Speech Pathology Screen Assessments – Kindergartens
WHAT IS OUR GOAL?
We are offering Speech Pathology screen assessments for children who are at risk for speech, language, literacy and learning challenges. Children benefit greatly from the early identification, diagnosis and professional Speech Pathology support for these challenges in their early years as they prepare themselves for the maturational, developmental and educational requirements that school entry requires.
It is well understood that children with speech and language challenges can struggle significantly with learning and being able to use their communication as a tool in the classroom to gain more information to get them on their way with education success.
In 20 years of experiences as a clinical Speech Pathologists working with children, it is well proven that early Speech Pathology intervention WORKS … and Speech-language and early literacy challenges CAN BE CORRECTED. The longer they have been left untreated or “wired wrong” the harder it is to undertake the correction as the incorrect brain pathways become set in “concrete” and over patterned by the child in their talking. This is extremely frustrating for the child who first of all needs to undertake longer periods of therapy but has usually taken in a belief about themselves that they are not-fixable-a poor learner-or sound funny to others. This is soul destroying to see as a therapist-when the treatment is basically easy when we get started. Additionally, children that are left untreated for many years due to long waiting lists from government services or failure to attend treatment from financial and life challenges are then more expensive in the total budget for correction due to the complexity of the “faulty wiring” when they develop and mature their language further for communication.
So in short … now you see why we are passionate about the early assessment and treatment because as trained Speech Pathology professionals, our primary focus is correcting communication and literacy… because we see first hand the difference in children’s lives when it is provided compared with when it is not.
A screen assessment provided to you at your childcare centre or kindergarten may then lead to further information such as:
- a more in-depth assessment from the Speech Pathologist
- diagnosis and/ or recommendation for an assessment from another professional (eg. Paediatrician, Ent, audiologist, Occupational therapist, Psychologist, Physiotherapist
- recommendation for funding support based on this diagnosis
- recommendation for ongoing support or corrective treatment as recommended.
This may be :
o Individual sessions at the kindergarten (speechies on wheels) or at the Speech Pathology clinic (Once Upon A Time Therapy)
o Parent training groups
o Kindergarten training groups
o Group therapy at the kindergarten or at the Speech Pathology clinic Club House (ie. Club Yicketty Yack-Getting Talking on track )
Simply by placing your name, Kindergarten-childcare centre and email details in the porthole provide on the right you are then on our listing to provide you with information about:
- the screening service
- speechies on wheels
- parent training workshops
- kindergarten-teacher training workshops
- the sponsorship program (ZIP IT UP FOR KIDS) that is enabling children to be screened or be provided with Private Speech Therapy at a subsidised rate or free based on fund raising from the community.
WHO ARE WE?
Once Upon A Time Therapy is a team of currently 5 speech pathologist working within the Optimal Communications Group at our purpose built Speech Pathology centre in Jackman St Southport called “Once Upon A Time Therapy”. Katrine Elliott is an experienced Speech Pathology clinician with more than 20 years experience in clinical practice and in providing treatment to children in adults with communication and swallowing impairments to the Gold Coast and surrounding areas. We are currently launching our online service and internet programs that will also enable the reach to be further than the Gold Coast and more accessible for families who need the necessary support that Speech Pathologist can provide. This effort and dedication after 20 years to build and develop this service for the community from personal investment of time and private funding (not government funding) informs the public of how serious we are as health professionals in our commitment to supporting these individuals in any way we can.
WHY? There is a CURE for most speech, language and literacy impairments … and the benefits of the treatment ARE LIFE CHANGING. If you are not sure-ask someone who has attending the treatment.
For the past 20 years I have watched money be poured into research for a cure for many diseases and impairments and government support of so many other ailments whilst speech, language and literacy kids continued to miss out. These are the kids that make the greatest improvements with sometimes the least investment of time, money and effort…once it is invested.
Does this have an impact on the community?
Just paying attention to the statistics like 70 % of people in jail having literacy impairment is evidence enough that early intervention and support DOES have an impact. Soap box or no soap box… the therapy works if the treatment is matched to the diagnosis and undertaken by a professional who has the capability to provide that treatment-ie. a Qualified Speech Pathologist.
We are a private speech pathology company owned by Katrine Elliott, and we have expanded our clinic to build a purpose built speech pathology clinic called “Once Upon a Time Therapy” in the Jackman centre, right near Abrakadazzle.
