Child development Our approach Paediatric Speech Pathology Firstchance Paediatric Speech Pathology team aims to help children interact and communicate the most effective way they possibly can. We can provide support for children who: may not be using any words yet but communicating through pointing, reaching, gesturing (expressive language delay) may be using single words or short phrases and need support building on these to make longer sentences (expressive language delay) find it difficult to process information and instructions (receptive language delay) are having trouble producing their sounds accurately so people find it difficult to understand what they are saying (phonological/articulation/speech delay or disorder) may have a lot of language but find it difficult to have conversations and socialise with other children (pragmatics) are unable to tolerate a range of food types and textures (fussy eaters) are having difficulty eating and drinking safely (feeding difficulties) Things we do At Firstchance we work closely with a transdisciplinary team of therapists and educators to best support each child. Most importantly we involve parents in their child’s therapy as this is how children make the most progress. We understand that parents have the strongest connection with the child and know them better than anyone else. Our speechies will look at how the child is currently communicating and what the next step is for them to get their message across more easily and clearly. We will then work with the family and staff to understand the different ways the child is attempting to communicate, how to interpret these messages and how to respond to encourage further interaction. We will support each child’s communication in any environment and routine so that every interaction they have with a parent, therapist or educator is a natural learning opportunity for them. We aim to use play as much as possible and keep language learning fun for both the child and adult and use their interests and strengths so that they experience success as much as possible. We have a range of resources to help target specific language delays and can provide these in structures sessions, supporting the child to attend to task while facilitating their higher level language skills. At Firstchance we strongly encourage families to start intervention as early as possible for the best outcome. We support interaction and early communication development in babies and toddlers all the way through to school age where children may need our help to successfully participate in the classroom curriculum or develop social skills to build friendships with their peers. Our therapists can also provide individualised strategies for feeding difficulties and food fussiness from birth to school age. Our speech pathologists are always looking to further their skills through various training to help support children and their family with communication, speech, feeding and behavioural challenges. Some of the programs we are certified to provide include Hanen® – It Takes Two to Talk, More Than Words, TalkAbility, Learning Language and Loving It and Target Word Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) books Key Word Sign Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) feeding approach Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) therapy Secret Agent Society computer program We service the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens region and can provide services in your home, Early Childhood Education Setting, School, Community Setting or our Clinic located in Mayfield. Our specialised Paediatric Speech Pathologists can work as part of your collaborative team of: Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Specialist Educators, Family Workers and Developmental Support Workers. We are able to provide private Speech Pathology services for families who do not have access to government funded supports.