Speech Pathologist for your Child2018-07-30T11:41:46+00:00

Speech Pathologist for your Child

Baby/toddler

Your child being able to communicate and speak with you is one of the most exciting and delightful experiences a parent can have.  However, what do you do if you notice that your child isn’t speaking like other children the same age or isn’t speaking at all? It is important to remember that all children acquire speech skills at different times.  Consider if your baby makes noises such as ‘bababa and mamama’ or is not saying anything at all.  Do you notice that your toddler interacts with you but doesn’t speak real words?  Do they smile when they see you or hear you speaking?

Babies normally develop speech sounds at around 4-8 months old. This is called babbling and is when your baby is experimenting with producing sounds but not producing real words yet (such as ba-ba or ba-da-ka) . Usually, children will be able to speak and say a ‘real word’ or two by their first birthday.  These first words that children say are usually not clear (e.g. ca- for cat), but are consistently said the same way for the same thing.  For example: if you child consistently says ‘dare’ for ‘there’ that would be classed as them speaking a real word.

If you notice that your child is quiet and does not make any sounds by 9-12 months it is important to contact a Speech Pathologist who can help you to support your child’s developing speech skills.  If your child doesn’t have 6-20 words by the time they are 18 months old it is important to contact a Speech Pathologist who can help you learn how to help your child to speak and say more words.  If you are at all worried about your child’s speech and communication it is always a good idea to contact a Speech Pathologist who can give you strategies to support communication and speech development. At Peach Speech, our friendly speech pathologists are also happy to have a chat over the phone to discuss if your child would benefit from an assessment. Assessments can be helpful if you have concerns or just want to check everything is ‘on track’ for your own peace of mind.

Parents often report that their children are difficult to understand or that other people can’t understand what they are saying.  As children develop speech and language and start the complex process of combining words together it can often be difficult to understand what your child is saying.  Parents often will understand more of what their child is saying than another adult will (such as a day-care teacher or grandparent).  It is important to remember that children are often not able to make all the sounds required for speech from a young age and it is normal that some of their words are more difficult to understand than others.

All children go through what are termed ‘phonological processes’ which refer to the sounds that your child makes in their speech.  Some sounds such as ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘j’, ‘r’, ‘l’, ‘th’ are more difficult to produce so your child may not be able to make these correctly for several years. This can make your child difficult to understand, but is a normal part of speech development.

It is important to see a Speech Pathologist if you notice your child is much more difficult to understand than their peers or you are having difficulties understanding what they are saying and your child is becoming increasingly frustrated.  By three years of age parents and unfamiliar listeners should understand 90 percent of what the child is saying.  If you are at all concerned by not being able to understand your child’s speech you, should contact a Speech Pathologist who can discuss ways to support your child’s speech development. The team at Peach Speech Pathology are skilled in considering whether a child’s speech development is expected for their age, identifying causes for delays in speech development and supporting parents and caregivers to encourage speech development in their children.

The term ‘lisp’ usually refers to difficulty achieving the correct tongue position when producing the /s/ or /z/ sounds. Your child may have particular difficulty producing a specific sound, or may have learned to say a sound the wrong way and the incorrect pronunciation has become habit.

Often, when a person lisps, their tongue protrudes between their front teeth and they make a sound more like a /th/. This is referred to as an interdental production. The tongue touching the front teeth while attempting to produce a /s/ or /z/ is called a dentalised production. It is considered normal development for some children to produce interdental or dentalised /s/ and /z/ sounds until they are about four and a half years of age

There are also lateral lisps, where the air noisily escapes down the side of the tongue and mouth, and palatal lisps, where they attempt to make the sound with the tongue in contact with the palate. Neither lateral nor palatal lisps are considered normal parts of speech development, and should be assessed by a qualified speech pathologist, without delay.

The Speech Pathologists at Peach Speech commonly work with individuals to help resolve lisping. We provide support when the lisp is not developmentally appropriate, or is having a functional impact on either other’s understanding them, or affecting their confidence or ‘image’. Lisping may be ‘cute’ at a young age, but is quickly perceived differently as the child grows. The longer the child waits, the more the ‘habit’ of the lisp production has been practiced. If you would like an assessment and support in resolving a lisp, please contact one of our trained speech pathologists. 

