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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Some children especially children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) do not intuitively learn and apply the unspoken social rules that govern the way children talk and play together. A speech pathologist is best suited to addressing the social-communication difficulties experienced by children with ASD and need to get involved in all areas of assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. The assessment highlights areas of strengths and areas of difficulty, and is used to establish goals and priorities for intervention. Our speech pathologists work with the children, their parents and pre-school/school teachers to enable speech and language development using evidence based treatment approaches e.g. Hanen Programs.

Articulation disorder (unclear speech)

Many toddlers have difficulty saying sounds correctly all the time. Some words are more difficult  than others for children to say, so they may make some sound errors e.g. dod for dog. Wed for red.  If a toddler ‘s speech is very difficult for parents to understand, or if children are using gestures (and grunts) in place of words, parents should contact a speech pathologist  who will assess the child and provide further advice

Complex communication needs-Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any type of communication strategy for people with a range of conditions who have significant difficulties speaking. If a child is not able to speak they may need a variety of different types of AAC systems to communicate. Speech pathologists may support some children with ASD to communicate using the Picture Exchange Communication system (PECS)

Language disorder/delay – comprehension problems and expressive language difficulties

Most babies say their first words between 12months and 18months and before they turn 2 will have a burst of language development and have a vocabulary of around 50 words, then start joining words together by around two and half. Some children however take longer and experience difficulty following instructions. . Speech Pathologists help by assessing the children and providing the parents with some strategies to support the development.

Literacy-reading and writing

About 10% of school children have problems with reading and writing. Some children experience this difficulty due to underlying speech or language difficulties or due to disability such as a learning disability or intellectual disability.  Speech Pathologists can help by assessing speech and language skills to determine if there are any difficulties and provide intervention and strategies to support oral language development. Speech pathologists also use specialist knowledge of the sound system of English to help children who are having difficulty with letter -sound relationships.


Is a speech disorder that causes interruptions in the rhythm or flow of speech. These interruptions may include repeated sounds (c-c-can), syllables (da-da-daddy)), words (and-and-and) or phrases ( I want- I want-I want). Early intervention from a speech pathologist is recommended for children who stutter. It is recommended that any one worried about stuttering is assessed by a speech pathologist who can then provide them with more individualised information. A speech pathologist may recommend monitoring stuttering in a young child has been stutterinf and the impact it is having on their communication, social interaction and family.

Social communication

Some children especially children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder do not intuitively learn and apply the unspoken social rules  that govern the way children talk and play together. These rules also include interpreting the context of the conversation, understanding non-verbal information and the social rules of communication. Individual or group based support with a speech pathologist can teach these rules and assist children to overcome some of these difficulties.

Swallowing disorders

Swallowing disorders include difficulty with sucking, swallowing, drinking, chewing, eating and controlling saliva. Some babies have difficulty sucking during breast or bottle feeding and in young children the first signs include coughing, gagging or choking when eating and drinking. Speech Pathologists may recommend changes to the textures of foods or drinks and in some cases they provide rehabilitation techniques and exercises to help people swallow safely.

Voice disorder

Children may have a voice problem when they experience a hoarse , husky, croaky, strained , strangled or shaky voice. Anyone can develop a voice problem. If you experience any voice problems ask your doctor for a referral to a speech pathologist.