26 Feb 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Helping children answer questions

Asking your child questions is important as it helps them learn.   When a child is asked something they don’t know they need to be shown how to answer it. If you do not show the child they will not know what is expected of them. Simply asking more of the same question isn’t the solution.

Helping children answer questions

There are some techniques we can use to help child answer questions. Let’s look at the following strategies. When asking Jay questions remember the following;

1.Start by asking the question and answering it yourself so Jay can hear the answer. For example:

Parent- I wonder what else we could use to help?

Parent – We could use a ladder.

2.Give lots of information about the answer. For example:

Parent – A ladder would be good because we can climb it.

Parent – He could use the ladder to climb up the tree.

3.Try and demonstrate the answer where possible. Try to use physical prompts. For example mime climbing a ladder.

4.Try and give the child the answer before you ask them the question. For example:

Parent – He is sad so he ran away.

Parent  – Why did he run away?

Child – Because he was sad.

Always remember to wait after asking a questions. Some children need time to process the questions and to work out an answer. As a rule after asking the question WAIT 10 seconds.

How to start teaching questions?

Each day chose one of the following questions to focus on:

  • What is it?
  • Where is __________?
  • Who is that?
  • What do/did you see?
  • What did/can you hear?

Think of some activities/times during the day when you can ask your child these questions. Remember to gain your child’s attention first before practising. And (as above) remember to give your child time to answer the question for you.

Lastly – don’t forget to have fun and praise your child for their efforts! This shouldn’t feel like hard work as a parent and children need lots of praise when they start to learn any new skill.

Needing help?

When all else fails, you are more than welcome to consult any of the speech pathologists in the Centre. Early childhhod teachers are also a good source of knowledge and support.

Please feel free to contact reception on 9274 7062 for further information about our services.

Georgina Klimaitis

Speech Pathologist

18 Feb 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Tips on increasing your child’s vocabulary

As children learn to speak, they need  to expand their vocabulary. Children need to learn the meaning of new words and to able to use them appropriately. A lot of this work occurs naturally for a child. They learn through hearing adults (and older siblings) talk around and to them. However there are ways of communicating as a parent  that are more likely to help children learn than others.

Increasing your child’s vocabulary

Let’s start by talking about what your child is interested in! If we try to talk to your child about doing the laundry – they won’t be interested or motivated to tune in to what you say! However you might see a different response when talking about dinosaurs, making fairies fly, and jumping around the house.

Use play time with your child to help their language. This can be challenging but also very rewarding.  During this play you want to ensure you are playing with what your child wants to play with, and how they want to play with it. To illustrate,  if they want to play with cars, great! If they want to make the cars fly like spaceships – great lets do that! Try not to insist that the cars drive on the road in the ‘proper’ way – let your child lead the way!  From here we use the child’s natural language and expand on it.

If your child is able to speak – repeat what they say, and add to it!  For example a child says “It’s a monkey” we can repeat this but add something new to build their vocabulary e.g. “Look it’s a big monkey! It’s a big silly monkey!” Don’t forget to speak in  an animated way, emphasising the key words, slowing down your speech, and repeating yourself.

The 4 S’s of vocabulary building

Say Less- limit your what you say. Yes your child may understand you if you say “Look the blue car is going down to big slide and then let’s move this car under the big brown bridge!”. However, they cannot imitate this. Provide this information to your child in sections that they can try to imitate e.g. “the blue car goes down!”

Stress – emphasise the key words you want your child to learn! E.g. “The blue car goes down!”

Go Slow – Slow down your rate of speech!

Show – demonstrate what you are talking about – if you say “the blue car goes down” – make sure the blue car does go down the slide!

Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Everything you say – say it more than once! Repetition is the key to your child listening and taking in what you are saying!

Seeking help

Remember – you are not going to be able to change your communication style overnight – it’s going to take time and practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t speak to your child in this way every minute of the day. Set aside time to practice each time and focus on your communication.

Consulting a speech pathologist may also be helpful if you’re feeling worried about your child’s language development. Please contact reception for more information about the speech pathology service we provide on 9274 7062.

Georgina Klimaitis

Speech Pathologist

Strategies adapted from The Hannen Centre.