If your baby is having difficulty attaching to the breast or bottle, isn’t gaining weight adequately, is making strange noises when feeding or you notice them coughing when feeding, it is always important to follow this up with a feeding assessment by a Speech Pathologist.  Difficulty with feeding can be due to a number of issues such as tongue-tie and it is essential that these difficulties be assessed as soon as possible.

Everyone has different flavours and tastes that they prefer to eat.  In the early stages of transitioning from milk to solids, it is normal for babies to take time to become use to new flavours and textures. Children can also have difficultly transitioning to eating solids from being breast or bottle fed.  It is important that if you notice your child having difficulties managing lumps in foods or chewing soft foods that you contact a Speech Pathologist as soon as possible for support.

Parents often report that their toddlers are ‘fussy’ eaters and this term covers a very large range of feeding problems.  If your child is persistently fussy with texture, colour, presentation or temperature you can access help from a Speech Pathologist to support your child to eat a wider range of foods.  Some children have physical reasons causing them to want to avoid trying certain foods – for example: they have not developed rotational chewing and therefore meats are too difficult for them to chew.  Speech Pathologists can assist by helping your fussy eater develop rotational chewing.  Speech Pathologists can also support your child to feel safe trying new flavours and textures.

Most children repeat a word several times at some point in their speech and language development.  If you notice that your child is stuttering more than they previously were or more than other children their own age, the most important thing is to try and stay calm and seek support from an Speech Pathologist.  The majority of stutters can be treated by a Speech Pathologist with excellent success.  Think about the times that you notice the stutter, is your child very tired or excited, are they trying to hold your attention, do you notice the stutter at a specific time each day, are there other behaviours that go with the stutter (such as eye-blinking, tension in the neck or a blocking of speech).  Bringing the stutter to your child’s attention will often not help; it is important that you contact a Speech Pathologist to get your child’s stutter assessed and together you can create a management plan.  

Once you have booked your appointment with the Speech Pathologist at Peach Speech, try and get an example of your child’s stutter on video on your phone- this helps in the case your child’s stutter isn’t present on the day of the appointment.

Some children find it difficult to interact with other children and appear to act ‘differently’ when in groups and communicating with others.  It can be very stressful for a parent to consider that their child may be different.  Speech Pathologists support children with Autism in a number of ways such as providing therapy to support communication and language development and to support them in the development of social skills and understanding.  If you are concerned or suspect your child might have Autism it is a good idea to talk to your GP and get a referral to a Paediatrician. A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is completed as a team by a Paediatrician, Psychologist and Speech Pathologist. Assessment by a Speech Pathologist can help you to support your child and can assist other medical professionals involved in their care.

Jaimi-Lee Jefferies, Principal Speech Pathologist at Peach Speech Pathology, has a Post Graduate Certificate in Autism Diagnosis from the University of Western Australia, and is happy to discuss parents’ concerns, the diagnostic criteria and process, and provide direction and support. The Speech Pathologists at Peach Speech work closely with many individuals with Autism, including younger children, adolescents and adults, to support participation and interaction, communication and academic or work place success.

If you have concerns about any other aspect of your baby or toddler’s communication, please call our clinic to speak to one of our friendly and professional Speech Pathologists, who can discuss concerns related specifically to your child and support you to make an informed decision.

Primary School Aged Child

Parents often report that their children are difficult to understand or that other people can’t understand what they are saying.  As children develop speech and language and start the complex process of combining words together it can often be difficult to understand what your child is saying.  Parents often will understand more of what their child is saying than another adult will (such as a day-care teacher or grandparent).  It is important to remember that children are often not able to make all the sounds required for speech from a young age and it is normal that some of their words are more difficult to understand than others.

It is important to see a Speech Pathologist if you notice your child is much more difficult to understand than their peers or you are having difficulties understanding what they are saying and your child is becoming increasingly frustrated.  By three years of age, parents and unfamiliar listeners should understand 90 percent of what the child is saying. All children go through what are termed ‘phonological processes’ which refer to the sounds that your child makes in their speech.  Some sounds such as ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘j’, ‘r’, ‘l’, ‘th’ are more difficult to produce so your child may not be able to make these correctly for several years, usually developing between 5 and 7 years of ages. This can make your child difficult to understand, but is a normal part of speech development.

