Verbal communication is so important to modern life and work. Whether it’s a quick chat over the phone or an in-depth meeting, we constantly rely on speech to communicate ideas and, whether it’s intentional on the part of the listener or not, there’s always the feeling that we’re being judged on how we communicate.

Many people see speech pathologists for assistance with their communication skills. Often people assume that a speech pathologist is there to help people correct a lisp or a stutter, but the reality is that speech pathologists do that, and a lot more for their patients.

How do I work with a speech pathologist?
The typical speech pathologist will offer a broad range of services, and will be happy to walk you through the best options to treat your particular condition based on an initial consultation.

Some of these services will include:

1. Individual treatment – Ideal for people that need intensive training, or are uncomfortable in group settings.

2. Small group sessions – A useful way to build community between people with similar issues and allow them to work on a treatment together.

3. Workshops – Larger group settings that are ideal for people with more minor issues, or issues that they can work on by themselves after the workshop is concluded.

4. Home-based programs – For those that struggle to leave their homes, a speech pathologist might offer home visits for sessions in the comfort of home.

5. Teacher support – For teachers with students that need additional speech training, a speech pathologist might work closely with a school to offer specialised services, and help teachers understand how to continue to train and encourage students away from sessions

How a speech pathologist will work

The first thing that a speech pathologist will do is conduct an initial screening assessment. This will help them determine if there is a difficulty that requires a formal assessment. Should a formal assessment be needed, the speech pathologist will test across a number of areas, including:

  • Receptive language
  • Expressive language
  • Speech (including articulation)
  • Voice
  • Fluency
  • Social communication
  • Play (for children)
  • Feeding
  • Literacy (reading, writing, spelling and awareness)

This assessment might take a while – up to three hours in the most extreme cases, and the speech pathologist will also look into the history of the patient. From the assessment, the speech pathologist will produce a report, which will include suggested next steps for therapy and tips for parents and/or carers to support the patient away from the therapy sessions.

Following that, the speech pathologist will work with the family to establish a schedule of sessions, and further assessments (which will note progress made) will be conducted at regular intervals.

Pricing will vary. There are public services available that will be free. For private speech charge based on experience, expertise, and their track record. All pricing should be explained and agreed to upfront, before any assessments take place.

By working closely with a speech pathologist you’ll be able to communicate more confidently and clearly, and the impact this will have on your quality of life can be significant and rewarding.

Speech pathology is just one of the many services that we offer people living with a disability through Ability Options. Contact us for more information on our full suite of services.

Do you know someone who could benefit from our services?

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