05 Feb 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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5 tips for language development

Children learn language by watching and listening to others. As a baby your child listens to your voice and tries to copy you with all those lovely babbling sounds.  From 6 months onward, some of those sounds begin to sound like words (e.g. dada and baba). Then from 9 months onward, you’ll see your child start to recognise words (e.g. no, ouch, ta and bye-bye) and they will find ways to tell you what they want (e.g. raise their arms to be picked up). Use of individual words can start anywhere from 12 to 15 months. This is the exciting phase when children start to develop a vocabulary of words to let you know their needs (e.g. juice, doll and doggie).

As a parent you play an important role in helping your child develop their early language skills!

How can parents help?

Taken from The Hanen Centre, the following are some tips to help guide your child’s language development.

1.Use many different kinds of words when talking with your child.

2. Make a point of highlighting a variety of word types when talking to your child, not just the names of things. It is important for your child to learn a variety of word types in order to talk in short sentences.

3. Emphasize action words (sleep, eat, run, push, squeeze, break), descriptive words (soft, hot, big, sticky, funny, tired), location words (up, down, in, on, under), words about belonging (my, your, his, Mommy’s), and feeling words (sad, sick, happy, angry), as well nouns or names of things (dog, book, bed, cup).

4. Repeat these words often and make them stand out when you use them by exaggerating your intonation and slowing down a bit. For example, “Mommy is very… TIRED (yawn). I must go to bed because I need to have a good sleep. Then I won’t be so tired.”

5. Talk about your  child’s natural interests (e.g. their favourite toy) with them. For example, if your child says “ball”, you can extend this with something like “yes, that’s your big, red ball!”.

Where to go for help?

Children can struggle with language development for a range of reasons. A conversation with a child health nurse, GP or early childhood teacher may be helpful in providing reassurance or pointing you in the right direction. Consulting a speech pathologist for advice may also be helpful as they are able to let you know if there is anything to be concerned about and if there is a need for therapy.

The Centre has three speech pathologists available who work on different days of the week. Please call reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our speech pathology services.

Georgina Klimaitis and Naomi Ward

Child Wellbeing Centre

30 Jan 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Encouraging Listening Skills

We learn about language by listening to patterns and changes in the speech of others. Encouraging good listening skills will help your child throughout their language development. Listening to sounds and talking about sounds with your child will encourage them to focus on sounds and help with learning to link sounds with their cause.  So how do we develop listening skills in young children? Try the following tips…

5 Tips for developing the listening skills of young children

1.  Remove or reduce distractors. Don’t try to talk over the top of the TV, other voices or music. Turn down the volume of devices so you and your child can hear you speak . Getting their attention in the first instance is very important.

2. Encourage your child to look at you while you are talking. Having said this some children find eye contact uncomfortable so for these children, facing towards you is fine. Encouraging your child to show you with their body (e.g. eye gaze, body posture and orientation) that they are listening will make it easier for you to know that they are.

3. Encourage them to ask you questions. This allows both you and them to check for understanding. For the children who won’t ask, you can always prompt them to tell you what they thought you just said. This isn’t meant to be an interrogation though! Rather its a way of checking in.

4. Play listening games with your child. Remember the old “Chinese Whispers” game? Aside from fun, it’s a great way of sharpening up listening skills. Other activities where your child has to listen and follow instructions are also helpful e.g. cooking.

5. Praise, praise, praise. Learning to listen is a skill that everyone has to master. Some of us find it easier than others. It’s always good practice to praise a child when you see them doing something positive and helpful…just like listening.

What to do if those listening skills don’t appear to be switching on?

Children can struggle with listening for a range of reasons. It’s important to take note and seek advice. A conversation with a child health nurse, GP or early childhood teacher may be helpful in pointing you in the right direction. Speech Pathologists can also assess listening and the role that language development may play in any difficulties.

The Centre has three speech pathologists available who work on different days of the week. Please call reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our speech pathology services.

Georgina Klimaitis and Naomi Ward

Child Wellbeing Centre

22 Jan 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Singing and language development

Children develop language through watching, listening and practice.  Singing to young children can help them develop early language and literacy skills, such as phonological awareness, auditory discrimination, and vocabulary development. Its no coincidence that young children are drawn to activities with music, rhythm and repetition….all of these elements can help young children learn.

Music doesn’t have to be limited to  watching the TV or listening to the radio. We can create music anytime and anywhere. In addition to singing well known nursery rhymes and children’s songs, why not make up your own?

Typically when children are very young,  you will need to take the lead…providing the music and words, and helping your child do the motions to the songs.  After many, many, many repetitions, you can encourage your child to take charge and lead the interaction. In other words, you follow their lead.