If you are at all concerned by not being able to understand your child’s speech you, should contact a Speech Pathologist who discuss ways to support your child’s speech development. The team at Peach Speech Pathology are skilled in considering whether a child’s speech development is expected for their age, identifying causes for delays in speech development and supporting parents and caregivers to encourage speech development in their children.

The term ‘lisp’ usually refers to difficulty achieving the correct tongue position when producing the /s/ or /z/ sounds. Your child may have particular difficulty producing a specific sound, or may have learned to say a sound the wrong way and the incorrect pronunciation has become a habit.

Often, when a person lisps, their tongue protrudes between their front teeth and they make a sound more like a /th/. This is referred to as an interdental production. The tongue touching the front teeth while attempting to produce a /s/ or /z/ is called a dentalised production. It is considered normal development for some children to produce interdental or dentalised /s/ and /z/ sounds until they are about four and a half years of age. 

There are also lateral lisps, where the air noisily escapes down the side of the tongue and mouth, and palatal lisps, where they attempt to make the sound with the tongue in contact with the palate. Neither lateral nor palatal lisps are considered normal parts of speech development, and should be assessed by a qualifies speech pathologist, without delay.

The Speech Pathologists at Peach Speech Pathology commonly work with children to help resolve lisping when it is developmentally appropriate, or is having a functional impact on either other’s understanding the child, or affecting their confidence or ‘image’. Lisping may be ‘cute’ at a young age, but is quickly perceived differently as the child grows. The longer the child waits, the more the ‘habit’ of the lisp production has been practiced. If you would like an assessment and support in resolving a lisp, please contact one of our trained speech pathologists at the clinic.

Some children find the transition from oral communication to written communication difficult.  Reading, writing and spelling require a whole new skill set that children need to learn.  All children learn to read, write and spell at different rates and it is important to talk to your teacher about your child’s progress within each of these skill areas. If you notice that your child is:

  • having difficulty recognising letters and sounds
  • mixing up letters
  • having difficulty sounding out or is not able to identify sounds in words
  • having trouble spelling or reading words
  • reading but not understanding what they read
  • had trouble knowing what to write or how to capture their ideas on paper

Then it is a good idea to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss these concerns and to meet with a Speech Pathologist and have your child’s skills assessed. In our assessments, we can help identify processing issues that may be affecting your child’s ability to learn reading, writing or spelling skills. Early identification and intervention with reading, writing and spelling difficulties is the most effective way to support your child. By teaching children that reading and writing are a way of coding spoken words, a Speech Pathologist can build on their existing language skills. A structured, synthetic phonics approach to teaching spelling helps children to clearly understand the link between letters and sounds, and builds their knowledge gradually, with opportunity to practice and cement their skills before moving on through the sequence of knowledge. There is ample evidence available that this is the most effective way to teach literacy skills.

The Speech Pathologists at Peach Speech Pathology have received training in evidence-based literacy intervention, and can support primary school children to:

  • learn the foundation skills for literacy of identifying word parts (sounds, syllables, rhyme etc.) and linking letters and sounds
  • learn through explicit teaching of spelling rules and patterns and practicing applying these in writing task. A structured synthetic phonics approach to spelling helps children to clearly understand the link between letters and sounds, and builds their knowledge gradually, with plenty of opportunity to practice and cement their skills before moving on to new skills. Evidence suggests that this approach, coupled with explicit teaching, has strong positive outcomes.
  • clearly understand different types of writing and structures, including information texts and reports, persuasive writing, narrative etc.
  • understand and effectively use the process of writing, from planning what to write, organising your writing (vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar) to editing
  • read accurately and understand what they are reading (using taught strategies) to help them understand the texts they read and answer questions appropriately.

We also offer groups that target tasks like writing in a fun and interactive way. If you have any questions about your child’s literacy skills, the support we can offer or would like an assessment, please contact Peach Speech Pathology.

If your child is also having difficulty holding a pen or writing it is good to mention these concerns to your Speech Pathologist as they may need to refer your child to an Occupational Therapist (OT). OT services are also available at the Peach Speech Pathology offices, or can be provided to your home or school. The Peach Speech Pathology team also works closely with other external occupational therapists to identify and support handwriting difficulties.

