Speech Pathology

Communication Assessment and Intervention
At Capable Kids, we only use a combination of the most up-to-date and cutting-edge standardised assessments combined with well-developed clinical observation and reasoning skills and collaborative interviewing with families and educators to ensure that your child is provided with a professional and comprehensive assessment service.

The Speech Pathology team are dedicated to ensuring they have the most up-to-date knowledge and often participate in pre-release testing for new tests. We have been involved in the CELF-5, CLEF-P3 and Bayley-4 standardisation projects and will participate in the CELF-P3 standardisation test in the coming months. Our comprehensive assessments will analyse your child’s receptive (comprehension) and expressive language skills, including vocabulary, sentence structure and discourse; articulation of sounds; oral function; feeding; voice; reading and written language or pre-literacy skills and social interaction ability. These findings are presented in a comprehensive report with specific recommendations.

Language Therapy
At Capable Kids we understand that language development varies from child to child, and some might experience challenges in this area. These challenges, associated with receptive and expressive language skills and can result in a condition known as Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).

The Beautiful Spectrum of Language Development
Language development, an intriguing and unique journey for each child, typically begins in infancy. Children naturally explore and absorb the world of words, sounds, and gestures around them. This journey is not a straight path; it comes with its curves and bends, reflecting the individuality of each child.
Receptive language skills involve understanding and interpreting language. From recognising simple labels and functions of objects to discerning associations between them, children gradually build on their comprehension. As they mature, they learn to understand multiple meanings, interpret information from conversations and stories, and draw inferences and predictions.
However, not all children follow the same pace or pattern in their receptive language development. Some may struggle to comprehend instructions or answer questions, often misinterpreted as attention or behavioural problems. Recognising these unique learning paths is crucial, as it allows for early support, preventing the child from feeling overwhelmed or isolated.

Expressive Language: Individual Styles and Challenges
Expressive language, the ability to articulate thoughts, feelings, and information, is another aspect of communication that varies among children. It’s a part of self-expression and allows children to communicate their understanding of the world.
Children with expressive language differences may take longer to say their first words or form sentences, find it challenging to use the correct grammar or find the ‘right’ word, or struggle with storytelling and writing tasks. Their way of expressing themselves might involve non-specific language, simpler sentences, or an unconventional use of descriptive words in their stories.

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)
When children experience significant differences in their language development that are not associated with any known biomedical condition, they may be described as having Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). DLD is amongst the most prevalent developmental variations, impacting 1 in 14 children. DLD can be considered an invisible lifelong disability, characterised by a person’s unique ways of understanding and/or expressing language. Although DLD seems to have biological and genetic roots, its precise cause remains undetermined. Children with DLD often demonstrate diverse learning styles. They are statistically more likely to experience challenges with mathematical concepts and with. It’s also not uncommon for these children to have concurrent conditions such as learning difficulties, ADHD, dyslexia, or mental health issues. With appropriate support that recognises and celebrates their unique strengths and addresses their specific needs, individuals with DLD can thrive in all aspects of life.

At Capable Kids, we believe that every child’s communication style is unique and valuable. We offer supportive strategies and tools to help children with language differences navigate their communication journey and achieve their goals. Our approach Speech Pathologists develop individualised support plans based on the child’s unique strengths, interests and preferences. In some cases, we may introduce alternative communication methods, such as sign language or speech-generating devices, depending on the child’s preference and comfort. We also engage parents and caregivers, offering them strategies to support their child’s language journey at home. Early recognition and support for children with language differences and DLD are essential.

Speech and Articulation Therapy
Research suggests that most children sound be able to make themselves understood by strangers by the time they are 3 years old.
Children with speech delay or disorder have difficulty articulating the sounds required to form words and sentences. These children may not have babbled as infants, and may drop sounds off words, leave whole parts out of words or substitute sounds in words. This makes it difficult for others to understand them, leading to frustration and possible social isolation. Speech sound delays and disorders should be treated as early as possible, as there is a great deal of research to suggest that children with speech sound difficulties are at a significantly higher risk of having literacy and reading difficulties once they start school.

