Guest blog written by Lauren Reinhardt, Director and Speech Pathologist for North Shore Speech Therapy
Have you ever wondered what a Speech Pathologist actually assesses and treats? Well, Paediatric Speech Pathologists can manage all types of communication and feeding difficulties. This includes (and is not necessarily limited to):
- receptive language (understanding what people say to you)
- expressive language (expressing yourself through sentences)
- literacy (reading and spelling)
- written language
- social skills
It might seem a little overwhelming that a Speech Pathologist can assess and treat all of those things. What do they even mean? Let’s delve a little deeper into some of the main areas of their focus:
What speech pathologists focus on?
Speech (or “articulation and phonology”) refers to the way that your child pronounces their sounds. It plays a vital role in your child’s development as they can become easily frustrated if they are not being understood. For example, if your child has a lisp, they might say the word “sun” as “thun”. By the day your child turns 3 years old, people outside of the family should easily be able to understand him/her. However, speech difficulties can be identified earlier than age 3 years. For example, if you have a child who is less than 1 year who is not babbling much. Or, at age 2 years, if your child does not have many sounds in their repertoire.
Language comprehension or receptive language refers to the understanding of a spoken or written message. A child with a receptive language disorder might have difficulty following long instructions, might not understand their homework, or might seem to day-dream and copy what other children are doing.
Expressive language refers to the ability to convey a spoken or written message. A child with an expressive language disorder might have difficulty expressing their thoughts or ideas clearly, might struggle to find the right words to use or use non-specific language like “thingy” and “stuff”, or they might write very brief or incomplete sentences.
Did you know that Speech Pathologists can identify children who are at risk for reading and spelling difficulties from preschool age? A child with literacy difficulties may be reluctant to read or write, struggle to remember letters or words when reading or spelling, and may appear to guess words frequently when reading or writing.
Speech Pathologists are able to use a mixture of formal and informal assessment tools to identify difficulties in these areas and use evidence-based treatments to address these difficulties. They work alongside you and your child to help them achieve their goals.
Lauren Reinhardt is a Speech Pathologist and mother. She is the Director of North Shore Speech Therapy, an awesome team of speechies located in Neutral Bay, Chatswood and Hornsby. Lauren has presented nationally, co-authored resource books and her team regularly consults for the Department of Education and Independent schools around Sydney.
Check out North Shore Speech Therapy on Facebook for weekly tips and updates!
Lauren is passionate about changing lives by helping families improve their communication.
“Children entering school with more words do better socially, emotionally and academically. Every child deserves to understand and express themselves and every parent deserves to learn how to help their kids achieve this.” Lauren Reinhardt