If you or your child have problems communicating with other people, then a speech pathologist might be able to help. Speech pathology can improve quality of life by helping someone to communicate better with friends, family and others.
What is speech pathology?
Speech pathology aims to help people who can’t communicate effectively.
Speech pathologists can help you if you have problems with speech, language, communication, fluency or your voice. They often work with children helping a child’s speech develop.
Speech pathology can also help if you have problems swallowing food or drinking safely.
They can also help with augmentative and alternative communication, in which they help people who have trouble speaking find other ways to communicate.
You don’t usually need a referral from your doctor to see a speech pathologist. But in some situations, Medicare will cover some of the costs of your speech pathologist appointments if they are arranged through a chronic disease management plan prepared by your GP.
Conditions that a speech pathologist might be able to assist with
A speech pathologist can help with communication or swallowing difficulties associated with:
- developmental delays in children
- learning problems
- a stroke or other brain injury
- intellectual disability
- cerebral palsy
- hearing loss
- other problems that affect speech and language
They can also help with other communication problems, such as stuttering.
How to find a speech pathologist
You could ask your doctor. Or you could find a speech pathologist by using the SPA’s find a speech pathologist service, or by calling SPA on 03 9642 4899 or 1300 368 835.
healthdirect has a Service Finder that lists speech pathologists and other health services in your area.
You can ask a speech pathologist about their education and training, and their fees. You might also want to ask how often or for how long you may need to see them.
How much will it cost?
Costs vary. Ask before you start.
Medicare might cover some of the costs, but only if your doctor refers you.
If you have private health insurance, some of the costs might be covered. Ask your health fund.
Children with a disability, and their carers, might be entitled to help through programs like the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). You can call the NDIS for more information on 1800 800 110.
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Last reviewed: May 2020