Category: Blog

How to Make the Most of Your Child’s Speech Therapy Sessions

How to Make the Most of Your Child’s Speech Therapy Sessions

Hi again! We thought of coming up with a different blog post this time. Something that could benefit all parents, but especially those just starting out on their speech therapy journey. We love seeing our lovely clients regularly and it’s always a pleasure getting to know ‘our’ children and their families. Over the years we have noticed sometimes ‘small things’ can have a big impact on how well a child responds to their speech therapy session.

As we only see your child for a short time each week, we need to be able to make the most of your child’s speech therapy sessions, so we have compiled a list of simple things parents can do to help us get most out of your child’s speech therapy sessions:

  1. Make sure your child is well-fed prior to therapy

This sounds obvious – but sometimes is overlooked … and can greatly impact a child’s attention, listening and co-operation. Children can get lethargic, non-compliant or cranky, when they are hungry (hence the new word ‘hangry’!). Ensuring they have something to eat before coming to speech therapy will get them ready to focus, respond well and have lots of fun. Just like with adults … a hungry child is not a happy child!

  1. Figure out the best time for your child’s learning

Some adults are morning people while others enjoy sleeping in. Likewise, children may have such preferences too. You wouldn’t want to turn up at the clinic with your child half asleep in therapy. Many times, we have had a child fallen asleep in the car on the way to their therapy sessions. Some wake up way slower than others, and some a bit (lot!) cranky.

  1. Try not arrive late or rushed

Having a rushed schedule to get to your child’s speech therapy session may not set your child in the right mood to engage for a 30-minute to 45-minute session. If you can allow time to be able to arrive relaxed this will also to help your child start off their session in a more settled way

  1. Talk about the speech therapy session with your child before hand

Preparing your child beforehand, will help them to understand what to expect and help them to settle into the session more quickly – especially when your child is new to therapy. Our clients usually get into the routine of their sessions quite quickly, but it may take some children up to 3 sessions to adjust to this new environment. Remember that the therapist is also learning what works best for your child. We also adapt our sessions as we get to know your child and discover what works best with them.

  1. Sit in the sessions with your child

By and large you will get the most out of your child’s sessions if you sit in the sessions and join in with your child’s activities. You will be able to see the strategies used by your speech pathologist. We use different strategies for various purposes and sometimes a very specific way of doing an activity or supporting your child within an activity makes all the difference. When you participate in your child’s sessions this will help you to follow-up activities at home. Please note that being on your phone during the session can distract your child.

  1. Provide home Follow-up

This leads me to our next point: homework. In initial consultations and our first therapy sessions, we make it a point to let parents know the importance of home follow-up. The purpose of speech therapy is to achieve the goals in a variety of settings; and, of course, the home environment is one of the most important. We see more progress when parents are able to follow up their home activities consistently.Don’t be embarrassed about speaking to your therapist if you have difficulties carrying you’re your home practice activities. There are many ways of following up activities at home (there is another blog post in that!). We are experienced at working with children and have family lives too … and we know things don’t always go according to plan. If we know that your home follow-up is a struggle, we may have some little tricks to help you along or be able to adapt what we suggest make your home practice more successful and fun for all.

  1. Have open communication with your therapist

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s session, talk with your therapist. You may have some queries about why we have (or haven’t) done something that we haven’t thought to clearly explain. We welcome questions and feedback about our work with your child (we love to talk about our work!). If we work together as a team, we can get the best results for your child.

 

We hope that you have found these suggestions useful and we will also share in another post what strategies we use to help your child get the best out of their session as well.

 

 

Is my child a Late Talker?

Is my child a Late Talker?

How do you know if your child is a late talker?

A late talker refers to a toddler (18-30 months) who has a good understanding of language and meets other development milestones i.e., play skills, social skills, motor skills, but has a limited vocabulary expected for his/her age. It has been found that approximately 13% of 2 year olds are late talkers.

It is expected that children reach these milestones:

 

At 18 months

Most Children at 18 months old  have at least 20 words, including different types of words, including:

nouns: ball, car, bird,

actions: jump, go, fall

locations: up, down, there

describing words: more, dirty, big

social words: bye!, hello

 

Speech Therapy For Autistic ChildrenAt 24 months

Most Children have at least 100 words and put 2 words together to start making little sentences, such as: my teddy, and  ball gone, where daddy?.

