Kids learn language at different rates, however if their language development is not reaching the milestones they are regarded as having a language delay.
Some language delays are associated with disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and learning impairment.
For instance children with ASD may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what other children say to them. The ability of children with ASD to communicate and use language depends on their intellectual and social development.
If a doctor suspects a child has ASD or another developmental disability, they will refer on to a speech language pathologist who will perform a comprehensive evaluation of the child’s ability to communicate.
Their assessment, diagnosis and treatment is based on the child’s individual needs to provide them with the right type and amount of therapy needed.
Once therapy has begun, therapists work with the child and their family and provide a fun-based program for continuing at home.
The cost of speech therapy can be expensive, however it can be provided at no direct cost via various funding sources such as through medicare if you have a chronic health management plan, or early intervention funding where you can access the Better Start initiative or Helping Children with Autism funding.
With the pending NDIS starting on the Sunshine Coast in 2018/19, early intervention participants can receive appropriate therapeutic supports which may be a blend of medical and disability therapy supports. Access to funding is based on eligibility.
The Sunshine Coast has numerous registered therapists who either work as sole providers or as part of a therapy or developmental centre where a committed team of allied health professionals work together to provide co-ordinated specialist care for children and their families.
Early intervention programs such as Baby Bridges are offered freely where a small group of children from the ages of birth to six years of age, can access a two-hour playgroup over a six-week period where both a physio and speech therapist attend to assess children with a newly diagnosed disability or for some who have not yet been diagnosed.
Speech Pathology Australia have created a Milestones kit which provides information sheets that are a useful tool to start a conversation about a child who maybe having difficulty with their speech, language and communication.
They can be downloadable from their website www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au
The information sheets and poster outline how early childhood educators and speech pathologists can work together to ensure that children reach these milestones with the expected timeframes.
The kit also presents information on the role of speech pathologists.
For more information on Baby Bridges, the NDIS or Therapy, please contact Sunshine Butterflies on 5470 2830 or visit www.sunshinebutterflies.com.au