Being able to participate in social communication and interact with others is one of the most important skills children can acquire.  Some children have more difficulty socially interacting with other children and making friends.  It is important to recognise when your child is having difficulty understanding social cues and interacting and to seek support from a Speech Pathologist. Speech Pathologists will support your child in the development of their knowledge and understanding of social interactions and help develop and practice practical skills to help them build and maintain friendships.

At Peach Speech Pathology we offer individual, paired and group sessions to support social skill development. We work with you to identify target skills. Together, we develop support strategies to help your child experience success in social situations. Social expectations and experiences vary greatly as young children develop. Peach Speech Pathology support will be different for different ages and skill levels as we understand that the needs of each child are individual, and require personalised support.

Everyone has different flavours and tastes that they prefer to eat. However, if your child has difficulty at mealtimes it is helpful to follow this up with a feeding assessment by a Speech Pathologist.  Parents often report that their children are ‘fussy’ eaters and this term covers a very large range of feeding problems.  If your child is persistently fussy with texture, colour, presentation or temperature you can access help from a Speech Pathologist to support your child to eat a wider range of foods.  Some children have physical reasons causing them to want to avoid trying certain foods – for example: a tongue tie, or they have not developed rotational chewing and therefore meats are too difficult for them to chew.  Speech Pathologists can assist by helping your fussy eater to develop rotational chewing.  Speech Pathologists can also support your child to feel safe trying new flavours and textures.

If you have any questions about how a speech pathologist can help your child to engage and enjoy mealtimes, please give us a call.

Most children repeat a word several times at some point in their speech and language development.  If you notice that your child is stuttering more than they previously were or more than other children their own age, the most important thing is to try and stay calm.  The majority of stutters can be treated by a Speech Pathologist with excellent success.  Think about the times that you notice the stutter, is your child very tired or excited, are they trying to hold your attention, do you notice it at a specific time each day, are there other behaviours that go with the stutter (such as eye-blinking, tension in the neck or a blocking of speech).  Bringing the stutter to your child’s attention will often not help; it is important that you contact a Speech Pathologist to get your child’s stutter assessed and together you can create a management plan.  

Once you have booked your appointment with the Speech Pathologist at Peach Speech, try and get an example of your child’s stutter on video on your phone – this helps in the case your child’s stutter isn’t present on the day of the appointment.

Some children find it difficult to interact with other children and appear to act ‘differently’ when in groups and communicating with others.  It can be very stressful for a parent to consider that their child may be different.  Speech Pathologists support children with Autism in a number of ways such as providing therapy to support communication and language development and to support them in the development of social skills and understanding.  If you are concerned or suspect your child might have Autism it is a good idea to talk to your GP and get a referral to a Paediatrician. A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is completed as a team by a Paediatrician, Psychologist and Speech Pathologist. Assessment by a Speech Pathologist can help you to support your child and can assist other medical professionals involved in their care.

Jaimi-Lee Jefferies, Principal Speech Pathologist at Peach Speech Pathology, has a Post Graduate Certificate in Autism Diagnosis from the University of Western Australia, and over ten years’ experience working with children and adults with autism. She is happy to discuss parents’ concerns, the diagnostic criteria and process, and provide direction and support. The Speech Pathologists at Peach Speech work closely with many individuals with Autism, both younger children and adults, to support participation and interaction, communication and academic or work place success. Give us a call to see how we can help your child.

Speech Pathologists are professionals with extensive training in communication, including alternative forms of communication to speech. Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) is the term that encompasses a wide range of devices from high technology devices (such as an iPad) to using low technology devices such as a paper-based Picture Exchange System.  The option that best suits someone is dependent on their individual needs and level of communication as well as the potential communication situations they participate in.  The aim of alternative forms of communication is to provide individuals with a system to express their needs, thoughts and feelings.   Speech Pathologists are involved in the assessment of a child’s needs to ensure the most effective alternative communication device best suiting their needs is able to be provided. Speech Pathologists are also involved in supporting individuals and families with using signing to communicate. Speech Pathologists are also involved in funding applications for communication devices.

