The most effective, high quality, tailor made therapy for a child comes from a thorough assessment of the child’s temperament, difficulties and needs. It is for this reason that we recommend all new clients to Therapy Matters have an assessment or parent planning session at their initial consultation even if they have seen another speech pathologist previously.

As you make these first steps towards assessment and a better understanding of your child’s communication, you may experience mixed feelings and be uncertain as to what to expect. Be assured that our team is here to support you and your child through this journey.

Read our Assessment Matters brochure for more information.

How do I make an appointment?

Parents can phone us, drop into our clinic or fill in our New Client Enquiry Form. Our Matching Matters care pathway starts straight away. Our friendly office staff will take details such as your child’s age, contact details, appointment preferences and what you are concerned about. This helps them match your needs to a suitable therapist, location, service, days and times. It helps them understand whether an assessment or parent planning session is needed.

Our client services team will either allocate you an appointment straight away whenever available or place you on a waiting list for assessment and follow up therapy at a day/time of your preference. Sometimes, a follow up phone call may be needed from one of our speech pathologists to better understand your child’s needs.

Unfortunately, we can experience periods of high demand for our services. This means there can be a waiting time for both assessments and therapy sessions. It can be difficult to provide parents with exact timelines on these expected waits as there are many factors to juggle between our team’s capabilities as well as your availability and needs. We are proud of our Matching Matters pathway which means that our team work very hard to understand where you want a service, when you want it, who you need a service from and what paperwork is needed. This Matching Matters pathway helps us manage our waiting lists as effectively, empathetically, fairly, ethically and responsively as possible.

The more information you give us about your needs and the more flexible you are in the service you want, the shorter the waiting time. We know this can be frustrating for parents who are keen to get started. Our friendly team will have the most up to date knowledge on the state of our waiting lists at any one time for your particular circumstances and they will be more than happy to assist you navigate this process. We will endeavour to work our way through these waiting lists as soon as possible.

What happens in the assessment?

Prior to the assessment you will be asked to fill in an ALL ABOUT MY CHILD MATTERS form. You will be asked to provide copies of any relevant reports (e.g. from the paediatrician, teacher or audiologist) and funding schemes (e.g. NDIS). This information will help the speech pathologist prepare the most relevant assessment tools to evaluate your child’s difficulties.

Typically, our initial assessment appointments are scheduled for 1.5 hours. Sometimes, school-aged children or children with complex needs may require a second assessment session. Toddler’s sessions however maybe split into two 45 minute sessions to better match their needs. This allows sufficient time for the therapist to get to know your child, for you to ask questions and for the therapist to feedback to you the assessment findings.

The speech pathologist may use a combination of formal tests and play based observations in order to evaluate how your child’s speech, language, feeding and literacy skills are developing. The type of test will depend upon the child’s age, their temperament and the reason for the referral.

We always prefer you to join us when we assess and provide therapy with your child. During an assessment we want to talk with you about your main concerns for your child. We want them to be at ease so we can get the best picture about their communication skills. We also want you to be involved in any subsequent therapy session so that you can continue to work with your child at home to help them achieve their goals and reach their potential.

At the end of the assessment, the speech pathologist will be able to let you know if your child has a problem or not and whether speech therapy could be of benefit. The speech pathologist will talk to you about what you can do at home to help your child as well as the type of speech therapy techniques that may be of most benefit. Sometimes, the speech pathologist may need to spend additional time after the assessment scoring, analysing and interpreting test results in order to provide you with an answer. In other instances, the speech pathologist may need to seek further guidance from other health and educational professionals.

They may also schedule a follow up parent planning consultation with you to share and explain these findings. You will receive a report from the assessment in 2-4 weeks.

Why might my child be experiencing a communication difficulty?

Unfortunately, many communication disorders have no definite cause although it is common for difficulties to “run in families” with a family history of speech, language or literacy difficulties commonly reported. Boys are more commonly affected. Hearing impairments and middle ear infections are often noted which is why we often recommend that children have their hearing tested before being assessed at our clinic.

Speech and language problems can also be associated with a range of disabilities including autism spectrum disorders. A speech pathology assessment may determine the cause of your child’s difficulties but often further assessments by a range of other health professionals may be needed (e.g. paediatrician, audiologist, occupational therapist or psychologist).