Waiting for speech pathology: CSU research


Thursday, 13 Sep 2018

Are you concerned with the time it takes for your child to get speech pathology services in the Goulburn Valley?

Charles Sturt University (CSU) doctoral student, Mrs Nicole McGill, is seeking your help in exploring how to best support children and families who are waiting for speech therapy.

“Children in the Goulburn Valley often wait up to 12 months to see a speech pathologist in the public system, and they can miss out on the benefits of early detection and intervention for speech and language difficulties,” said Mrs McGill, who also lives and works in the region as a speech pathologist.

In her research study, Mrs McGill is investigating the effectiveness of offering speech pathology assessments earlier for children aged between three and six years, rather than waiting up to 12 months for an assessment by a speech pathologist.

“As part of the study, we offer an assessment, a report, and a 6-month follow up assessment for eligible children while they are on the waiting list for speech therapy.  This means families can find out how well their child’s speech sounds and language skills are developing, far sooner than they usually would at the community health centre.

“We acknowledge that people on waiting lists for health care, including speech pathology, can experience feelings of stress, uncertainty and powerlessness. We want to know what the experience is like for families and how we can best support children and families while they wait for speech therapy.”

“We are looking for children aged between three and six years whose parents are concerned about their speech or language development. This may include children who are hard to understand and have difficulty producing clear speech sounds, or children who have trouble putting sentences together and following instructions.”

Mrs McGill noted, however, that there are some children who are not eligible to participate in her study.

“Children with complex communication and developmental needs or diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder or a diagnosed hearing loss are not eligible to participate in the research,” she said.

“And children must live within the Goulburn Valley Health catchment area, which includes Shepparton, Tatura, Numurkah, Euroa, Murchison, and Nathalia.”

To take part in the study, please call Ms Catherine Teskera at Community Health Speech Pathology, Goulburn Valley Health, on 1800 222 582 to make a referral. Enquiries can also be directed to Mrs Nicole McGill via email nmcgill@csu.edu.au. Recruitment for this study closes on 30 September.

The assessments as part of this study are completed at the community health centre in Shepparton.

Media contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mrs Nicole McGill, who is based in Shepparton, Victoria.

Read a past story on the project here.

Photo of Nicole McGill by Kellie Crosier Photography.