The facility has been built as a children’s wonderland with featured rooms being “Snow white’s forest”, “Tarzan’s jungle”, “The frog princes palace” and the “Mad Hatters Tea Party Craft therapy room”. We also showcase the CLUB HOUSE, being our double story audiovisual group room holding our Phonic All Star characters for our group therapy, CLUB YICKETTY YACK-Getting Talking On Track, CLUB LITERACY and INWARD BOUND. Even our foyer and bathroom are being built with surprises for the family who visit us. Don’t forget to look out for the “genie bottle room” upstairs next to the “Knights parlor”.
WHAT DO WE OFFER?
We are currently able to offer you sponsored Speech Pathology screening services from qualified Speech Pathologists that can visit your child and meet with you at your childcare/kindergarten.
Please contact us if you feel your child is at risk or are presenting with speech, language, early literacy, learning and attention challenges.
We are able to do this as the sponsored fee for service, as it is supported by the “Zip It Up for Kids Sponsorship Program”. We usually value this screening service at $135 for a ½ hour screen assessment.
We are able to support a screen attendance at your kindergarten if you can arrange no less than 3 children to be assessed. The assessment will cost $60 per child ($75 is paid through our sponsorship program) and this will include an assessment with the child, a brief explanation of what was evaluated from the assessment and a screen assessment report for the kindergarten and the school that provides information about:
- Suspected diagnosis and/ or recommendation for an assessment from another professional (eg. Paediatrician, Ent, audiologist, Occupational therapist, Psychologist, Physiotherapist
- recommendation for funding support based on this diagnosis
- recommendations for ongoing support or corrective treatment as needed.
WHAT MAY COME OUT OF THE SCREEN ASSESSMENT?
We will meet with you at the kindergarten or contact you by phone after the assessment to discuss our findings. If we feel that your child is demonstrating communication challenges or we feel they are at risk, we may provide you with further information and recommendations such as:
- Individual sessions at the kindergarten or at the Speech Pathology clinic
- Parent training groups
- Kindergarten training groups
- Group therapy at the kindergarten or at the Speech Pathology clinic Club House (ie. Club Yicketty Yack-Getting Talking on track )
- Recommendation to see other Health Care Professionals
- Suggestions for finding further financial support or funding for therapy services to support the next steps forward
WHY ARE WE OFFERING THIS SERVICE?
As there are very long waiting lists for access into the Community Health Public assessment and treatment process for speech pathology services, this is an incentive to support children to access the necessary support and not need to wait. The wait can sometimes be 6-12 months and for a child this can be extremely devastating when it is the period of the maturation where their speech and language brain machinery is undergoing vital development. Failure to provide this support can jeopardise the child’s ability to develop and can cause error patterns in their speech to lock in and be far more challenging to correct at a later age…especially when it was easier when they were younger. The expense of this is often later in the hands of the family with extended periods of private speech pathology support given the restrictions to service for length of stay in Community Health when they do get an appointment and then later in the school setting from the Education Department when they reach school age.
SO HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS NEEDING THIS SERVICE?
As speech pathologists we can support children who are demonstrating challenges with the following areas.
- Hearing and auditory processing: The child’s ability to hear and how they process speech sounds and spoken information. Look out for children that are slower to respond, don’t follow instructions or struggle when there is more background noise.
Some children may also have sensitivity to noise and visual distractions.
- Articulation and phonological development: The pronunciation of their words in their speech. Look out for errors in their speech sounds and speech that is not clear to hear.
- Receptive vocabulary and receptive language– What words they know and understand the meaning of. Look out for children that struggle to follow instructions or misunderstand what you are saying. Some children may not be able to answer “wh” questions accurately…such as “what, who, when, where, why…as well as how”
- Expressive vocabulary: What words they can say and retrieve those words when talking in sentences. Look out for children who speak using sentences with lots of filler words… ” um…you know…the thingy…”
- Expressive language development: Their ability to speak in sentences. This includes not only their ability to construct a sentence or their syntactic skills, but their use of the grammatical words such as the development of words such as their pronouns (me/I, she/her, he/him, them/they), verb tense ( jumped, run/ran, eat/has eaten), copulars such as: is-are-be-am in sentences, auxiliaries-have/has/had.
