Speech Pathology

Speech Pathologists assess, diagnose, treat and help prevent difficulties related to speech, language, social communication, voice, swallowing and fluency.

We can help with your child's:




What is Speech Pathology?

Speech Pathologists are allied health professionals with skills in the assessment and management of communication, feeding and swallowing difficulties. They are trained in a variety of areas and work with children and young adults of all ages to overcome communication struggles and learn healthy habits. Speech Pathologists are able to identify, assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of areas and create ongoing treatment plans to ensure healthy development in children and adolescents.

Speech Pathologists can support children and families with the following:

  • Speech difficulties
  • Language difficulties
  • Literacy difficulties
  • Social communication difficulties
  • Stuttering and voice difficulties
  • Swallowing and feeding difficulties

When should you take your child to see a speech pathologist?

As children learn and develop through interacting with everyone around them, it is important to ensure that we are all aware – as parents, family members, educators and health professionals – of what the red flags are for their developmental milestones. According to Youthrive Speech Pathologist Emily Campbell, early intervention is the key to helping children reach their full potential. Here at Youthrive, we’ve put together a list of red flags to help you identify whether your child would benefit from speech pathology.

18 months

An average child can:

  • Say four to eight clear words
  • Copy different sounds and noises
  • Try to sing
  • Babble long sentences with some clear words
  • Point to named pictures

Signs of possible problems include:

  • No clear words
  • No babbling
  • They don’t try to interact using language
  • Can’t understand a single, short request like ‘Where is the ball?”
  • They don’t know their own name

2 years

An average child can:

  • Say 20-50 clear words
  • Say clear, two-word sentences
  • Name pictures and objects when asked
  • Follow two-step commands
  • Show a broad understanding (receptive vocabulary) of 50 or more objects and pictures
  • Show interest in books and stories

Signs of possible problems include:

  • Limited vocabulary (less than 10 words)
  • No combination of words into sentences
  • Most of what is said is not easily understood
  • Confused by short sentences
  • Can’t understand more than 10-20 words
  • No interest in stories and books

3 years

An average child can:

  • Name objects and body parts
  • Talk without just repeating what you say
  • Be understood almost all of the time
  • Use different types of words correctly
  • Define things by use (house, key, etc.)
  • Give their first name
  • Follow three-step instructions
  • Identify two colours

Signs of possible problems include:

  • Persistent copying in talking (such as repeating parts of movies, etc.)
  • Mostly can’t be understood
  • Limited grammar or vocabulary
  • Limited content, interest or variation in the language
  • Can’t follow two or three step instructions
  • Still need to talk to them in simplified ‘baby’ language

4 years

An average child can:

  • Use two or more personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, etc.)
  • Name colours and shapes
  • Hold conversations
  • Tell stories in past and future sense
  • Repeat back a sentence of 10 sounds
  • Be easily understood by strangers
  • Understand human feelings (like cold, tired, hungry)
  • Give their first and last name
  • Understand prepositions (like in, out and beside)

Signs of possible problems include:

  • Awkward sentences, missing grammatical elements
  • Talks on and on and on rather than taking turns with talking
  • Can’t tell a simple story of recent events
  • Strangers are not able to understand them
  • Limited or very fixed interests
  • Frustration at not being able to express thoughts
  • You still need to simplify what you say for them to understand

5 years

An average child can:

  • Hold a long, sensible conversation
  • Make few grammatical errors
  • Understand opposites
  • Understand similarities between objects
  • Understand prepositions (like in, out, beside) and personal pronouns (like I, you, he, she)

Signs of possible problems include:

  • Regular trouble with finding individual words
  • Often makes grammatical mistakes
  • Unable to respond to questions (like what, why)
  • Can’t understand or explain meanings of common words
  • Mistakes with grammar, tense, personal pronouns or prepositions
  • Concerns from pre-school teachers about whether the child is able to understand
  • Unable to repeat longer sentences (eight words or more)

What to do if you have concerns

If you have any concerns about your child, and they are presenting with red flags, referring your child to a speech pathologist can be an easy process. You can simply pick up the phone or send an email, and book in for your first appointment. To contact your nearest Youthrive centre, please click here. To find out more about the therapy process and what to expect, please click here.

How much does it cost to see a speech pathologist?

Youthrive is a fee paying service, however some Medicare and private health insurance rebates may be available. You do not require a referral to see a speech pathologist at Youthrive, however if you have a referral from your GP, Pediatrician or Psychiatrist, you may be able to receive a rebate for our service. Click here to see our full fee schedule.

We can help children with

  • Improving their ability to be understood by others
  • Strengthening their skills in reading and writing
  • Overcoming difficulties with social communication skills
  • Increasing their comprehension including ability to follow directions
  • Creating or recommending assistive devices to support their communication
  • Safe swallowing of food and drink
  • Reducing their stuttering

Speech Pathology Assessments

Assessments may be informal and include observations of your child, consulting with your child’s school and completing questionnaires about your child. Formal or standardised assessments are used to assess overall achievement and compare a child’s performance with other children their age. Standardised assessments may take more than one session to complete.


