Af­ford­able and col­lab­o­ra­tive speech pathol­ogy

The Australian Education Reporter - - SPEECH PATHOLOGY -

577,000 Aus­tralian stu­dents have lan­guage prob­lems. 21 per cent of chil­dren have ex­pres­sive lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties and

13 per cent have re­cep­tive dif­fi­cul­ties upon en­ter­ing school.

With­out treat­ment, these stu­dents could suf­fer from a range of is­sues in­clud­ing in­abil­ity to reach their po­ten­tial, poor self-es­teem, be­havioural prob­lems, and de­creased em­ploy­ment op­tions, as dif­fi­cul­ties can con­tinue into adult­hood if un­treated.

As one of the largest providers of mo­bile speech pathol­ogy ser­vices in NSW and the ACT, Com­mu­ni­cate Speech Pathol­ogy has wit­nessed the ef­fects of com­mu­ni­ca­tion dif­fi­cul­ties in stu­dents, both at home and at school.

Some­times a child may cope bet­ter one-on-one, how­ever when they en­ter the busy, noisy class­room en­vi­ron­ment it presents many more chal­lenges.

Teach­ers of­ten re­port that lan­guage dis­or­ders in their stu­dents were not pre­vi­ously di­ag­nosed, caus­ing con­fu­sion about why the child is strug­gling in the school en­vi­ron­ment and per­haps ap­pear­ing lazy or naughty.

Dif­fi­cul­ties with re­cep­tive and ex­pres­sive lan­guage be­come more no­tice­able; as class­room lan­guage is more for­mal, spo­ken and writ­ten in­struc­tions are more com­plex, and there are greater de­mands on a child’s at­ten­tion.

For chil­dren with a spe­cific lan­guage im­pair­ment, their cog­ni­tive abil­ity is age ap­pro­pri­ate so it can be con­fus­ing as to why they are not mak­ing progress.

Com­mu­ni­cate Speech Pathol­ogy has worked with stu­dents of all ages and types of dif­fi­cul­ties within hun­dreds of pub­lic, pri­vate, Catholic and in­de­pen­dent schools across all so­cio-eco­nomic lev­els and ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions.

Com­mu­ni­cate Speech Pathol­ogy can as­sist schools to tap into Gov­ern­ment and Medi­care fund­ing, while for schools with greater re­sources the com­pany can of­fer more com­pre­hen­sive, ex­tended pro­grams.

Ser­vices in­clude pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for teach­ers, so­cial skills pro­grams, speech and lan­guage ther­apy for in­di­vid­ual stu­dents, no-gap Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme funded ther­apy, kinder­garten screen­ings, ar­tic­u­la­tion small group ther­apy, and whole class lan­guage stim­u­la­tion for refugee chil­dren.

The com­pany also pro­vides sup­port for ADHD stu­dents in high school, as­sess­ments to ob­tain fur­ther fund­ing, sup­port for stu­dents with ASD in main­stream schools, and AAC for chil­dren in a sup­port unit.

Whole class, small group and in­di­vid­ual ses­sions are of­fered depend­ing on the cir­cum­stances of the school and what is most ben­e­fi­cial for the child.

A suc­cess­ful school ther­apy pro­gram boils down to the qual­ity of the ther­a­pist and their abil­ity to de­velop a strong, col­lab­o­ra­tive work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Prin­ci­pals and teach­ing staff in­volv­ing them in all as­pects of pro­gram­ming.

Em­pow­er­ing teach­ers to recog­nise and sup­port com­mu­ni­ca­tion dif­fi­cul­ties is key. Sup­port­ing teach­ers in the class en­vi­ron­ment and hav­ing them sit in on ses­sions is a large part of the ap­proach.

Com­mu­ni­cate Speech Pathol­ogy leaves a last­ing im­pact on the school well af­ter ther­apy pro­grams are com­pleted.

The com­pany’s mo­bile model also en­sures that ther­apy is not just left at the school gates. Com­mu­ni­cate Speech Pathol­ogy works with chil­dren at home to gen­er­alise new skills to all en­vi­ron­ments, as­sist par­ents in un­der­stand­ing their child’s dif­fi­cul­ties and help them suc­ceed in their aca­demic jour­ney.

More in­for­ma­tion can be found at: www.com­mu­ni­cate­speech.com.au.

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