DisabilitiesWhat disabilities are commonly associated with speech and language problems?

  • Hearing impairment
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Syndromes or chromosomal abnormalities
    (e.g. Down’s syndrome or Fragile X)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Acquired brain injury
  • Cleft lip or palate
  • Hypotonia (Low Muscle Tone)

What if I suspect my child has a disability?

Most disabilities are typically diagnosed through formal assessments, medical tests, observations, questionnaires and discussions with the child and their family by a paediatrician and/or other medical specialists (e.g. Ear, Nose or Throat specialist or Geneticist) with supporting documentation from allied health professionals (e.g. audiologist, psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist) and educators.

If you suspect your child has a disability, your local doctor may refer you to a paediatrician as well as a team of professionals including a speech pathologist, psychologist, occupational therapist, audiologist, physiotherapist, social worker and/or dietician in your area. You may also be given links to early childhood early intervention centres or other educational facilities that support children with disabilities. For more information see the Australian Government Initiative - Raising Children Network Website.

How can speech pathologists help?

Speech Pathologists work together with parents as well as health, education and medical professionals to specifically support the communication, feeding and social skills of children with disabilities. Speech Pathologists particularly focus on family-centred intervention where parent’s goals and priorities for their child are valued and intervention tailored to meet the needs of the child in their family and community. Intervention typically targets speech clarity, understanding of language, communication through words, body language and other augmentative and alternative means (e.g. signing, symbols, photos and speech generating devices) and use of communication for social purposes including conversations and play. Speech Pathologists are strong advocates for the key role that communication intervention has in providing opportunities for children with disabilities.

What approaches do you use at Therapy Matters?

Our speech pathologists use a range of speciality skills, therapy techniques and resources in the assessment and treatment of children with disabilities. Many of our speech pathologists have extensive experience in working collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams to support children with disabilities and their families.  Some of the therapy approaches available at Therapy Matters include: Hanen “It Takes Two to Talk”, Picture Communication Exchange System (PECS), DIR/Floortime, key word signing, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), PROMPT, social stories, speech generating devices, functional communication training, computer programs and computer applications (e.g. iPad).

What special funding programs or rebates are available?

FaHCSIA - Better Start for Children with Disabilities

Therapy Matters is an Early Intervention Service Provider Panel for the Better Start for Children with Disabilities. Families of children under 7 years of age with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, fragile X, hearing or vision impairment (of moderate or greater severity includind deafblindness) who have a Letter of Introduction from Carers Australia are eligible for up to $12000 of therapy services (to a maximum of $6000 per year). Read More>>

For more information go to Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website.


All Speech Pathologists at Therapy Matters are registered Medicare providers. There are a number of Medicare schemes which provide for a partial rebate for speech pathology services. All schemes require referral by a GP or Paediatrician. Read More>>

Further information is available through the Department of Health and Ageing website.

Private Health Funds

A number of private health funds provide partial reimbursement for some speech pathology services. Parents will need to enquire with their health fund as to the services and rebates covered. Electronic health claiming is available for most private health funds at our West Burleigh clinic.

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