If your child is becoming frustrated when trying to communicate.
  • If your child needs help to learn new words or put words together.
  • If your child has difficulty pronouncing certain sounds and if you or others find it difficult to understand them.
  • If you need to support your child to follow instructions, routines and understand everyday objects and concepts.
  • If your child has difficulty communicating their needs and wants clearly.
  • If your child needs support to play with friends, talking to friends and expressing their emotions.
  • If your child is repeating sounds or words when talking or gets “stuck” on their words.
  • If your child needs help with reading, writing or spelling.
  • If your child’s voice sounds hoarse or croaky.
  • If you have any worries about your child’s communication it is best not to ‘wait and see’ and check in with a Speech Pathologist.
Do you work with children with Autism?2020-08-28T14:32:55+10:00

Yes our Speech Pathology team has a lot of experience and training supporting children with Autism. Beam Health has a multidisciplinary team of Speech Pathologists, Psychologists and Behaviour Specialists that can provide highly effective, integrated support and intervention through a multidisciplinary approach.

Can you assess my child?2020-08-28T14:32:19+10:00

Yes. Our Speech Pathologists can complete a whole range of different assessments for speech, language and communication concerns. Contact us for more information about our assessments.

Do you work with and in schools, preschools and early learning centres?2020-08-28T14:31:45+10:00

Yes we regularly work in such settings and closely with educators, teachers and other professionals in a many ways including:

  • · Collaboration with your child’s school and other health professionals.
  • · Preschool screenings.
  • · Workshops for educators at preschools and schools.
  • · Parent information workshops/webinars.

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