Some Tips for Singing With Your Child

  • Don’t worry if you don’t sound great, children will respond to the rhythm of your speech, and the love and affection with which you sing. The most important thing is to sing slowly and clearly.
  • Use lots of actions with your songs, as this encourages your child to imitate. Remember imitation of actions often comes first, with the words coming later.
  • Make up words to familiar tunes so your songs have more meaning for your child. You can put your child’s name in the song to personalize it.
  • Make use of pausing. For your children this will help them learn to anticipate, for older children it will give them the chance to fill in the missing word or action.  For example “open shut them, open shut them, give a little ……..”
  • Make up simple songs (borrowing tunes if need be) for house routines. Not only are you teaching language, you building up helpful routines.

And if you have worries about language development…

Check in with your child nurse, GP or a speech pathologist. Children develop language at different rates. It’s not about who gets there first, more whether they are meeting milestones around the expected time.

The Child Wellbeing Centre has three speech pathologists available for consultation working on different days of the week. Please contact our reception for further information.

21 Aug 2018

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Speech Pathology Week 19- 25 August 2018

Speech Pathologists specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a range of language and communication disorders. Specifically speech pathologists are able to help with:

  • Assessment and intervention for articulation delays/disorders
  • Assessment and intervention for language delays/disorders
  • Support for Verbal Dyspraxia
  • School readiness
  • Treatment of stuttering
  • Bilingualism
  • Support for communication difficulties associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities.

There are some great resources online to help parents work out whether their child needs to see a speech pathologist. Speech Pathology Australia is a great place to start:


Another useful (and more general site) is the Raising Children website which has some great information on language delay:


And of course you are very welcome to see our speech pathologists in the Centre – Georgina, Vanessa and Virginia.

For more information please call the Centre on 9274 7062.

14 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Social Communication

Our language skills help us communicate in all kinds of places; in the classroom, at home, as well as in social interactions in the playground or the shops.

Social communication consists of using language for saying “hello”, ‘thank you”, or telling a story. It also includes being able to change your language (e.g. talking differently to a baby than to an adult), and to follow rules when talking (e.g. taking turns in conversation).
Children may break these social communication rules as they are learning, however some children have a lot of problems with these types of rules and situations. This is common with children with Autism and children with a social communication disorder. Children with social communication difficulties may have trouble with conversation and making friends.
A speech pathologist is able to help children with social communication problems. They can assess these skills, and help your child learn how to use language with different people in different situations.
For more information about our speech pathology services please contact Tracey on 9274 7062.
Georgina Klimaitis

Speech Pathologist

11 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Stuttering – What is it?

There are many misconceptions about what stuttering is. Stuttering is a speech disorder consisting of unwanted disruption of the normal rhythm of fluency of speech defined by repetitions of sounds, words or phrases (e.g. “I-I-I want”, “but-but mum!”, prolongations or the drawing out of sounds (e.g. mmmmmum!), as well as blocking resulting in the inability to produce a word – getting ‘stuck’.

Stuttering is NOT caused by parents 
Stuttering is NOT caused by anxiety or stress (Although stress can increase the stutter, it is not the cause)
People who stutter are NOT nervous or shy.
Stuttering is NOT learnt by imitating a family member’s speech.
Stuttering is NOT caused by a low IQ.

Early intervention is very important as children can overcome stuttering but they will need help.

Please call Tracey on 9274 7062 or more information about how our speech pathology services can help children with stuttering.

Georgina Klimaitis
Speech Pathologist

04 Feb 2018

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Phonological Awareness and Literacy

Phonological Awareness (PA) skills are crucial for children when they begin learning to read and spell.

PA skills are also known as pre-literacy skills that children develop in Kindergarten and Pre-Primary in preparation for higher reading and writing demands of Year One.

During this time children learn to differentiate sounds in phrases and words. They learn to clap out the sounds in words (syllables), identify the letters and sounds in the alphabet, learn about rhyming words, identifying sounds within words, and begin to blend sounds together.

These skills are crucial for a child beginning to learn to the read and write.Teachers are usually the first to spot whether children are struggling in this area. So they are a great place to start if you have any concerns.

Speech pathologists are often able to assist both in terms of helping children develop PA skills and broader language skills. Best time to help children develop these skills is in the early years.

Please call Tracey (Reception) on 9274 7062 if you would like to know more about our Speech Pathology services in the Centre.