Youthrive uses a range of informal and standardised assessments to assist with identifying articulation and phonological delays.

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Informal assessments such as play-based observations and check-lists may be used. Standardised assessments include:

The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals – A comprehensive assessment of a student’s language skills. This assessment determines the presence or absence of a language disorder, the nature of the disorder and strengths and weaknesses in a student’s language development. This assessment is valid for children 5 years of age to adults 21 years of age.

The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Preschool – Evaluates aspects of language necessary for preschool children to make the transition to the classroom. This assessment measures a broad range of expressive and receptive language skills and identifies the presence or absence of a language disorder. This assessment is valid for children 3 to 6 years of age.

The Preschool Language Scales – A comprehensive play-based developmental language assessment for children birth to 7 years 11 months.

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These assessments give an overview of the child’s phonological and phonemic awareness skills required for literacy development.

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These assessments review the way a child uses language within social situations.

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Rebates and Funding Programs

While Youthrive is a fee paying service, some Medicare and private health insurance rebates may be available for our services. Families are encouraged to speak with their GP and nominated health fund to find out whether they are eligible various rebates. Please note rebates listed below are subject to change without notice.

Chronic Disease and Complex Needs Initiative (Formerly known as Enhanced Primary Care Plan)
Follow Up Allied Health Services for People of Aboriginal - Medicare
Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) –Medicare
Better Start for Children with Disability – Medicare
Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) and Better Start for Children with Disability

We support families

Speech Pathologists at Youthrive utilise a number of evidence based therapeutic interventions when working with children and their families.  The intervention provided is dependent upon the child’s need.

Occupational Therapy & Speech Pathology Screening Sessions

This childhood screening package aims to assist early childhood educators and parents in identifying developmental challenges for children as early as possible.

To find out more, click here.

Learnersaurus Literacy Program

A multisensory approach to teaching literacy skills to all learners, including those with Dyslexia.

The Lidcombe Therapy

A behavioural treatment for children who stutter.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

PECS is a communication device for children. It is particularly useful for children on the autism spectrum.

Hanen ‘More Than Words’

Designed specifically for parents of children aged 5 years and under on the autism spectrum. The program provides parents with strategies to support their child to reach their full communication potential.

Hanen ‘It Takes Two to Talk’

Designed specifically for parents of children aged 5 years and under and whom have been identified as having a language delay. Parents learn strategies to assist their child’ learn language throughout the day.

Speech and language difficulties are common. Parent’s instincts are often correct and if you are worried about your child’s development it may be worthwhile booking in for an assessment. Alternatively seeking information on whether they are meeting their developmental milestones by talking with your General Practitioner or your child’s educator.

No, although a referral from your General Practitioner, Paediatrician or Psychiatrist may provide you with a rebate off the cost of the session.

You and your child attend the initial appointment together. This is usually an hour in duration. During the first appointment, your speech pathologist will ask detailed information about your child’s family history, health, development and education, and about the current concerns you have. They will complete an assessment to assist with identifying goals for therapy. You will also be asked to complete a consent form if this has not been completed previously. Please bring any referrals or previous reports along with you to the first session. Information about your child’s developmental history such as milestones will also be discussed.

Therapy is different for every child, but it may include direct work with your child and also strategies for you to put in place at home to assist your child’s speech and language development. Sessions may be 30, 45 or 60 minutes long depending on your child’s needs and attention. You and your child will receive homework to complete between sessions – completing these activities is a very important part of the gains your child will make in therapy.

Yes! It is important that you attend the sessions with your child. You will be taught techniques and provided with activities to continue on with at home.

All children learn at different paces and there is no ‘quick fix’. It requires hard work and commitment from families. The number of sessions required will be dependent on your child’s needs and how they progress through set goals. Improvements may be gradual and occur over a period of weeks or even months.

Our workshops & group sessions

Youthrive runs regular interactive workshops for parents, caregivers, educators and children providing a great opportunity to learn how therapy works, receive practical advice and gain support from other families with the same experiences.

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The Youthrive team are passionate about helping kids and young people reach their full potential.

Our dedicated team of qualified professionals provide a number of therapy services including Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Dietetics and Psychology. They have worked with clients with a range of needs and embrace Youthrive’s collaborative approach to therapy.

First Appointment

If you are a parent who has not had any experience with therapy services for your child, the process can seem quite overwhelming. Here’s what to expect at your first appointment.


Initial Consultation

The initial appointment is typically one hour in duration. Your child will attend this session for Speech Pathology, Dietetics and Occupational Therapy. For Psychology appointments you will need to check if your child is required for the initial consultation at the time of booking.


Information Session

The therapist will ask detailed information about your child’s family history, health and development, education and any concerns you may have.


Goals & Assessment

An assessment may be commenced during this initial appointment and goals for therapy will be established.