 

 

At 30 months

Children should be able to use 3-4 word phrases, such as: there mamma sock, look big truck, dog sleeping on bed

Children are starting to use some grammatical structures such as plurals (cats, dogs) pronouns (I, me, and you) and they are also generally asking lots (!) of questions (what, where, why).

 

Should I ‘wait and see’?

We often get asked if it the child is too young to bring in or should the parents wait and see. We generally see children from 18 months where there are cause for concern about a language delay. We also see younger children where there may be developmental, medical or other specific concerns. Our rule of thumb is if there is parental concern or concern by another health professional, then act on this and seek further advice by taking your child to a speech pathologist for assessment.

While some children grow out of their delay and catch up with their peers without additional support, many don’t, and it can be difficult to determine who will catch up and those who will not catch up without support.

Bear in mind that those children developing age-appropriate language skills are practicing their higher-level skills daily, which then  aids further in their ongoing development. Children who are not reaching the expected milestones are not experiencing the same communication opportunities which adds to their risk of not keeping up or catching up. That is why it is recommended to seek advice and appropriate support sooner rather than later.

There are many easy to implement strategies that can significantly help a toddler who is slower to start to speak.

Early intervention gives the best possible outcomes

If you think your child could be a late talker, it is recommended for your child to be assessed by a  Speech Pathologist  as soon as possible. Speech pathologists are specialists in assessing and diagnosing communication difficulties and there are many benefits of bringing in a child in as soon as there are parental concerns:

  • Either your concerns will be alleviated, or you can get started straight away on a plan of action
  • You will be supported in helping your child develop their communication skills (parents are their children’s first and best teachers so you will be actively involved in your child’s therapy)
  • Intervention with little ones is play based and fun
  • Suitable strategies to facilitate communication can be are easily implemented within routine family activities
  • Referrals can be made on to appropriate health professionals for further investigation if needed (paediatrician occupational therapist, Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon, audiologist, psychologist)
  • Early referral and intervention can prevent ongoing difficulties
  • Early diagnosis of any underlying (medical or developmental) difficulties means that the most appropriate support can be provided from an early age.

How can I help my child’s language development?

  1. Talk with your child about things that are happening around you at the time.
  2. Talk with your child at his/her level and face to face.
  3. Slow down while you’re talking to your child and leave pauses, giving your child opportunities to respond. A late talker might find it overwhelming if you speak really quickly with him.
  4. Talk in full sentences – but keep your sentences short picking out the key things to focus on
  5. If you have  concerns regarding your child’s hearing, it is recommended that you visit an have your child’s hearing tested.
  6. If you have any concerns about your child’s communication skills seek professional advice sooner rather than later.

 

You can find out more about our services at atimetotalk.com.au, or check out our Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/aTimeToTalk/

 

References: Lauren Lowry The Hanen Centre, 2012; Owens, 2011

 

Different types of speech difficulties: Articulation and Phonological errors

Different types of speech difficulties: Articulation and Phonological errors

What is speech development?

There are many aspects a speech pathologist considers when assessing a child’s speech development, including whether a child has articulation or phonological errors. All children, from babies, to toddlers, to preschoolers, to school-age kids will make mistakes with their speech sounds as they learn to talk. These mistakes are a normal part of speech development. However there are difficulties if these errors persist longer than expected or if a child develops their speech sound system differently than expected.

There are two types of speech errors… articulation errors and phonological errors (known as “phonological processes”).

What are Articulation Errors?

An articulation error is when a child can’t pronounce a speech sound at all, or they say the sound incorrectly. Articulation errors change the way a message sounds but do not change the meaning of what someone is trying to say. The most common articulation error is an “interdental lisp” where a /th/ sound is said instead of an /s/ sound. 70% of children up to the age of 4 ½ will talk with an interdental lisp.

Here is an example of an articulation error where a child has a ‘lisp’, i.e. uses a /th/ sound instead of /s/ sounds. See if you can understand what the child is saying…

“I can thee theven thocks in the bathket over there.”

 

 

Most people will be able to understand what has been said.

‘I can see seven socks in the basket over there.’

Speech Pathologists teach children with articulation errors how to pronounce the sound.

What are Phonological Errors?

A phonological error is when a child says one sound instead of another. This happens in a pattern and is called a “phonological process”.

When a toddler wants to say words that have sounds in them that they can’t say yet, the toddler will use easier sounds in the place of the later developing sounds they can’t say yet.

All kids use these error patterns as they learn to talk and develop their speech sounds.

These patterns of errors generally resolve themselves at different ages for the various types of errors. For example,

The error pattern of ‘Final consonant deletion’ (leaving off sounds from the end of words) is generally present in young children up until the age of 3 years 3 months.

