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What does a speech pathologist do?

Speech pathologists (also sometimes called ‘speech-language pathologists’) are university-qualified allied health professionals who work with people experiencing communication difficulties.

Some speech pathologists focus on working with children needing support to communicate effectively, including children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

A speech pathologist might be involved in assisting your family and child with:

  • correctly pronouncing sounds and words
  • using and understanding language in social situations
  • communicating in a way other people can understand
  • understanding what other people are trying to communicate
  • voice problems such as hoarseness, breathiness or stuttering
  • controlling voice volume, quality and pitch
  • literacy skills, including reading and writing.

They also help people with swallowing and feeding difficulties, which may be present if your child has a syndrome.

You don’t need a doctor’s referral to see one, but it’s wise to check in with your GP or child and family health nurse if you have any concerns about your child’s wellbeing or development. You can find a speech pathologist in your area on Speech Pathology Australia’s find a speech pathologist service, which includes a filter to look for one who focuses on working with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Helpful links:

Speech Pathology Australia

Find a speech pathologist. (Speech Pathology Australia)

Children's Communication Milestones (Speech Pathology Australia)