Speech Pathologists can complete assessments to refer children to funding programs and support services (such as government-funded language development schools that support children with language development from Kindy to Year 3).

If you are wanting to book an appointment with a Speech Pathologist, you can refer directly to Peach Speech yourself, or we also receive referrals from GP’s, Specialists, Audiologists, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Dieticians. At Peach Speech, we are happy to chat with you over the phone, discussing your concerns and whether professional assessment is appropriate.

Speech therapy is a broad field. If you have concerns about any other aspect of your child’s communication, please call our clinic to speak to one of our friendly and professional Speech Pathologists, who can discuss concerns related specifically to your child and support you to make an informed decision.We want what is best for you and your child. If we feel that we are not a good fit to support your needs, we will happily provide the details of other speech therapists that can support you and your child.

High School Aged / Adolescent

Parents sometimes report that their teenager is difficult to understand or that other people can’t understand what they are saying.  As children develop speech and language and start the complex process of combining words together it can often be difficult to understand what your child is saying. By the age of three parents usually understand most of what their child is saying. Some sounds such as ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘j’, ‘r’, ‘l’, ‘th’ are more difficult to and these difficulties can persist into teenage years or adulthood. If you are at all concerned by not being able to understand your teenager’s speech or the impact their speech errors are having on their confidence or socialisation and friendships, one of our Speech Pathologist can guide you with ways to support the production and clarity of your teenager’s speech, working with you both to achieve positive outcomes.

Some children find the transition from oral communication to written communication difficult.  Reading, writing and spelling require a whole new skill set.  All children acquire reading, writing and spelling skills at different rates and it is important to talk to your teacher about your child’s progress within each of these skill areas.

As children progress into high school, there is a very high level of writing and reading required in their school work. High school students are required to write essays, both persuasive and analytical, and often do not receive the high level of support provided in primary school. They are also required to read and analyse a number of texts (such as novels, poems and films) and use complex vocabulary to demonstrate their understanding. Many of their teaching material can be presented through readings.

We commonly support high school students who:

  • are having trouble reading or understanding texts, or knowing how to answer questions well
  • struggle to get their ides onto paper
  • have always struggled with spelling and grammar
  • don’t know where to start with writing

The Speech Pathologists at Peach Speech Pathology have received training in evidence-based literacy intervention, and can support high school students to:

  • read accurately and understand what they are reading (using taught strategies) to help them understand the texts they read and answer questions appropriately
  • learn to unpack what the question requires and then understand and effectively use the process of writing, from planning what to write, organising your writing (vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar) to editing
  • clearly understand different types of writing and structures, including persuasive and analytical (text-based) essays and information reports
  • learn spelling rules and patterns and practicing applying these in writing task. A structured, synthetic phonics approach to teaching spelling helps children to clearly understand the link between letters and sounds, and builds their knowledge gradually, with opportunity to practice and cement their skills before moving on through the sequence of knowledge. This approach, coupled with explicit teaching, has strong evidence of producing positive outcomes.
  • develop the use of a more complex vocabulary and sentence structures to improve their written work
  • utilise their outlines to create effective study planners and manage their homework time

If your teenager is also having difficulty holding a pen or writing it is good to mention these to your Speech Pathologist as they may need to refer your child to an Occupational Therapist. Calm & Connected Occupational Therapists can assess and support your teenager at the Peach Speech Pathology offices, or come to your home or school. The Peach Speech Pathology team also works closely with other occupational therapists to identify and support handwriting difficulties.

The Peach Team has supported many students through both WACE and non-ATAR subjects, helping students to learn, understand the requirements of assessments and different question types and demonstrate their understanding through writing. In fact, many of our clients have gone on to achieve higher education through university and post-graduate studies. Please call us to hear how we can support your adolescent with their school work.

Being able to participate in social communication and interact with others is one of the most important skills teenagers can acquire.  Some teenagers have more difficulty socially interacting with others and making friends.  It is important to recognise when your child is having difficulty understanding social cues and interacting and to seek support from a Speech Pathologist. Speech Pathologists will support your teenager in the development of their knowledge and understanding of social interactions and help develop and practice practical skills to help them build and maintain friendships.

