Updated: Apr 20
Communication is a big part of everyday life. And speech and language skills can be an essential tool for learning, understanding and communicating your wants and needs. Some people may experience challenges with speech and language, which can make it difficult for them to communicate effectively. Speech pathology can assist those wanting to develop their speech and language skills and their confidence in communicating with others.
What is the role of a Speech Pathologist?
Speech pathologists (also known as speech therapists) are a university qualified health professionals with expertise in communication using speech and language. It’s important to know, there is a difference between ‘speech’ and ‘language’. Speech is how we say words, and language is about how we use those words to communicate. Speech pathologists aim to provide assistance with verbal and non-verbal communications through speech, communication, listening, understanding, and social skill development.
How can a Speech Pathologist help me?
If you experience challenges with communication, a speech pathologist can work with you to offer a range of supports for a variety of challenges related to communication and the use of language.
Some areas that a speech pathologist can work with you on are:
Unclear speech – exercises to improve the quality of voice and/or voice retraining
Stuttering – speech techniques to join words together and strategies for managing situations and anxiety that may cause a stutter
Swallowing or chewing difficulties – exercises to help strengthen tongue, mouth and throat muscles and guidance on easy to swallow foods
Speech sounds – techniques to create sounds and exercises for sounds that are difficult
Communication Assistive Technology – assistance finding the right Assistive Technology (AT) or aid and instruction on how to use the AT
Language and literacy – using the right word at the right time and assistance with reading and writing skills
Speech pathologists will typically conduct as assessment of your abilities and develop a program to help increase skills in speech, language and communication specific to your needs. If assistance is needed with swallowing or feeding, they can provide the appropriate exercises and techniques.
Speech Pathology, the NDIS and funding
Speech pathology can be funded under the NDIS as long as it is considered to be reasonable and necessary, and the support is being provided by a trained professional. Under the NDIS, speech pathologists with appropriate skills and training can provide services to NDIS Participants.
Some of the services provided by speech pathologists and supported under the NDIS may include:
Risk assessment, intervention and development of management plans for participants with swallowing difficulty in supported independent living (SIL)
Assessment, prescription and education to families, carers and teachers for AT to assist with communication
Assessment of therapy programs to help participants with goals their around communication and cognitive development
Speech pathology falls under the NDIS funding support category known as Capacity Building Supports. The amount of NDIS funding that a participant may be eligible to receive is determined by the impact of their disability on a day-to-day basis, their current level of abilities and capacity, the support networks they have in place, and their goals.
An example of a speech pathology related goal might be:
I would like to communicate clearly and with more confidence with my family, friends and the wider community.
For the NDIS to consider funding things like speech pathology, they will consider the goals you outlined in your Planning Meeting or Plan Review. This is why it is so important to know your goals and be prepared during these meetings.
Speech Pathology and Plan Management
While all speech pathologists must be university qualified, they don’t all need to be NDIS registered to provide you with the tools and techniques you need. If you NDIS Plan is Agency Managed (meaning your funding is managed by the NDIS) then you will only have access to NDIS registered service providers. If you are Self or Plan Managed, then you have access to both registered and unregistered service providers, which gives you greater choice and control over which service providers you choose to engage.
Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.