How to find a Speech Therapist for your child

girl smiling lying in the grass

Speech therapy can help with so much more than just issues with talking. If you think your child may need speech therapy, Speech Pathology Australia, the national peak body for the speech pathology profession in Australia, has put other this fantastic guide to help you on your journey.

Who needs to see a speech pathologist?

As children grow and develop, they learn how to communicate with the people around them first through gestures and sounds, then via words and sentences, and finally through reading and writing. Speech Pathology Australia has some great resources on communication milestones as well as fact sheets to help you monitor your child’s communication development. If you are concerned for any of your child’s communication skills, you should see a speech pathologist.

Where can I find a speech pathologist?

Speech pathologists work in a variety of settings. You can contact your local speech pathologist:

  • Through local community health centres and non-for-profit organisations
  • By calling or emailing private practices
  • By asking your child’s school or kindy to see if they offer speech pathology services
  • By searching for a speech pathologist online or using the ‘Find a Speech Pathologist’ search on the Speech Pathology Australia website.

Boy with hearing aid

How do I choose a speech pathologist for my child?

With so many options for finding a speech pathologist, this question is a common one! However, it’s not an easy one to answer, as each child and family has individual needs. Here is some general information and questions that can support parents in finding a speech pathologist:

  • You don’t need a referral, simply contact the service and see if they have availability to see your child. However, you may need a referral from a GP or paediatrician if you would like to access funding sources through Medicare.
  • Check that the Speech Pathologist is a member of Speech Pathology Australia. This will ensure you are seeing a qualified speech pathologist.
  • Ask how much the speech pathology services cost. Speech Pathologists can determine their own fee schedule which will be based on factors such as the costs to run the business and the speech pathologists experience. Charges may be different depending on the services received (e.g. assessment vs therapy).  

For more important information on choosing a speech pathologist head to Speech Pathology Australia’s website.

What can I expect from my child’s speech pathology session?

It is a good idea to ask this question directly to the speech pathologist your child will be seeing. In general, a speech pathologist will first conduct an assessment of your child’s communication skills based on your concerns. The speech pathologist can then provide you with information about your child’s communication strengths and weaknesses, identify if they are experiencing a type of communication disorder or not, and provide you and your child with tailored support and intervention to help improve their communication. Paediatric speech pathologists will always work to make assessment and therapy fun and engaging to support children to participate and learn.

Where can I get more information?

Head to Speech Pathology Australia’s website for further information about what speech pathologists do, who they help, and how to find a speech pathologist.

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