The error pattern of ‘cluster reduction’ (omitting sounds from consonant blends – sp -> p: spoon -> poon) is generally present in preschoolers up until the age of 4 years.

This way these error patterns resolve usually follow a pattern for most children, and children’s speech continues to evolve until a child has learnt to say all the consonant speech sounds, usually by age 7.

Here is an example of a phonological error where a child is using a /d/ sound that they can say instead of a tricky /s/ sound. See if you can understand what the child is saying…

‘I’m dared there id a dider hiding in my dock.’

This can be quite tricky to understand, particularly to an unfamiliar person. A child’s parents are usually better than others at understanding what their child has said but can still have trouble understanding their child all the time. This time, the child is saying:

‘I’m scared there is a spider hiding in my sock.’

 Phonological errors can change the meaning of the words and the message that is being conveyed. This can be confusing for the listener and frustrating for the child who is not being understood.

Because children with phonological errors can usually say the sound they are having trouble using, Speech Pathologist help them to change the pattern of their errors.

Assessment

If you have concerns about your child’s speech sounds development or about how clearly they talk, an assessment by a speech pathologist is recommended. A speech pathologist assesses a child’s speech sound development, considering many different factors such as the sounds your child does and does not use, the types of errors, the number of errors, the overall speech clarity and the age of the child. We will be writing a blog discussing more about speech pathologists’ assessments.

How can I help my child?

  1. Make sure your child has adequate hearing for speech and language development – have their hearing tested by an audiologist.
  2. Consider the level of background noise that is generally around them at home.
  3. Keep modelling clear speech to your child – if your child says a word incorrectly, let them hear you say the word. You can do this in a conversational way, rather than specifically correcting your child’s speech.
  4. Make sure you are facing your child and they are looking at you when you want them to listen to you. They will take in much more information by seeing you talk in addition to listening to you.
  5. Have your child assessed by a speech pathologist if you have concerns about the way their speech sounds.
  6. Seek advise promptly as it is important for children to enter into school with their speech sound system well developed.
My 5 Favourite (tried and tested!) Books for Toddlers/Young Children

My 5 Favourite (tried and tested!) Books for Toddlers/Young Children

Books are one of the favourite and most-used tools as a Speech Pathologist. There are so different types of books available out there. From baby bath books, ‘lift the flap’ books to puzzle books. I could go on and on about the ways you can use books for different ages, babies to toddlers to school aged children. I would also be more than happy to share other interesting ways of using books in the future. But for now, here are some of my favourite books that I often use:

 

  1. Where’s Spot? – Eric Hill

I can’t rave how much I love ‘Spot’ books. I especially enjoy the ‘lift the flap’ ones as it adds an extra ‘surprise factor’ into book reading. This is a great book to introduce early prepositions – in, on, and under. You could also talk about the different animals that appear on each page and also give a little bit more information to extend your child’s knowledge about the animals and descriptive language (The crocodile goes.. snap! The hippo is big). Finishing off this book with a fun game of hide and seek is also another way  to extend your child’s learning about prepositions.

 

  1. Spot’s Puzzle Fun – Eric Hill

It wouldn’t come as a surprise that my next favourite book is also another ‘Spot’ book. A puzzle book is a fun way to introduce books to children may not be  interested in book-reading. While the book is being read, your child can put the pieces together, making it an interactive activity. This enables him/her to attend to the book while the story is being read, which keeps his interest going. This type of activity can work really well with toddlers who enjoy fine motor, or physical activities but have more difficulty participating in language-based activities.

 

 

  1. That’s not my tractor – Fiona Watt

I have used this book for both toddlers and young children with language delays. This is a ‘touch-and-feel’ book which introduces different textures (i.e., rough, smooth, scratchy etc.). Using and understanding describing words can be difficult for some children. Being able to touch as well as see the different textures in the book helps children to understand the concepts better. There is a whole series of these books to choose from, to appeal to whatever your child may be interested in… For children who like animals there are: That’s not my puppy, That’s not my duck, That’s not my monkey. For for toddlers interested in vehicles, there are: That’s not my train, That’s not my truck,  That’s not my plane….etc!

 

  1. What noise comes from a giraffe? – Craig MacLean

This is a silly book that many children enjoy. As well as using this in 1:1 sessions with little ones, I’ve used this several times for group therapy activities and I am always amazed how the group of toddlers will all sit quietly and listen to this story. I find it helpful relating to visits at the zoo, and asking what sounds  they hear from various animals. YouTube is also another way you could introduce animal sounds to children (another blog post in the making!) .

