Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists… How can allied health professionals help my child?
Feeling confused about what each allied health profession does? Concerned about your child in some way and not sure who can help? Quite possibly an allied health professional may be able to support you and your child.
Speech Pathologist: otherwise known as a speech therapist, SP, SLP or as we like to call ourselves, ‘speechies’. Speech pathologists work with individuals who have communication and/or swallowing/eating issues. They can provide assessment and intervention into speech, language, social skills, literacy, stuttering, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), voice, as well as feeding, eating and drinking (i.e. swallowing, oral motor, sensory issues).
Occupational Therapist: otherwise known as an OT. Occupational therapists focus on prompting health and wellbeing of individuals by supporting them with participating and coping in everyday activities. This can involve fine and gross motor skills, social activities (play, friendship), learning activities (e.g. memory, cognition), sensory and emotional regulation. They can also work with individuals who require modified equipment (e.g. grips, wheelchairs).
Physiotherapist: otherwise known as a physio. Physiotherapists have extensive knowledge about the human body and its movement. They can provide assessment and intervention in a range of physical conditions that are either developmental or acquired (e.g. crawling, walking, core support, jumping).
Psychologist: otherwise known as a psych. Psychologists are trained in human behaviour and how individuals change the way they think, feel, behave and react to various situations in their lives. There a lot of different types of psychologists as they often specialise in certain fields. There are some psychologists who are involved in the assessment and diagnosis of conditions (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and others who provide regular intervention services for clients and their families.
Dietician: Dietitians have an extensive knowledge in food and nutrition. They are trained to support individuals who have ongoing health conditions to manage nutrition in order to maintain their weight and overall health. They often work closely with Speech Pathologists when the child’s weight and nutrition is poor due to ongoing swallowing and/or feeding issues.
For more information on allied health professionals, please check out the Allied Health Professions Australia website: https://ahpa.com.au/allied-health-professions/