At Guiding Pathways, we strive to improve your child’s communication skills to support their participation, inclusion and independence, and enhance their daily interactions.
Alice (our Speech Pathologist) supports children and teens who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays and disorders, intellectual disability, hearing loss, trauma and mental health, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language.
Using an approach that is play-based and centred around your child and family, Alice aims to achieve positive outcomes for your child in a way that is meaningful, fun, and evidence-based.
Our Speech Pathology service may be most suitable if your child is struggling with or you want to address any of the following:
Early communication and interaction skills are essential to later language development, forming the foundation for communicating functionally and meaningfully.
There are several areas that Alice can assess and provide intervention for if your child is a young language learner.
These areas include:
- pragmatics (early social skills)
- language comprehension and expression.
Sessions might target such skills as turn-taking, imitation and joint-attention, and use engaging interactions and play to build your child’s capacity as they move along their unique developmental pathway.
The ability to clearly produce speech sounds to form words is an important part of being understood by others when verbally communicating.
If your child has difficulty getting their messages across, Alice can provide assessment and intervention centred around such areas as articulation (moving the tongue, lips, and jaw) or phonology (the patterns of sounds in a particular language). Therapy for speech sound delay or disorders is fun, research-based, and individualised so that your child can experience positive outcomes and success.
Receptive language refers to a child’s understanding of language, such as: instructions, questions, concepts, grammatical features, and narratives.
Expressive language involves a child’s use of language to communicate their wants and needs, share their thoughts, emotions and ideas, connect socially with others, and seek or convey information. Difficulties in these areas may create problems in home, school, and community environments.
A comprehensive language assessment can identify a child’s areas of strength and need, through which to guide the development of functionally relevant goals and recommendations for intervention. Sessions are engaging, creative, and tailored to your child’s needs and interests to ensure they get the most out of them.
Fluency refers to the ability to smoothly produce speech sounds, syllables, phrases, words, and sentences. Even though your child may know exactly what they want to say, they may be unable to say it due to an involuntary stretching or ending of a sound.
You may hear or see your child:
- repeating sounds,
- syllables or words,
- stretching sounds,
- struggling to get words out,
- avoiding talking or
- showing signs of anxiety or frustration around talking,
- pausing inappropriately, or
- exhibiting physical signs of effort when speaking.
Therapy involves implementing effective programs such as the Lidcombe Program for young children or smooth speech for teens to achieve your child’s goals.
Literacy includes reading and writing, and is a crucial life skill which allows us to learn, communicate, and interact. Literacy development is supported by knowledge in many areas including: phonological awareness (e.g. being able to identify, rhyme, blend, segment, and manipulate sounds within words), vocabulary, sentence structures, and narrative components.
Literacy competence is an important part of everyday life and school success. Alice can support your child in building their literacy skills and confidence using enjoyable and systematic interventions specific to their needs.
Some children and teens may have difficulty using language appropriately in social situations, for instance – to establish and maintain friendships. As a further example, they may have difficulty initiating, maintaining, or ending conversations, which can make it hard to share their space and connect with others effectively.
Having good social skills means being able to follow the ‘unwritten rules’ of the environment so that we can think about other’s thoughts, feelings, and expectations and regulate our behaviour accordingly.
Therapy sessions will involve supporting your child form a deeper understanding of social relations and social communication so that they can experience meaningful friendships and work successfully with classroom peers.
Alternative and augmentative communication
For children or teens with complex communication needs, alternative or augmentative communication (AAC) can enable them to express themselves, establish relationships, and promote participation in daily activities. AAC refers to any device, system, or method that improves a child’s ability to communicate effectively.
This can include:
- Key Word Sign
- Communication boards
- Speech-generating devices
- Pictures used as symbols
AAC can be used to either supplement a child’s current communication skills, or as an alternative to verbal speech.
Alice has experience and training in supporting children and their families establish a communication system through creating opportunities for them to engage with many communicative purposes beyond getting their basic needs met, such as:
- Meeting their emotional needs
- Building social closeness
- Expressing their personality
- Developing literacy skills
This helps children feel motivated to communicate, and gives them more of a voice.