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Speech pathologist and child in a speech therapy session practicing sounds

What is a speech pathologist?

A speech pathologist is a specialised allied health professional with expertise in the assessment and management of communication, feeding and swallowing disorders.  

They work in the field of speech pathology or therapy and may work in a number of different settings including educational not-for-profit organisations like Learning Links, hospitals and community health centres.  

What does a speech pathologist do?

A speech pathologist does a number of different things when it comes to working collaboratively with a child, adolescent or adult to develop or improve communication abilities. Each patient will have a different treatment plan depending on their situation.  

Part of the role of a speech pathologist is to evaluate and diagnose speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders.  

They treat speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders through different activities, one-on-one sessions and consultations. In some circumstances they have to provide training and education to family, caregivers and other professionals. 

How can a speech pathologist support your child?

Speech pathologists can help anyone with a communication disability or someone who has suffered an injury or medical condition that has resulted in impacted communication skills.   

They can also support children in the early years and as they progress through school, to support their speech and language developmentThese are some of the areas children can be supported with: 

  • Pronouncing sounds and voice problems (articulation) 
  • Expressing and understanding language 
  • Ability to hear sounds that make up words in spoken language (Phonological awareness). 
  • Social language skills used in daily interactions with others (pragmatic skills). 
  • Following directions and answering questions. 
  • Pre-reading skills. 
  • Stuttering. 

How does a speech pathologist work?

Working with each child or adult in an individualised way, our ‘Speechies’ uses a number of different activities, programs and exercises that help build speaking abilities and communication skills.  

Everyone is different, so a speech pathologist uses a specific and specialised program to help people reach their goals.  

A comprehensive assessment is an important first step in understanding a child’s speech and language strengths and needs. The assessment allows our speech pathologist to tailor appropriate intervention suited to the child’s learning style and provide useful strategies for the home and classroom. Areas assessed include: receptive and expressive language, pragmatic skills, articulation, phonological awareness, stuttering and voice. 

Speech pathologists use specialist strategies and programs adapted to the individual needs of the child and can provide support face-to-face and through online sessions, depending on the needs of the child and family. 

At Learning Links, we understand that every child is unique with different strengths and difficulties and that each family has their own set of challenges and goals. Learning Links offers speech therapy to children who have difficulty expressing themselves or understanding and following what others are saying.