For many families, having concerns about your child’s talking can be the start of a journey to enhance your child’s communication skills with the help of a Speech Pathologist. Other families may be recommended to visit a Speech Pathologist due to concerns raised by Teachers or Doctors (GPs). But what is a Speech Pathologist? What do they do?
Speech Pathologists can go by many names, including:
Speech and Language Therapist (SALT)
Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP)
Qualified Speech Pathologists possess a University Degree, often called a Bachelor of Speech Pathology.
Did you know? At Small TALK, all our therapists are Certified Practising Speech Pathologists with Speech Pathology Australia. This means that our therapists are part of a nationally regulated body, which helps ensure our therapists are up to date with the latest training and research, helping us to deliver the highest quality services to your family.
Speech Pathologists can help people with a range of problems, including:
- Making sounds
- Saying words correctly
- Following instructions and directions
- Making sentences and stories
- Social skills and building relationships
Did you know? Some speech therapists also help with feeding and swallowing difficulties!
At Small TALK, our therapists work with children and adolescents, and have a special interest in helping people with:
Language (listening and talking)
Using AAC (such as signs, visuals and speech generating devices)
Find out more about some of the medical conditions our team have experience with.
Many people are surprised to hear that Speech Pathologists can assist with the development of social skills. Social skills is a broad term that is used to cover a range of areas, such as attending to others around you, picking up on body language and nonverbal cues, joining in conversations and solving problems that may occur with friends. Depending on the child’s difficulty, Speech Pathologists will work as part of a team with psychologists, occupational therapists and teachers to maximize a child’s social skill development.
- A child who often plays alone (or next to others), without joining in, may benefit from Social Skills intervention. A Speech Pathologist can help the child to develop their ability to play with their peers, including understanding how to take turns and follow another’s suggestions in play.
- A child who becomes angry and aggressive after losing a board game against other students at school, or taunts other students when they are the winners of a game, may benefit from Social Skills intervention. A Speech Pathologist may assist the child to identify and implement appropriate strategies for ‘winning’ and ‘losing’, and in understanding the implications of their actions on their peers (‘putting themselves in another’s shoes’ to understand how their actions and comments make others feel).
- A child who doesn’t look at others when they are talking to them, doesn’t ‘take turns’ in conversation, and will often steer the conversation to themselves and their own interests, may benefit from Social Skills intervention. A Speech Pathologist may help the child learn about the appropriate ways to initiate and maintain a conversation, stay on topic, and how to recognize and use appropriate body language and eye contact in conversation.
- A child who often encounters a lot of ‘social problems’ at school, experiences difficulty managing conflict with peers, and uses a lot of negative self-talk or becomes quite upset as a result may benefit from Social Skills intervention. A Speech Pathologist can help the child develop their ability to ‘problem-solve’ a range of common situations that may occur, or build their ability to recognize when they need assistance with a problem, and who to approach for this. In this situation, a psychologist would work alongside the speech pathologist, to help the child deal with their emotional challenges, and negative self-talk.
- A child who has no awareness of ‘stranger danger’ and often says inappropriate things to others (such as telling strangers where they live, or asking teachers “how old are you?”) may benefit from Social Skills intervention. A Speech Pathologist can help the child to understand their social circle, what is appropriate to say to whom, and to develop their social safety skills.
Who else do speech pathologists work with?
Speech and language is one part of a child’s development. To help your child grow and learn across all areas of development, your therapist may recommend you seek services from other therapists, including:
- Occupational Therapists
- Ear Nose and Throat Specialists
At Small TALK we also work closely with Teachers, School Learning Support Officers and ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) Therapists, to help achieve the best outcomes for your child
Everybody learns differently, and children are no exception. At Small TALK, our staff are trained in a range of therapy approaches, which means that we can adapt our teaching style to best suit your child.
Did you know? At Small TALK, each child has an “Individualised Learning Program”. This helps to ensure that therapy goals are specific to your child, and the teaching techniques chosen are personalized for their interests and skills. This program is designed from clinical assessment as well as from our discussions with parents and families. Remember, we are the experts in communication, but you are the experts on your child. We love working as part of a team with families to achieve the best outcome for our clients!
Have more questions? Get in touch with our friendly team to find out how a Speech Pathologist can help with your child’s social or communication skills.