What does a speech pathologist do?


A paediatric speech pathologist is a university-trained health professional who evaluates and treats children who have difficulty with speech or language.Although people often think of speech and language as the same thing, the terms actually have very different meanings.

If your child has trouble with speech, he or she struggles with the “how-to” of talking; the coordination of the muscles and movements necessary to produce speech.

Speech difficulties might cause your child to lisp, stutter or mispronounce sounds.

If your child has trouble with language, this doesn’t mean he or she can’t speak English! Instead, it means your child struggles with understanding what he or she hears or sees.

If your child has language difficulties, you might notice their struggle to hold a conversation or to find and organise words in a meaningful way to communicate their message.

Some speech pathologists also evaluate and support children who have difficulty swallowing food or liquid.

These speech pathologists can help identify what part of the swallowing process is making it difficult for your child to eat (for example, chewing, manipulating food with the tongue, coordinating their mouth and throat structures and muscles, breathing appropriately while eating).

Want to know more about the speech and language disorder that affect children?

Free Fact Sheet – Common speech and language disorders in children

How to find a Speech Pathologist
If you are concerned about your child’s speech, language, and/or swallowing, a paediatric speech pathologist may be able to help.

Your local children’s community health service or hospital will have speech pathologists on staff.

Your family doctor can also recommend a speech pathologist in your area.

Speech Pathology Australia also provides a search engine to help you find a speech pathologist in your area:

Kids First’s team of paediatric speech pathologists are located in Sydney’s northern beaches.

Call us on (02) 9938 5419 to make an appointment for your child.

Resource: Susie S. Loraine, Super Duper Publications, What is a Speech- Language Pathologist?

We’re here to support you and your child - no matter what.

Chat to us today

School Ready: get the guide for school readiness you've been looking for