What is Paediatric Speech Therapy?

Paediatric Speech Pathologists are allied health Practitioners that help to develop a child’s overall communication skills.

Speech Sound Development

Children typically develop their speech sounds at similar ages. As different sounds develop at different times, children often use earlier sounds to say a word so that they can still get their message across (‘free’ for ‘three’) until they learn the later sounds. However, sometimes these sounds don’t develop on time, or children learn and store a speech sound incorrectly in their vocabulary. This causes them to be harder for others to understand, and their overall communication skills become delayed. Speech Pathologists work to correct these errors and encourage them to be more easily understood, so that they can continue to develop and use more complex language later in life.

Language Development

A child’s ability to understand and express themselves begins with a solid foundation of receptive language skills. These skills include an understanding of words, concepts and grammar rules to ultimately form sentences that are meaningful to others.

Children who have difficulties with these skills have difficulties academically and as well as socially, as they struggle to use their language skills to communicate effectively with others.

Speech Pathologists assist to develop these skills to allow children to implement functional and more complex communication at school, at home and in their community.

Play Skills

We help children establish their play skills, which are the foundation to functional communication skills (engaging with others). Play skills include showing an intent or want to communicate through playing with others, demonstrating joint attention where two people are concentrating on the same activity as well as turn taking with others.

Stuttering/Fluency

Stuttering is a genetic condition that affects the fluency of a child’s speech. Stuttering can look like repetitions, blocking or prolongations (dragging out the sound unintentionally), and can heavily impact a child’s quality of life. Speech Pathologists work to provide therapy implementing strategies to produce smooth fluent speech and improve this quality of life.

Voice

There are many factors that can cause difficulties with voice quality in children. These include pre-existing conditions, difficulties in surgeries, reflux in early years, trauma to the vocal cords and overuse. Speech Pathologist work to provide voice therapy to children whose voice difficulties are affecting their ability to communicate with others.

Social Skills

At Full Circle Therapies, we offer a social skills program for children of similar ages to develop essential daily living skills to be as independent as they can, in a supported environment. These include but are not limited to: hygiene, organization, developing routines, increasing resilience, understanding verbal and non-verbal body language, safety, understanding social rules, developing conversational skills – initiate and engage in reciprocal conversation that are outside of their interests, improving emotional regulation and developing play skills.

The social skills program also facilitates children to build and maintain meaningful relationships and speak about concerns in an open and safe environment.

Swallowing (Dysphagia)

Children who had difficulty feeding as an infant, or are fussy eaters, can have difficulties that significantly affect the quality of life of the child as well as their families. Speech Pathologists can assist to determine the nature of the feeding difficulties (are there any structural or functional reasons why the child is having trouble feeding?) and determine the appropriate treatment plan.