Capable Kids can provide therapy using the following techniques:

  • Phonological therapy approaches
  • Articulation therapy approaches
  • Cued articulation
  • Nuffield Centre Dyspraxia Programme
  • REST
Stuttering Therapy
Stuttering, often referred to as stammering or fluency disorder, is a motor speech problem where a person may repeat single sounds (the b-b-b-boat) or whole words (I want want want that toy) in their conversations.

Stuttering is also characterised by prolongations of sounds (I took too long) or blocking, where the person speaking can’t get anything out. Research suggests the when treated early before a child goes to school, stuttering can be completely or significantly remediated. However, as a child gets older, it becomes significantly more difficult to treat. Some children will grow out of stuttering; however, the likelihood of this decreases if your child has been stuttering for more than 6 months, or if there is a family history of stuttering. We currently use a number of treatment protocols which are selected for each individual child based on their needs, family situation, length and type of stuttering. These include the Lidcombe Program, the Westmead Program, self-imposed time out and prolonged speech techniques.

Children who are slow to develop reading may have difficulty hearing and identifying the sounds in words, blending sounds together to form words, comprehending what they read or reading fluently.

Reading and literacy difficulties impact on all areas of a child’s academic progress as well as their confidence in social situations. Literacy difficulties are extremely treatable and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Capable Kids uses the following techniques to develop your child’s literacy skills:
• PreLIT
• Phonological Awareness Therapy
• Reading comprehension therapy including Cars and Stars.
• Lindamood Bell LiPS program
• Spelling instruction
Sounds Write

The Capable Kids Feeding Clinic is for children with diagnosed feeding disorders such as Paediatric Feeding Disorder or Avoidant/Restricted Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and those who may need extra support with feeding. Our Feeding clinic is unique in that we can offer input from the Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Psychology teams to assist families and young people in reaching their goals. Our therapy team have engaged in training around the different models of feeding therapy, such as Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) and Responsive Feeding. We offer a comprehensive, family-oriented assessment process and then work with you to develop strategies and goals that work for your child and family.
Social Skills
Children with language and other communication difficulties often have difficulties with social interactions.

This can cause challenges in one-on-one, group play and learning situations. These difficulties may include difficulties with turn-taking, impulsivity, perspective taking and relating to other people. Capable Kids use various social skills programs and techniques, including the Secret Agent Society and PEERS program. At Capable Kids, we respect that different neurotypes have different communication styles, which are equally valid. For many of our older clients, we describe these differences as similar to that of an X-Box and Play Station; both are excellent systems but operate on slightly different codes. When developing social communication goals, we do so with the family and young person, with the understanding that learning social skills outside of your natural communication style is like learning a new language. It can be a valuable skill when needed, but it does not always have to be used and can be exhausting.

Therefore, a lot of what we do in social skills interventions is educating and advocating for understanding different ways to interact socially and recognising that these are equally valid.

Voice Therapy
Voice disorders can have a huge impact on a child’s social and emotional wellbeing. The most common cause of a voice disorder in children is Vocal Nodules. These can arise from behaviours such as yelling when playing, screaming, reflux, and excessive throat clearing that cause the vocal folds to vibrate next to each other too tightly causing the Vocal Nodules to develop; you could think of them like blisters on your ankles from shoes rubbing!

There are many other voice disorders that may rise in children as well and with consultation from your ENT and potential subsequent voice therapy we aim to alleviate or remove the vocal pathology and the qualities of the voice that impact on a child’s development and wellbeing. Qualities in a child’s voice that may indicate a voice disorder include, hoarseness, breathiness, strain, and a loss of voice. Voice therapy includes a range of indirect therapies such as assessing a child’s vocal hygiene (i.e. vocal habits) and direct therapies such as vocal exercises to promote safe and efficient usage of your child’s vocal cords.