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Frequently Asked Questions

When should I consider sending my child to a Speech Pathologist?

There’s no ideal age to seek out therapy for your child because issues can develop at any time. The best time to consider Speech Language Pathology is when you notice that your child is:

  • Not meeting expected developmental milestones related to communication

  • Experiencing difficulty with understanding or talking 

  • Having difficulty making certain sounds when they speak


What should my child be doing at certain ages in terms of speech and language?

The Speech Pathology Australia website has a great, recently-updated list of developmental milestones to help guide your expectations around your child’s speech and language. These milestones are a good guide to what we’d roughly expect to see at certain ages. 


Should I consider Speech Language Pathology for stuttering?

Yes. Speech Language Pathologists are trained to assess, identify and help improve stuttering. I have training in the Lidcombe Program and RESTART-DCM approaches for young children, and I also work with adolescents and adults to develop strategies which support their ability to communicate in various contexts.


Will my child’s speech and language issues resolve if I just wait and see?

It doesn’t hurt to have a Speech Pathology assessment if you’re concerned about your child’s speech and language development. However, it can hurt to wait and see. We know that children who have communication difficulties find it harder to improve as they get older and their difficulties become more entrenched. Speech Pathologists are highly trained to identify whether your child is falling behind on developmental milestones and what interventions, if any, are necessary. Sometimes a block of therapy will be required, but sometimes all a client needs is to have certain things monitored. Please note that “monitoring” is different to “wait and see”, as I will give you clear outlines of what to look for as well as when to seek further treatment. 


What is Animal Assisted Therapy?


Animal Assisted Therapy involves the inclusion of a trained therapy animal - in this case, a dog - in the delivery of therapy sessions. It is a goal-directed intervention in which the animal is an integral part of the treatment process. AAT is directed, delivered and documented by the clinician with a specific goal in mind, and can be beneficial to children who find regular therapy sessions difficult because it can increase motivation, decrease stress and provide opportunities for language and social communication.


Does my child have to do Animal Assisted Therapy? What if they don’t like dogs? 


My therapy dog, Poppy, only attends sessions with those clients who have specifically requested Animal Assisted Therapy and her presence. Animal Assisted Therapy is not the right approach for everyone, particularly if your child is not interested in dogs. All sessions involving Poppy are discussed and organised in advance, although Poppy may be at the clinic at other times. Please contact me at if you’re interested in discussing whether Animal Assisted Therapy is a good fit for your child. 


What is Teletherapy or Telehealth?

Teletherapy involves providing Speech Pathology assessments and therapy remotely via phone or video consultations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many health professionals like me increasingly used Telehealth to ensure uninterrupted delivery of therapy for clients and patients. However, I was already providing teletherapy services to clients before COVID-19 as there is a good deal of research that demonstrates its effectiveness. I continue to offer Telehealth as a convenient option for clients who cannot travel to Summer Hill, or those who simply prefer it. 

What is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication System?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is all the ways that people can communicate without speaking. An AAC System or strategy can be designed and implemented for those with difficulties with spoken communication.

What is group therapy?

Group therapy involves a small group setting of 3-5 children who are working on various communication goals together using games and therapy activities. Research shows that group-based therapy can be as effective as, and in some cases better than, individual therapy for targeting language goals such as grammar, vocabulary, narrative and social skills. Benefits include peer modelling, reduced anxiety, increased complexity of communication environment and increased opportunities for supported social interactions. 


Who can come to Summer Hill Speech?

My focus is on delivering Speech Language Pathology to:

  • Preschool children aged 3 years and above

  • School-age children from Kindergarten to Year 6

  • High school students in Year 7 and Year 8


Mostly, I see children with delays or difficulties with speech sounds, speaking, listening, social skills, reading and writing. I also see adolescents who have difficulties with communication and social skills. Occasionally, I see children with difficulties feeding. 


How soon can I get an appointment?

Because of the high demand for Speech Pathology services, there can be a waiting period for both initial consultations and ongoing intervention. At Summer Hill Speech, we offer blocks of sessions and work around NSW school terms to help with planning, goal setting and service delivery. This will be discussed following the initial consultation and any block session bookings will depend on both my caseload at the time as well as your availability.

Can I speak directly to you, Vani?

As I am in sessions most of the work day, I very rarely have time to return phone calls or respond to emails. I do my best to contact clients and new referrals when possible, but most of the time our part-time administrator Rosanna will return your call or respond to your enquiry. If you wish to discuss a specific issue directly, you can arrange with Rosanna to book a phone consultation with me. Please note that fees may apply for these consultations.

What does Speech Language Pathology cost?

Speech Pathology session fees incorporate the time spent goal setting, pre-planning activities, the face-to-face session, and the documentation involved with each session. More often than not, I spend more time working “behind the scenes” for a client than I spend during the therapy session. Non-face-to-face tasks, such as letters and report writing, also involve fees for the time spent. Please contact me at to discuss your specific needs and the fees involved.


What if I receive NDIS funding?

Many clients pay for Speech Pathology sessions privately, or access private health fund or Medicare rebates. Some clients are eligible for the NDIS and can access services using their allocated funding. At Summer Hill Speech, we only see NDIS clients who are self-managed. Please advise us if you are a recipient of NDIS funding, and confirm that you are self-managed. NDIS clients usually require additional levels of support, service coordination and longer term care than clients without a diagnosed disability. For this reason, Summer Hill Speech offers a limited number of appointments to NDIS clients, in order to  be able to commit adequate time and services to these clients. 


Do you do school visits?

I provide one-off school-based therapy and consultations, but these are limited in availability and scope due to the additional time and liaison required. Please contact me at to discuss your needs and my availability.

I contacted you via phone/text/email and I haven’t heard back yet!

Due to the high volume of calls, texts and emails that we receive every week, it can sometimes take us a few days to respond. Because I am normally in appointments during the workday, I rarely have time to make phone calls or send emails. Rosanna, our administrator, mostly works Tuesday to Thursday during school hours. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Where can I get more information or help?

If you require further information or support, please visit the Speech Pathology Australia website, the Raising Children website or the Hanen Centre website for clear and reliable information. 


I think my child needs therapy and I would like to book an appointment. How can I contact you?


Phone: 0434 553 428

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