 

 

  1. My Presents – Rod Campbell

I  usually introduce this book by asking ‘Do you love presents?’  Our little clients  become very excited when I show them the book. At the end of the story I ask ‘what is your favourite present?’ This usually opens up a lovely discussion about what they like and why. This book  includes a lot of  early developing naming words relating to toys  (ball, book, puzzle, paints) to your child, it also describes the presents, the ball is ‘round and bouncy’. A fun extension activity for this book is to draw a present in a box – you can talk about what size/shape box you might need for a particular toy, eg a train might need a long box, for a dinosaur you might need a big box.

 

I hope this has given you some more ideas about how you can have fun developing language through books with your children!

 

 

 

 

Using Bubbles for Language Development

Using Bubbles for Language Development

How can you use bubbles to encourage your toddler’s language development?

 

We use bubbles A LOT in our sessions with young children. It is a great ice breaker activity when getting to know infants and toddlers. However, they are not just a fun activity for the sake of having fun … bubbles are a powerful tool for encouraging many communication skills.

They are motivating for the little ones to communicate because they are so much FUN.

I hope the following ways we use bubbles give parents more ideas of how you can use bubbles at home to promote your little one’s language development.

 

 

  • Using bubbles to encourage eye contact

Build up the anticipation and wait for eye contact from your toddler before you blow more bubbles.

 

  • Using bubbles to encourage your child to make a request
    Blow some bubbles, screw the lid back on tight, and give the bubbles to your child. Wait to see what they do. If, after trying to open the bubbles themselves unsuccessfully, they hand them back to you for help, they have just made a request. Encourage your child to have a turn at blowing bubbles, if they can’t, encourage them to ask for help.

 

  • Using bubbles to teach turn taking
    Bubbles are a fun way to teach ‘my turn’, ‘your turn’. Basic turn taking routines teach kids the underlying skills for later conversational turn taking.

 

  • Using bubbles for vocabulary development

Nouns:                                 bubbles

Describing words:            big, little

Locations:                           up, down, on, under

Actions:                               pop, gone, look, stomp/stamp, kick, find

Questions:                          where

Social                                   mummy’s turn,  …..’s turn

 

  • Using bubbles to practice developing phrases

If your child is beginning to put words together you can encourage your child to use phrases, Eg:

2 words:                            more bubbles,   big bubble,   pop bubble,   where’s bubble,   bubbles gone

3 words:                            I want  bubbles,   look little bubbles,   bubbles go pop,   bubbles go up,

 

  • Using bubbles because they are fun, kids love them and you can have a great time playing together with bubbles.

We tend to just use the basic bubbles  (as we are mostly inside), which the kids love, but here are also so many options on different types of bubbles and bubble blowers.

 

Here are a selection of our bubbles.   I love the non-spill containers – our newest bubble addition. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I haven’t (yet) had it spill.

 

Have fun playing with bubbles!

Developing Toddlers’ Language Through play.

Developing Toddlers’ Language Through play.

How does playing with my child help develop their language skills?

Play provides opportunities for your child to connect and interact with you in a fun way. Children learn a lot through play, it is an important way that they learn about the world. For example young children learn about what objects can do and how things work. They also learn a lot of language and communication skills through play, such as:

 

Turn taking      Eye contact      Copying – actions, sounds and words      Saying something to start/continue the activity      Commenting

Answering questions           Listening and paying attention           Understanding language           Reading emotions           Problem solving

 Speech Therapy For Autistic Children      

What if my toddler likes to do their own thing?

One useful strategy, that sounds simple but is really effective in playing with young children who like to do their own thing, is to follow their lead.

 Following your child’s lead is to follow your child’s interests and respond with interest to what you child is communicating to you. So rather than getting your toddler to do what you want him to do, you follow what he/she wants to do.

How can I follow my child’s lead? 

  1. Respond with interest to what your child says or does
  2. Join in with your child’s play
  3. Copy what your child does
  4. Interpret what you think your child is trying to say – by putting it into words
  5. Comment on what your child and you are doing.

How can I Adapt my Language?

Some parents talk to their toddlers using adult-like language and many children are able to quickly understand such complex language. However, other little ones struggle and need more help to develop their language skills.