At Peach Speech Pathology we offer individual, paired and group sessions to support social skill development. We work with you to identify target skills. Together, we develop support strategies to help your teenager experience success in social situations. Social expectations and experiences vary greatly as teenagers develop into young adults. Peach Speech Pathology support will be different for different ages and skill levels as we understand that the needs of each person are individual, and require personalised support.

Everyone has different flavours and tastes that they prefer to eat. However, if your teenager has difficulty at mealtimes it is helpful to follow this up with a feeding assessment by a Speech Pathologist.  Parents sometimes report that their teens are ‘fussy’ eaters and this term covers a very large range of feeding problems.  If your teenager is persistently fussy with texture, colour, presentation or temperature you can access help from a Speech Pathologist to support them to eat a wider range of foods.  Some teenagers have physical reasons causing them to want to avoid trying certain foods – for example: a tongue tie, or they have not developed rotational chewing and therefore meats are too difficult for them to chew.  Speech Pathologists can assist by helping your fussy eater to develop rotational chewing.  Speech Pathologists can also support your teenager to feel confident trying new flavours and textures.

If you have any questions about how a speech pathologist can help your teenager to participate in and enjoy mealtimes, please give us a call.

Most children repeat a word several times at some point in their speech and language development.  If you notice that your child is stuttering more than they previously were or more than other children their own age, try and think about the times that you notice the stutter, is your teenager very tired, excited or anxious, are they trying to hold your attention, do you notice it at a specific time each day, are there other behaviours that go with the stutter (such as eye-blinking, tension in the neck or a blocking of speech).  It is important that you contact a Speech Pathologist to get your teenager’s stutter assessed and together you can create a management plan. 

Once you have booked your appointment with the Speech Pathologist at Peach Speech, try and get an example of your teenager’s stutter on video on your phone- this helps in the case your child’s stutter isn’t present on the day of the appointment.

Some teenagers find it difficult to interact with other children and appear to act ‘differently’ when in groups and communicating with others.  It can be very stressful for a parent to consider that their teenager may be different.  Speech Pathologists support individuals with Autism in a number of ways such as providing therapy to support communication and language development and to support them in the development of social skills and understanding.  If you are concerned or suspect your teenager might have Autism it is a good idea to talk to your GP and get a referral to a Paediatrician. A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is completed as a team by a Paediatrician, Psychologist and Speech Pathologist. Assessment by a Speech Pathologist can help you to support your teenager and can assist other medical professionals involved in their care.

Jaimi-Lee Jefferies, Principal Speech Pathologist at Peach Speech Pathology, has a Post Graduate Certificate in Autism Diagnosis from the University of Western Australia, and over 10 years’ experience working with individuals with autism and their families. She is happy to discuss parents’ concerns, the diagnostic criteria and process, and provide direction and support. The Speech Pathologists at Peach Speech work closely with many individuals with Autism, from young children to adults, to support participation and interaction, communication and academic or work place success. Please give us a call to see how we can help support you.

Speech Pathologists are professionals with extensive training in communication, including alternative forms of communication to speech. Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) is the term that encompasses a wide range of devices from high technology devices (such as an iPad) to using low technology devices such as a paper-based Picture Exchange System.  The option that best suits someone is dependent on their individual needs and level of communication.  The aim of alternative forms of communication is to provide a system to express their needs, thoughts and feelings.  Speech Pathologists are involved in the assessment of an individual’s needs to ensure the most effective alternative communication device best suiting their needs is able to be provided. Speech Pathologists are involved in supporting individuals and families with using signing to communicate. Speech Pathologists are also involved in funding applications for communication devices.

Speech Pathologists can complete assessments to refer adolescents to funding programs and support services. If you are wanting to book an appointment with a Speech Pathologist, you can refer directly to Peach Speech yourself, or we also receive referrals from GP’s, Specialists, Audiologists, Occupational Therapists (OTs), Psychologists and Dieticians. At Peach Speech, we are happy to chat with you over the phone, discussing your concerns and whether professional assessment is appropriate.

If you have concerns about any other aspect of your teenager’s communication, please call our clinic to speak to one of our friendly and professional Speech Pathologists, who can discuss concerns related specifically to your teenager and support you to make an informed decision. We want what is best for you and your teenager. If we feel that we are not a good fit to support your needs, we will happily provide the details of other speech therapists that can support you.