Speech therapy in Sydney
Sydney is Australia’s largest city and is home to an abundance of speech therapy services. To become a speech therapist (also known as speech pathologist), one must complete a university degree at the Master or Bachelor level. Speech therapists are found in diverse range of settings and work with people of all ages and medical conditions. Public and private hospitals, primary and secondary schools, private practices, health centres and clinics are often where speech therapists who are funded by the NDIS work.
What does speech therapy involve?
A speech therapist is a trained professional with experience in determining and administering treatment for all types of communication disorders. Speech therapists can commonly work with other medical and allied health professionals and work with children and adults who have problems in literacy (reading, writing), speaking and using voice, social skills, stuttering and fluency, listening and awareness about the proper use of language.Speech therapists also engage with people who have suffered from conditions such as heart attack, stroke or other brain or physical injuries, that may have affected their speech or swallowing functionality.
While speech therapists work with adults and children alike, children more frequently collaborate with speech therapists as these difficulties often show up during childhood, prompting earlier intervention. In children, perhaps the easiest way to think about how speech therapy can help can be divided into three key areas:
- Difficulties in literacy: Teaching the child to read, write and spell, improve vocabulary, overall understanding of language and fluency in speech.
- Language difficulties: Help children with problems in expressive language, children who have developed speech late, language impairments, auditory processing issues and social communication disorders. Children with problems comprehending spoken language or have poor ability to structure sentences properly, can benefit from speech therapy.
- Speech problems: Work on difficulties with articulation delays, fluency (stuttering, repetitive behaviours), speech apraxia, or bizarre or unusual speech.
Is speech therapy covered by the NDIS?
After the implementation of the NDIS inNew South Wales in 2016, more and more services offering speech therapy have been appearing. If a client has the fitting and adequate funding in their NDIS plan, it is possible to get NDIS funded speech therapy in Sydney. Speech therapy belongs with the other allied health therapies, which is categorised in the ‘capacity building’ class of supports. The NDIS is how Australian residents with a permanent medical condition or disability can assume increased assistance so that they have the opportunities to live the kind of lifestyle they want.
As with any funding, it is up to the participant to manage their NDIS funded speech therapy in Sydney. As your budget is finite (NDIS plans are usually for one-year duration), it is crucial that you identify and prioritise your primary goals. This can ensure that you adopt the services that you need most first. If you believe that your funding is scarce for your needs, it is possible to request an early review of your plan from the NDIS, although ultimately there is no guarantee that they will extend your funding. In the review process, you will need to demonstrate documented evidence of why more resources are required, which involves arranging reports, assessments or support letters from relevant therapists or doctors.
What does NDIS funded speech therapy in Sydney involve?
If you have appropriate NDIS funding and want to employ a speech therapist, the first step is to locate a speech therapist that you want to engage with. It is not necessary to have a referral from a doctor to commence speech therapy. Since the launch of the NDIS, there has been an influx of new allied health services that have entered the market.
Once you have an NDIS funded speech therapist in Sydney to commence therapy with, a time for an initial meeting or assessment will be organised. Depending on your disability, needs and reasons for wanting speech therapy, the therapist may want to perform an assessment before commencing therapy. Standardised tests can be beneficial to discover the individual’s current functional level regarding their communication skills, and their results can be compared to averages within their peer group. The assessment’s outcomes can then be utilised to design the person’s therapy needs and goals, along with direct collaboration with the client and their family/carers and other relevant support networks. This ensures that the person’s treatment is specifically catered to their personal requirements.
The amount of speech therapy a client needs will vary from person to person. Chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy or intellectual delays/disabilities commonly lead to a long-term need for therapy, however this also greatly depends on the severity of the person’s condition. Some clients will also need regular therapy sessions (e.g. weekly or fortnightly), while others may only need therapy for a short time (e.g. for a few months following a stroke) or require irregular sessions (e.g. less than once a month).