CliniKids offers a range of Speech Pathology, Psychology and Occupational Therapy services, including autism specific programs and interventions. Find out more about our services using the drop down menus below.
Speech pathologists focus on developing children’s communication skills. The benefit of working with a speech pathologist is that they are specifically trained to analyse speech, language, and social communication abilities; set individualised goals; and advise on optimal treatment approaches. Parents are involved in all aspects of speech pathology sessions, and teaching parents how to help their children outside sessions is part of the process.
A range of different treatment approaches are used in speech pathology. This means the amount of structure in sessions varies according to the approach. Therapy ranges from being naturalistic and child-led through to semi-structured or highly-structured formats in some cases. Decisions about which treatment approach offers the most effective teaching depend on a child’s developmental and functional communication needs, the research evidence, and family discussions.
Our experienced Speech Pathologists provide therapy across all domains, with specialist skills in:
This is where a child struggles to learn vocabulary and use sentences as easily as their peers. Children may also have difficulties understanding questions, instructions, and stories. Some children may be verbal but still need help with their language skills. Other children may need a different communication system (e.g., pictures, signs, communication books or electronic devices).
Speech sound difficulties
This is when a child’s speech is hard to understand. Depending on age and ability, a child may be mildly unclear or may have trouble making many sounds. There are different types of speech sound disorders such as phonological disorders, articulation disorders, and childhood apraxia of speech, sometimes known as dyspraxia (difficulty with coordinated muscle movements required for speech).
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
If an individual does not possess enough verbal langauge to clearly express their thoughts, feelings and ideas, a speech pathologist may work with them to explore alterative or additional methods of communication. AAC systems can range from unaided systems such as gesture, to simple picture-based systems, all the way up to high tech communication systems or a combination of systems. Prescription and implementation of AAC systems requires input from specially trained Speech Pathologists.
The aim of Occupational Therapy is to assist each individual to become as independent as possible with everyday skills. A child may benefit from Occupational Therapy if they have difficulties in any of these areas:
Fine motor skills e.g. handwriting, cutting, using fork and knife, threading beads, tying shoe laces, doing up buttons
Gross motor skills e.g. walking, running, skipping, kicking a ball, throwing and catching, sitting in a chair, riding a bike
Play and social skills
Visual motor skills required for reading and writing
Sensory processing e.g. being sensitive (avoiding) or being under responsive (seeking) to noise, smell, light, taste, touch and/ or movement
Emotional regulation and behaviour
Skills required for school participation e.g. attention, concentration, homework
Occupational Therapists work closely with the child and parents/ carers during the process which involves the use of standardised and non-standardised assessments, goal setting, intervention and ongoing review of progress. Occupational Therapists also work in close collaboration with teachers and other health professionals.
Occupational Therapists will often work directly with the child (one on one or group therapy sessions) to develop specific skills e.g. to improve handwriting. Occupational Therapists may also work closely with the parents to assist with skills at home e.g. around mealtimes or areas of self-care by upskilling the parents/ carers. Occupational Therapists may also make recommendations around changes in the environment e.g. adapt cutlery or seating to promote independence.
Children with Autism can benefit from Occupational Therapy in many ways. For example, an Occupational Therapist can help understand the sensory challenges a child may experience and adapt the environment accordingly or an Occupational Therapist may work with a child to find calming activities to help with their self-regulation. If you would like to know if your child may benefit from Occupational Therapy, please contact our team.