Clear pronunciation of speech sounds


Speech sounds affect reading and writing 
  • If a child is unable to say some sounds clearly, they are probably going to have trouble learning to read and write using those sounds
    • Imagine: If a child says 'tat' for 'cat', then when their teacher asks them to sound out 'cat', they will say 't-a-t', and spell it 'tat'.


Speech Pathology sessions can teach children to say and hear the correct sounds.  This helps them to continue on their reading and writing journey.


Speech sounds affect language 
  • Children who have trouble speaking clearly often use very simple language.
    • Imagine: you are a 5 year old who wants to tell your Mum about a game you played at school.  You know that it is hard to get her to understand what you say.  You could say, "Mum, today my friends and I went to the fort and pretended we were pirates and I found the treasure and then my friend and I sailed back to our pirate island."  If you did, Mum wouldn't understand.  So instead, you say "Me pirate. Got treasure!"
  • The longer children use this very simple language, the more they miss out on opportunities to learn complex grammar and new words.
    • This makes it difficult for them to use the right kinds of words and sentences in their reading and writing at school.


Speech Pathology sessions can help children to use sounds clearly and try to use new words and types of sentences.  The earlier this starts, the easier it is for the child to learn.


Speech sounds can affect social skills 
  • Children who can't make themselves understood often become frustrated or angry.  Sometimes this makes them show their feelings in a physical way, like pushing or kicking.
  • Some children who can't make themselves understood choose to withdraw from other people, playing on their own and not talking when asked.
  • Sometimes children can become embarressed or self concious about their unclear speech. 


Speech Pathology sessions can help the child to make themself understood.  This usually has a positive impact on the child's ability to interact with other people, helping them to be less frustrated.


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Listening and Understanding

  • Children understand words before they can say them
  • A child's understanding is usually better than their speaking
  • Children can be experts at pretending they understand more than they really do, by:
    • Looking around for clues
    • Watching gestures and hand movements
    • Following along with other children
    • Following a set routine


Understanding affects learning
  • A child who has trouble understanding what is said to them, will have difficulty:
    • Following instructions in class
    • Understanding what they read
    • Keeping up with conversations with adults and friends


Speech Pathology sessions may help your child to understand what is said to them at home and in school, so that they can keep learning.


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 Talking refers to the ability to express yourself clearly, including:

  • Ideas, thoughts and feelings
  • Specific messages
    • For example, "Mum, can I go to my friend's house after school tomorrow?"


Talking is crucial to a child's social and emotional development, as it allows:

  • Release of internal thoughts and feelings
  • Processing (thinking about) problems and questions
  • Engagement with friends, parents, siblings and other adults


Talking helps learning, through

  • The ability to ask questions and participate in class
  • Being able to say what you don't understand about a task


If a child has difficulty talking, they may show one or more of the following:
  • Trouble finding the right word at the right time
  • Using 'vague' language
    • For example, using lots of general words, like 'that one, it and thing', rather than specific words like names of objects
  • Difficulty remembering new words
  • Poor grammar
    • For example, using 'him' for both boys and girls, or continuing to use 'me' instead of 'I'
  • Using simple or incorrect sentence structure
    • For example, saying "me got toy!" instead of "I found a new toy today"
  • Problems with emotional development
    • Difficulty expressing self can result in frustration, anger, distress or becoming withdrawn


Speech Pathology sessions can help a child to learn new words, put them together in sentences and improve their ability to express their thoughts, ideas and other specific messages.  This will help the child interact with other people and improve their general learning.


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Reading and Writing

Learning to read and write can be a long and complex task.  If your child is having trouble learning to read and write, there is a large range of factors that could be holding them back.


Speech Pathologists are trained to carefully assess many factors that affect reading and writing, and provide the right kind of treatment. 


Here are some areas where Speech Pathologists can help:
  • Awareness of sounds in words
  • Reading long or short words
  • Understanding what is read
  • Spelling
  • Writing sentences, paragraphs or stories
  • Promoting a love of reading and writing



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There are different types of stuttering.  Some stutters go away on their own without treatment.  Other types of stutters do not go away on their own, but do go away after Speech Pathology treatment.


This means it is tricky to compare your child's stutter to your friend's child.  They may not have the same kind of stutter.



Some general facts about stuttering:
  • Stuttering is genetic
  • Stuttering starts when the child is 3
  • All stutters get worse when the child is tired, excited or during big life changes (like moving house or starting school)
  • Stutters are extremely variable - they can be really bad one week and quite mild the next
  • You either have a stutter or you don't - "a bit of a stutter" is still a stutter
  • It is not possible to stutter while singing


When to seek help
  • The earlier treatment starts, the easier it is to get rid of the stutter completely
  • It is better not to wait until the stutter gets really bad, this just means it will take longer to treat
  • If in doubt, ask a Speech Pathologist for advice


Speech Pathology sessions can help to get rid of the child's stutter over time.


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