Speech and Language Support
Does your child have difficulty speaking or understanding language?
They might need some extra help from a speech and language pathologist.
All babies and children develop at their own rate. Some children start speaking early. Others might not use words until they are 2 years or older.
It can take children years to master all the sounds of normal speech.
The key thing is, if you have any concerns, it’s best to raise them as early as possible.
A speech and language pathologist can put your mind at rest, or provide your child the help they need.
It’s best to seek help if:
- you’ve noticed your child’s speech isn’t developing at the same rate as other kids around them
- they aren’t reaching their speech milestones
- your child speaks with a stutter, lisp or has trouble with certain sounds.
Feeding issues in babies and children
Does your baby or child have difficulty eating and drinking?
Speech and Language Pathologists can help.
Whether your baby is bottle-fed or breastfed, they have to quickly develop skills in latching, sucking and swallowing to get the milk they need.
Some babies struggle with these skills for a variety of different reasons. Speech pathologists can work alongside other health professionals to help you and your baby.
Getting your baby to start solid food at around 6 months of age can also be challenging.
Your baby will need to learn how to touch, pick up food, put it in their mouth, chew and swallow. They will also be experiencing different flavours and textures for the first time.
If they are coughing and gagging when they eat, or have food or liquid going down the wrong way, they may need extra help.
Speech pathologists can also help with fussy eaters.
Most children go through phases of being picky eaters. But if you think your child is fussier than average and isn’t getting the nutrition they need, speech pathologists can help.
Where can I get help?
Early Years (0-4 years)
If you think your child or baby needs a speech pathologist, there are several ways to get the help you need.
In the first instance, you could talk it over with your local child health nurse or family GP.
Or you can contact services directly.
There are two options in Tasmania you can contact:
Online referral form: https://www.stgiles.org.au/referrals/
Phone: 1300 278 445
NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention service (ECEI)
Phone: 1800 572 152
Learn more about ECEI by watching this video.
You don’t have to be registered with the NDIS to access this service.
School Aged Children
When your child starts school, you can seek help through your school.
If you are unsure about whether your child needs the help of a speech pathologist, use this checklist:
- is your child easy to understand when speaking?
- Is your child able to understand what you say?
- Is your child able to create sentences that make sense?
- Is your child able to eat a variety of food including soft and hard texture foods?
- Is your child able to eat and drink without coughing and choking?
- Is your child able to read and spell as well as children their age?
- Is your child able to speak without stuttering?
- Is your child’s voice produced without effort?
- Is your child able to get along with other children?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, a Speech Pathologist may be able to help.
You can talk to your child’s teacher about any of your concerns.
Your child’s teacher may contact you if they think a speech pathologist could help.
School speech pathologists work closely with class teachers, support teachers, teacher assistants.
They also work closely with school psychologists and social workers. If your child sees a private speech pathologist, school speech pathologists can work with them to get the best help for your child.