You can adapt your language to help your child by using the following 6 strategies:

  1. Repetition – use words several times within an activity
  2. Gesture – use gestures to help your child understand what your words mean
  3. Sentences – use complete but short sentences
  4. Emphasis – emphasize the important words
  5. Interpret – say the words that you think your child is trying to say
  6. Add on – if your toddler says a word – comment back by adding on some more words to help extend his/her language

For example, when you and your toddler are in the playground and he/she hand-leads you to the slide, you could point to the slide and say, ‘Oh slide! Timmy wants to go on the slide! Let’s go up the slide!’ By repeating the words several times (in a natural way), pointing and using gestures, it helps increase the child’s understanding of ‘slide’.

For another example, if you and your toddler are playing in the sandpit and your toddler says ‘sand’, you might interpret by saying ‘oh, you want more sand’, or you might add on by saying ‘the sand is wet’, or ‘Let’s dig the sand’.

What play activities are best?

Whatever your child is interested in!

There are so many things our toddlers are interested in! And so much language we can expose them to in various activities.

From classic nursery rhymes to playing in the sandpit, from playdough to books, from trains to pretend play with dolls and teddies.

See our following Blogs for different types of play activities and the types of words that you can include within your play.

Also see our Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/aTimeToTalk/

 

 

Development of Speech Sounds – Is my Child on Track? … Age 3 1/2

Development of Speech Sounds – Is my Child on Track? … Age 3 1/2

What sounds should my child be able to say at 3 ½ years:

By 3 ½ years, your child should be able to say and use these sounds:

p        b        t        d        k        g        m        n        h        w        f        y

 

An easy way to check if your child is using these sounds correctly is to see if they can say the words below correctly:

If your 3 ½-year-old child still has the above errors, the development of their speech sounds may be delayed.

Why are Speech sounds an important part of your child’s development?

Without clear speech, children can struggle to communicate with, and be understood by others. Difficulties using particular speech sounds can affect the way your child says their own name, and other important words such as their favorite games, toys, food and places. This can impact how well they are understood when talking about many things such as: their family, what they got for their birthday, what happened in the playground, where they went on the weekend … the list is endless.

What is the impact of speech difficulties?

Children who have difficulty being understood by others can often become frustrated, which may impact their behavior and how they interact with others.

It may still seem like a long way away when your child is 3 ½, but the years do pass quickly, and children need to have their speech sounds developed before they start school, or their early literacy (reading and spelling) may be affected.

What can I do to help my child’s speech development?

If you have concerns about your child’s use of different speech sounds or how clearly they speak, it recommended you contact a Speech Pathologist for an assessment of your child’s speech sounds. You will be advised if your child’s speech sound development is on track or if they are behind for their age – and would benefit from some help to catch up.

In the meantime, the following strategies can help your child’s speech development:

1.     Have your child’s hearing tested to make sure he/she can hear different sounds and has adequate hearing for speech

2.     Model clear speech to your child

3.     If your child says a word incorrectly, say it back to him/her so that he/she can hear the correctly spoken word

4.     Encourage your child to watch you when you are talking to them – we get a lot of information from the faces of people taking to us

5.     Make sure you are facing your child and at their level

6.     Play around and have fun with sounds – rhyming books are great for this.

Remember that early intervention gives the best possible outcome, so if you have any concerns about your child’s speech or language skills, seek advice from a speech pathologist. We are trained to assess all areas of children’s communication skills.

You can check us out at:

facebook.com/aTimeToTalk/

atimetotalk.com.au

Thanks to the following clip artists for their fonts and clip art in this post:

Time to Talk with Books

Time to Talk with Books

Why is sharing books with your child beneficial?

Even babies love books!

How Using Books Can Help Your Child With Their Speech and Language Therapy and Learning DevelopmentLooking at books with your children, even from a young age, provides opportunities for developing  early communication skills,such as:

Joint attention

Attention and Listening

Vocabulary development

Use of sentences

Conversational skills

Print awareness

Children need to hear many words and often. Books expose children to unfamiliar words that they might not come across in their everyday environment (eg. elephant, castle, skiing, enormous), Books often repeat the same words over and over in the story, this helps develop  vocabulary and understanding of a wider range of words.

What is a ‘good book’?

A ‘good book’ is really any book that your child enjoys! This will depend on the age, and interests of your child.

For babies, a suitable suitable book might have:

Large Colourful, realistic  pictures free of distractions: to capture their attention

Not too many ‘busy’ details: To keep their attention and so your child can match what you are talking about with the picture

Every day words and actions that your baby is familiar with:

Easy to turn pages

Sturdy Books: Use books  made of materials that your child can play and read over and over without tearing or ruining them. Board books (with strong cardboard pages), fabric, or plastic books are all excellent choices for babies and toddlers.

