What is Speech Pathology (Speech Therapy)?

Speech Pathology relates to the diagnosis, management and treatment of individuals who are unable to communicate effectively or who have difficulty with feeding and swallowing.

Speech Pathologists (or Speechies, as we like to call ourselves) do all sorts of things related to communication! We assess speech, language, literacy and non-verbal communication skills. We can help with communication difficulties such as speech clarity (articulation), stuttering, receptive and expressive language disorders, dyslexia and dysgraphia – and the best way to treat them.

How can Sum Of Us Kids Speech Pathologists help?

Autism and Social Communication

Our speechies have extensive experience working with autistic children. We love helping our autistic children to communicate to the best of their abilities and embrace their individual strengths and differences. Our speechies have been trained in the following therapy approaches:
DIR Floortime
DIR relates to a Developmental, Individual-differences and Relationship-based model of understanding a child’s development. DIR Floortime is a specific technique to help parents follow the child’s natural interests and at the same time challenge the child towards great mastery of social, emotional and intellectual capabilities.
Hanen More Than Words
Hanen More Than Words is designed especially for parents of children ages 5 and under on the autism spectrum. The program provides parents with the tools, strategies and support they need to help their children reach their full communication potential. You can also undertake Hanen More Than Words via telehealth. Give us a call on 03 7012 5038 to find out more. There are many ways in which our speech pathologists can help your child develop confidence in social communication. A detailed clinical assessment will help identify your child’s strengths and needs, so we know how best to help them.


When a young child starts to stutter, it is important to find out whether it is a ‘normal disfluency’ (commonly seen in children learning to talk), or if it is a ‘stutter’, which is a cause for concern. Through assessment, our speech pathologists can help determine the best course of action for your child.
Lidcombe Program
Our speechies are trained in the Lidcombe Program, which is an evidence-based behavioural approach aimed at reducing stuttering in young children. The Lidcombe Program is administered by the parent in the child’s home environment. The treatment involves providing the child with feedback about their talking during fun activities, and the feedback the child receives is overwhelmingly positive. Parents learn how to do the program during weekly visits with their speech pathologist.

Treatment for Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

Language is used to communicate and convey meaning from one person to another. It can be spoken, written or signed. Difficulties with language can affect children of all ages. Very young children with a language disorder may have difficulties following directions, identifying and naming objects, asking questions or in using correct pronouns such as ‘he’ and ‘she’.
Hanen It Takes Two To Talk
Our speech pathologists are trained in Hanen: It Takes Two To Talk, which is a program that provides parents with skills and strategies to successfully stimulate their child’s language development.
Colourful Semantics

Colourful semantics is a therapy approach that is aimed at helping children to develop their grammar, but it is rooted in the meaning of words (semantics). Colourful semantics uses visual pictures and written words to help children how to formulate their own sentences.

The approach has 4 key colour coded stages. There are further stages for adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions and negatives.

  1. WHO – Orange
  2. WHAT DOING – Yellow
  3. WHAT – Green
  4. WHERE – Blue
ProLoQuo2Go and LAMP
At the Sum of Us Kids, our speechies believe in supporting children to communicate in the manner that comes more easily to them. Sometimes this is in words, but sometimes a child may prefer a visual communication method. We are trained in the use of the AAC programs ProLoQuo2Go and LAMP and provide training in these programs to children, parents and teachers to provide a holistic approach to the child’s communication.
Language Therapy for School-Aged Children
Older school-age children with a language disorder may have difficulties comprehending key points in classroom discussions, misinterpret assignment or test questions, and have difficulty drawing inferences from written text. The best approach to helping older children develop their language is to link therapy to classroom topics or areas of personal interest, to ensure it is motivating and relevant for them.

Therapy for Dyslexia (Reading) and Dysgraphia (Spelling)

Sum of Us Kids speech pathologists are trained in the following, evidence-based, explicit and systematic literacy approaches:

  • The Spalding Method
  • Multisensory Structured Language (MSL)

Each of these approaches is a holistic, developmental approach that encompass all the vital components of literacy development including phonological awareness, letter/sound relationships, reading & language comprehension, fluency and spelling.

Speech Pathology FAQs
When Speechies talk about ‘speech’ we are referring to three things: articulation/phonological skills, speech fluency and voice. We may help children to:
  • physically produce the individual sounds and sound patterns of their language (articulation).
  • produce speech without stuttering
  • produce speech with an appropriate vocal quality for their age and sex.
When a child cannot produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has voice problems, his is known as a speech disorder. While ‘speech’ relates to the physiological ability to make words, ‘language’ relates to the meaning carried by the words, and a child’s ability to understand the meaning (receptive language) or convey the meaning of words (expressive language. Language can be verbal (spoken) or non-verbal (signs, visuals, gestures or written words).

When a child has trouble understanding other people (receptive language), or explaining thoughts, ideas and feelings (expressive language), this is a Developmental Language Disorder.

Receptive Language Disorder

  • A receptive language disorder means that a child has difficulties understanding what is said to them. There is no standard set of features that indicate a receptive language disorder, as all children are different. However, symptoms may include:
  • Not seeming to listen when spoken to,
  • Parroting words and phrases,
  • Unable to follow spoken instructions,
  • Appearing to lack interest in storybooks read to them

Expressive Language Disorder

  • An expressive language disorder means a child has difficulty using words to get their message across. Symptoms of an expressive language disorder may include:
  • Making grammatical errors when talking,
  • Using shorter, simpler sentences than children their own age,
  • Being unable to ‘come to the point’,
  • Having difficulty retelling stories in an organised way,
  • Finding it hard to maintain conversations
  • A clinical assessment of language will help pinpoint the specific areas of language that your child is struggling with, in order that we can best support them in these areas.

Children develop at varying rates in all sorts of ways, including language, so there is no ‘set age’ where every child should talk. However, rather than “wait and see” it is a good idea to seek professional advice, particularly if your child is between 18 and 30 months and appears to have problems understanding language, uses very few gestures to communicate and is slow at learning new words.

Research evidence suggests that approximately 50% of all early readers require additional literacy support outside of the classroom, in order to master reading. This does not mean that these children have dyslexia, but it does mean that they may struggle to keep up with school reading and writing expectations without additional support. In young children, literacy difficulties may present as a lack of interest in books and nursery rhymes and a difficulty learning (and remembering) letter names. Older children and adolescents with poor literacy skills may present with difficulties comprehending school texts, interpreting test and exam questions, or reading aloud fluently. It is vital to help children with reading and spelling as early as possible, as difficulties can lead to poor self-esteem and disengagement from schooling.

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