What does a paediatric speech pathologist assess and treat?

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A paediatric Speech Pathologist can manage all types of communication and feeding difficulties. This includes (and is not necessarily limited to):

It might seem a little overwhelming that a Speech Pathologist can assess and treat all of those things. What do they even mean? Let’s delve a little deeper into some of the main areas of their focus:


Speech (or “articulation and phonology”) refers to the way that your child pronounces their sounds. It plays a vital role in your child’s development as they can become easily frustrated if they are not being understood. For example, if your child has a lisp, they might say the word “sun” as “thun”.  By the day your child turns 3 years old, people outside of the family should easily be able to understand him/her. However, speech difficulties can be identified earlier than age 3 years. For example, if you have a child who is less than 1 year who is not babbling much. Or, at age 2 years, if your child does not have many sounds in their repertoire.

Receptive language

Language comprehension or receptive language refers to the understanding of a spoken or written message. A child with a receptive language disorder might have difficulty following long instructions, might not understand their homework, or might seem to day-dream and copy what other children are doing.

Expressive language

Expressive language refers to the ability to express yourself through a spoken or written message. A child with an expressive language disorder might have difficulty expressing their thoughts or ideas clearly, or use non-specific language like “thingy” and “stuff”, or they might write very brief or incomplete sentences.


A paediatric Speech Pathologist can identify children who are at risk for reading and spelling difficulties from preschool age. A child with literacy difficulties may be reluctant to read or write, struggle to remember letters or words when reading or spelling, and may appear to guess words frequently when reading or writing.

Speech Pathologists use a mixture of formal and informal assessment tools to identify difficulties in these areas and use evidence-based treatments to address these difficulties. They work alongside you and your child to help them achieve their goals.