- Pragmatic and social skills: This may include children that play on their own, do not seek to speak with people, who may have poor eye contact or may be sensitive to tones in a person’s voice. Some children may interrupt conversations, badger without learning social skills in their interactions, they may not be able to engage withholds their own age or not know how to interact naturally in a social way.
- Voice: Look out for children who have a consistently husky-hoarse or breathy voice. They also may be children who continuously yell inside and/or outside the room and this abusive behaviour on their voice may lead to development of nodules on their vocal folds.
- Fluency: Look out for children that can’t speak in a smooth and fluent way and may have hesitations, repetitions and blocks when talking.
- School immaturity for learning: Some children may be easily distracted, struggle to stay seated in a chair, may find it hard to sit for long periods with a straight back or without fidgeting and touching everything. They may display challenging behaviour that makes it harder to learn within the kindergarten group.
If there are any children who are demonstrating these challenges they can be placed on the early identification list for a screening assessment.
HOW DO I START THE PROCESS TO A SCREEN ASSESSMENT?
First, ensure you have entered your details in the porthole to the right. This is a free listing service. You can also directly email our clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know a little about your child, their challenges, their childcare-kindergarten centre and your availability so that we can start planning how to support you.
We will then be able to contact your childcare-kindergarten as they may also have other children needing support. We will need 3 children to be screen to allocate the booking. We will be able to forward an information pack to them and information to you that you will need to complete prior to confirmation of the assessment. This will include:
- A Screen assessment request form
- The parent permission form
These form can be sent back to us fax (07 55 284194) or pdf-email as we do need confirmation and payment prior to the booking being allocated.We can only provide the service when these documents are read, completed, signed and agreed to the terms and conditions.
When we have received a minimum of 3 for your centre, we can then allocate a time for the Speech Pathologist to visit. We then advise you of this time so that you can organise your schedule to meet us at the centre for the screen assessment.
DO I NEED TO BE PRESENT FOR THE SCREEN ASSESSMENT?
It is highly recommended that you, or another family member, be present for the screen assessment. The speech pathologist will be able to discuss finding, observations and recommendations that they observe at the time of the session and you will be able to ask any important questions at this time. Often the Speech Pathologist may also need to collect some specific details that they are raising as concerns and these may only be able to be answered by the parent based on the child’s birth, medical, developmental and educational history.
If you can not attend, then the Speech Pathologist will attempt to call you directly after the screen assessment to discuss what their findings were. A report is issued to you and your kindergarten to provide details of the evaluation and recommendations, however from experience, this is never as beneficial from directly speaking with the Speech Pathologist.
HOW DO I ARRANGE PAYMENT FOR THE SCREEN ASSESSMENT?
The subsidised screen assessment fee for $60 will need to be paid in advance prior to the session being booked by the Speech Pathologist. The families can pay for this by VISA, cheque or EFT directly to the clinic of which the details will be forwarded to you with the official invoice by email. A receipt will be provided at the time of the assessment.
CAN I CLAIM THIS AGAINST MY HEALTH FUND OR MEDICARE?
As the $75 component has not been paid by you but the Zip IT UP for Kids Sponsorship Program, no, you can not claim this amount. However, if your Health Fund pays you back less than $60, yes, you can claim this proportion. However, if you are requiring a comprehensive assessment later and your health fund pay back more than $60, I would wait and claim this invoice to gain the best refund.
You will need to contact your health fund to look at your refund entitlements for Speech Pathology.
Medicare does enable 5 subsidised sessions of approx $53 refund each calendar year for children who have been provided with an EPC plan (Enhanced Primary Care Plan) or Chronic Disease Management Plan. However, to be eligible for this you will need to be receiving treatment from 2 or more Health Professionals for a complex condition that last more than 6 months. Discuss this with your Speech Pathologist as to whether your child may be entitled for this to then contact your General Practitioner for the referral. So, no, you can not claim this by medicare until your child has been provided with a diagnosis.
WHAT IS ZIP IT UP FOR KIDS sponsorship program?
Information about Zip it up for Kids Sponsorship program and how it provides support for children with challenges with speech, auditory processing, listening, language, literacy challenges can also be accessed online at www.zipitupforkids.com.
As many know, speech pathologists are as rare as “goose teeth” in the community-hence why there is such a demand for the support and long waiting lists, so don’t wait to take up this opportunity which has been developed to support kids and families in our community.