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Speech Pathology

What is Speech Pathology?

Speech Pathology is the study of communication and swallowing delays and impairments. A Speech Pathologist is an individual who:

  1. assesses a client’s communication or swallowing difficulties,
  2. identifies the problem,
  3. and gives advice to assist with the identified difficulties, and tools to manage any long term impairments.

Speech Pathology services, including those offered by Eat Speak Learn – Speech Pathology Services, may encompass a number of areas of communication including speech, language, stuttering, and literacy.

What is speech?

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.

What is language?

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, 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.

What is stuttering?

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: 1. repetitions which are repeated sounds, words or phrases, e.g. s.s.s.snake, and…and…and…, I will…I will…, 2. prolongations which are stretched or prolonged words, e.g. w……………..when, 3. blocks which may be characterised by silence or pauses before words come out, groping movements or eye blinking.

What is literacy?

Literacy refers to the ability 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.

What is a complex communication impairment?

A complex communication impairment may result from a combination of the above listed communication difficulties or else as the result of a diagnosed disability, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. These type of communication disorders require a combined approach to assessment and management to ensure all strengths and areas for improvement are recognised.

If you are unsure whether your child requires a speech pathology assessment or which type of assessment your child may need, please contact us for professional advice.