For toddlers, a suitable book might have:

bright, colorful pictures: Before children learn to read, they “read” pictures. Find books with a variety of illustrations and see which ones have the greatest appeal to your toddler

A realistic/familiar story line that they can relate to: This will help your child’s understanding of the story

Simple Text: Fewer words on each page will help your child stay focused as the pages change more frequently, eg. one sentence per page will help hold attention!

Colorful pictures: Simple illustrations will help your child stay focused better than complex or busy pictures.

Repetitive text: Books that have the same phrase over and over will have your toddler joining in the story as you read.

Familiar and interesting  Words: Choose stories with familiar and interesting objects such as farm/zoo animals and stories that contain the everyday routines , activities and experiences (eg going to the park/shops)  that are recognisable to your child.

Interactive parts: books that have lift-a-flaps or textured materials for your toddler to feel help make the book more interesting. Be careful though as some children can get distracted by moving bits and actually attend less to the story.

Sturdy Books: Use books  made of materials that your child can play and read over and over without tearing or ruining them. Board books (with strong cardboard pages), fabric, or plastic books are all excellent choices for babies and toddlers.

 For Pre-schoolers a suitable book might have:

Interesting pictures: that relate closely to the text

A sequence of actions: so you can talk about what is happening in the story with your child

More detailed plot: This might extend their knowledge or introduce an event that is outside of their experience

Surprise: something usual might happen which gives opportunities to talk about why or how something happened

A problem that needs to be solved: This can lead to discussion of how the problem was solved  and why it worked (or not) and you can talk aobut other possible solutions.

Rhyme and rhythm:  Encourage your child to listen to sounds in words and to predict words by using rhyming patterns eg one two three four, I saw teddy knocking on the ….(door)

What funding is available to access private speech therapy services?

What funding is available to access private speech therapy services?

What can I claim back for private speech therapy services?

Private speech pathology services incur a fee. The fee charged will vary depending on the practice and the type of services needed.

 Private Health Funds

You can claim rebates for speech pathology services from you private health fund depending on your level of cover  and the rebates offered by that provider. Contact your own health fund for information regarding your entitlements. If you are eligible for rebates, check that the therapist is a registered provider

Government Funding Initiatives

There are some government initiatives to assist parents with private practice costs, such as:

Chronic Disease Management (Medicare funding)                              

                                                   
Children who have a chronic condition or require complex care that is managed by their GP may be eligible for rebates of  $52.95 for up to 5 sessions. Children need to be under the care of their GP and at least 2 other health care providers (eg. speech pathologist, occupational therapist, psychologist).

Follow-up Allied Health Services for People of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Descent (Medicare Funding)

For up to 5 sessions each calendar year for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Descent who have been referred by their GP.

Medicare items Under the Helping Children with Autism program

A referral (for children under 13 years) by a consultant paediatrician or psychiatrist is needed to access up to 4 diagnostic /assessment and 20 treatment services from a psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, audiologist, optometrist, orthoptist or physiotherapist .

Other funding schemes:

Helping Children with Autism Early Intervention (FaHCSIA funding)                                            

This is a government funding package for parents to access early intervention services for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). To be eligible, children need to have had a diagnosis of ASD between the ages of 0-6 years. The funding provides up to $12000 up until the child’s 7th birthday. A maximum of $6000 can be accessed per financial year. This funding can be used to access a range of services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychology. It can also be used for purchasing approved resources/equipment that would assist in providing therapy.

Better Start for Children with a Disability (FaHCSIA funding)                                                        

This is also a government funding package for families to access services for children who have a specific diagnosis of:  Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, Fragile X Syndrome, Prader Willi syndrome, Williams syndrome, Angelmen syndrome, Kabuki syndrome, Smith-Magenis syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, Cornelia de Lange syndrome, Cri du Chat syndrome, microcephaly, moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment.  The funding provides up to $12000 up until the child’s 7th birthday. A maximum of $6000 can be used per financial year. The funding can be used to access speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychology, and for purchasing approved resources/equipment.

NB: There will be changes to the FaHCSIA funding over the course of the next 4 years transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, DisabilityCare Australia.

Tax Offset for Medical Expenses

You can claim a tax offset for eligible medical expenses you’ve paid for the year over a certain level (less any refunds from Medicare or a private health insurer) This amount is indexed each year.