FAQ

These are a few of the questions that often pop up, when speaking with new clients. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for here, click the button below and reach out.

Do I need a referral from a Doctor?

No. Simply contact our office and we will be happy to arrange your appointment.

Is there any funding available to assist me with costs?

Maybe!  The following options may be available to you:

Medicare Rebates – You may be eligible to receive speech pathology services under Medicare’s ‘Chronic Disease Management’ program (previously the Medicare Enhanced Care Program). You will require a referral from your GP for this.

Bloom Lifespan Therapy Services are a registered Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) provider.

We are registered with the majority of Private Health Funds. Please contact your health fund to see if your level of cover entitles you to a rebate for speech pathology services.

Bloom is a government approved provider of Early Intervention Speech Pathology Services under the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) and Better Start Programs. Visit our Funding & Rebates page for more information about these wonderful funding programs.

If you have any questions regarding funding options, we are happy to provide you with information.  Please give us a call!

What takes place during the initial assessment?

Your initial assessment will generally consist of two parts:

1. An interview with you or your family member/care giver

The purpose of the interview is to gather as much information as possible about an individual’s history and any existing concerns. Your Speech Pathologist will ask about medical history, developmental milestones, general health, and strengths and weaknesses. It is very important that you prepare for this discussion as the information you provide will be vital to shaping our understanding of you (or your child, family member or the person you are caring for) and the factors which may be influencing development and prognosis. Spending time at the beginning of the session gathering this information is a good way for children, or individual’s with special needs to ‘warm up’ to somebody new in their environment.

2. Direct testing

May involve observations, play-based activities or the use of formal assessment tools.

The time it takes to complete an assessment is very individualised and more than one assessment session may be required.  We aim to discuss assessment results with you at the end of the session however there are times when we may require additional time to score and analyse test results.  Where this is the case, your speech pathologist will arrange a time to contact you to provide this information.

We may make one of several recommendations at the completion of the assessment session.  These include:

  • Further assessment
  • Follow-up treatment or therapy
  • Referral to another professional (i.e. Occupational Therapist, Audiologist, Medical Specialist)
What are the signs of a swallowing disorder?

Brain injury, disability, and the ageing process, may significantly impact a person’s ability to safely swallow their food and fluid. There are multiple nerves, muscles and oral structures that must work in a well-coordinated manner in order to break food/fluid down, move it smoothly from the front to the back of the mouth, and then safely into the stomach. When a person experiences difficulties with swallowing (dysphagia), the body’s protective mechanisms for safeguarding against aspiration (where food or fluid enters the airway and then the lungs) may be weak or uncoordinated. Where this is happening, you may observe symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty managing secretions, dribbling or drooling
  • Spillage of food/fluids from the mouth
  • Problems chewing food
  • Difficulty controlling or manipulating food or fluid Coughing, spluttering or choking during eating or drinking
  • Excessive throat clearing
  • Wet or gurgly voice quality
  • Slow swallow response
  • Absent swallow reflex
  • Difficulty getting swallow started
  • Effortful swallow
  • Multiple swallows for each mouthful
  • Pocketing food in mouth or cheeks
  • Oral or nasal regurgitation
  • Complaints of food sticking in the throat
  • Refusal of food or taking a long time to eat or drink
  • Breathlessness after swallowing
  • Raised temperature
  • Frequent chest infections
  • Unexplained weight loss &/or dehydration

It is important that you speak with your doctor if you begin experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. Your speech pathologist is an expert in the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders and will be able to provide individualised advice re: the safest ways for eating and drinking, and the safest food and fluid consistencies.

What is the duration of a therapy session and how often is therapy needed?

Therapy sessions last between 30 and 50 minutes depending on the age or individual needs of a client and their specific therapy goals. Younger children and people with special needs generally manage better with shorter appointments.

The number of therapy sessions required really depends on the specifics of the problem and the level of concern being experienced by the individual, their family and/or carers.  Bloom generally offers therapy sessions in a ‘block’ format, with weekly sessions recommended for a set period of time.  Your speech pathologist will discuss this format with you and make recommendations once an initial assessment has taken place.

How do I know if my child needs speech therapy?

One technique to gauge whether your child may require speech therapy is to think about whether there is more than one person (parent, family, friends, childcare teacher’s etc), that experience difficulty understanding your child, or who have noted that there may be a problem. All children will experience some difficulty with speech sounds as they learn to talk, however if you or other people are having difficulty understanding your child, or your child is becoming frustrated or upset be their difficulties, it may be time to seek specialist advice from a speech pathologist.

It is important to keep in mind that the longer a child has a speech or language problem the harder it is to treat. The best way to determine if your child may require support with their speech and/or language is to familiarise yourself with early speech and language milestones. Click here for a summary of these milestones from 3 – 26 months.

Remember to always trust your instinct as a parent and if in doubt, seek the advice of a speech pathologist.

I’ve been told that I shouldn’t worry about my child’s speech and that he/she will grow out of it. What should I do?

A parent/guardian is the best judge of whether a child’s speech or language is not quite right so always trust your instinct. While it is possible for children to “grow out” of speech or language problems, there is no way to tell if a particular child will or will not (and remember the longer a problem is left the more difficult it is to treat!).

As health professionals we will not commence a therapy program unless we believe it is absolutely necessary. It is therefore strongly recommended that for peace of mind, you seek the advice of a speech pathologist who can accurately determine if there is a problem, or whether you should adopt a “wait and see” approach.

How long does therapy generally take?

The length of therapy time required will vary greatly depending on the presenting concern(s), how many issues need to be addressed, the personality of the client, the amount of practice completed in other environments (e.g. home, school, childcare etc), and the frequency of sessions (e.g. weekly or fortnightly).

When your child is progressing well and using speech and language expected for their developmental level then therapy will stop.  Some children are monitored for a while to make sure that they continue with their progress, other children achieve their milestones and are discharged from therapy.

At Bloom we liaise closely with you to set firm goals to work on within an agreed timeframe. Once the timeframe is reached, progress will be measured and the speech pathologist will discuss options with you.

My child is shy, what if they don’t say anything when they come to you?

This is actually quite a common occurrence so please don’t worry! We are very careful not to push or force your child to talk. Instead, we spend time building rapport with them by playing games and following their lead. As your child becomes more comfortable with us, they will likely start to open up and maybe start talking. It is important not to prepare your child too much for their assessment session. Telling them “you have to talk to the lady” or “make sure you use your words”, can often make them retreat into their shell even more.

Do you visit schools, childcare centres, nursing homes etc?

We sure do! In addition to our clinic-based services we offer mobile services in and around Brisbane. Contact our helpful admin team for more information about areas we visit and associated fees.