Speech Pathology Services in Belconnen
Speech Pathology services can encompass a whole range of clinical areas from simple speech sounds through to swallowing difficulties and establishing communication through technology.
We have identified eight key areas that we can provide support for your child. In many cases, your child may be having difficulties in more than one area. We are privileged to have a diverse team of practitioners that can support you across each of these different areas. A key part of our intake process is matching your child with a practitioner that is passionate about supporting your child in the clinical area you identify most closely with.
AAC or Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any type of communication for people with a range of conditions who have significant difficulties speaking.
AAC may combine gestures, eye pointing, vocalisations and pointing to symbols as communication for people with limited verbal abilities.
AAC can assist people who cannot speak to develop language skills and increase participation and inclusion in daily activities. It’s an important tool that can give people more communication control and decrease frustration. Therapists may suggest an augmentative and alternative communication system if speech is slow to develop or non-existent, or as a back-up if speech ability is very limited or difficult to understand. An AAC system may be either a short or a long-term solution to communication difficulties being experienced.
At Eat Speak Learn we understand that the journey of implementing an AAC device is different for every individual and each circumstance needs special considerations to get the best outcomes. We will tailor specifically to your needs as we gain an understanding of your requirements.
We can train clients and families to use alternative and/or augmentative strategies and devices to optimise the client’s communication
It is important to know that using an AAC system will not prevent a child from developing spoken language.
Did you know Eat Speak Learn’s speech pathologists can help infants through to teenagers with sensory and/or oral motor feeding or swallowing difficulties? This may be referred to a dysphagia (dis-fay-juh). Oral motor feeding difficulties may look like:
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty moving the food around your mouth
- Difficulty with foods that have multiple textures, e.g. apples with skin on, soup with noodles
Sensory feeding difficulties may look like:
- Avoidance of foods or fluids based on their smell, colour or taste
- Only eating foods of a specific brand, e.g. only McDonalds chicken nuggets
- Cutting out entire food groups from your diet, e.g. refusing all vegetables, meats etc
- Only eating foods of a certain colour or texture, e.g. brown, white and crunchy foods only
We work with your child to help them, and you, manage their food and fluid safely.
Language refers to our ability to understand and respond to what is said. A child’s ability to understand what you and others say is classified as their receptive language abilities – comprehension, while their ability to communicate with and respond to others is known as their expressive language abilities. Difficulties may occur in either or both of these areas.
Eat Speak Learn’s speech pathologists can help children who are delayed in communication skills or have difficulty understanding and using words to communicate meaning from one person to the other. We can help children to develop their story telling skills, attention skills, memory, problem solving, organisation and thinking skills.
Literacy refers to the ability to use and understand written and read communication, e.g. to read and write. In early school years, literacy in children revolves around what is called ‘phonological awareness’. These skills form the basis of reading and spelling and include the ability to recognise letters, know which sounds are associated with individual letters, being able to break words into individual sounds and the ability to blend sounds together to read words.
At Eat Speak Learn we can help children to improve their literacy skills and love to work on functional outcomes like being able to
- read their favourite book,
- read the bus timetable to get to school on time,
- text or instant message friends and family.
Making and keeping friends is a challenge many children face and may be because your child
- does not understand what to say in certain situations, or how to start / finish a conversation
- has difficulty understanding other people’s tone of voice or body language,
- likes to talk about only their favourite topic of conversation,
- has difficulty asking questions
- does not have a solid foundation of self awareness and self esteem to build connections with others
Eat Speak Learn therapists can help children develop social communication skills by assessing and treating their skills in the above areas in both 1:1 and group environments.
Speech & Sound
Speech refers to sounds made in the process of speaking, e.g. p, m, w. Speech errors can be categorised as either articulation errors or phonological errors. Articulation errors are the result of difficulty producing individual sounds and are often the result of incorrect placement of your tongue or lips. Phonological errors are characterised by patterns of errors which result in a collapse of the differences between sounds.
Eat speak Learn can provide therapy for children who have difficulty articulating and pronouncing sounds, making it difficult to be understood by others.
Stuttering occurs when speech is interrupted by words which come out ‘bumpy’ or ‘get stuck’. Some children will develop a stutter that will resolve spontaneously while others will require intervention. It is currently unknown what causes stuttering and which children will require intervention to reduce the interruptions to their speech.
There are three main types of stutters that may occur:
- Repetitions which are repeated sounds, words or phrases, e.g. s.s.s.snake, and…and…and…, I will…I will…
- Prolongations which are stretched or prolonged words, e.g. w……………..when
- Blocks which may be characterised by silence or pauses before words come out, groping movements or eye blinking.
At Eat Speak Learn, we can help children who stutter speak more fluently.
Whilst uncommon, voice difficulties can emerge in children. These may look like:
- A hoarse, husky, or croaky voice
- A voice that is too soft to be heard easily
- A voice that sounds higher or lower in pitch than other children of the same age
- A need to cough or clear your throat during talking
If your child has these symptoms and they persist for more than 7 days, speak with your GP or speech pathologist about a possible referral to an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT).