Frequently Asked Questions

Private Speech Pathologists Association of WA
Why is reading so difficult for some children?

There are a number of possible reasons why children find it hard to acquire functional, easy literacy, even for very bright children. Dyslexia (which simply means a difficulty with written language out of proportion to general cognitive functioning) can happen with any children. To solve the problem it is absolutely essential that we work out WHY there is a problem, and sort out the underlying cognitive (thinking) difficulties. Unless we identify where the breakdown is occurring, remediation will work at a surface level only and not actually fix the issue and your child will most likely continue to struggle to keep up.

Reading and writing actually require a great deal of multitasking – at least thirty different thinking processes need to happen at the same time. This level of multitasking requires a functional working memory. One of the most common reasons for effortful literacy is poor executive functions, which includes working memory, focussing and attention.

Another key reason is poor auditory processing. Research has established that children are likely to struggle with literacy if they have difficult processing sound when they are young. Children can be tested and found to have normal hearing but still not process sound well in their brain. Reading requires a high level of sound manipulation- at a basic level hearing all the sounds that make up words, and at a higher level hearing the tune in the sentences.

Some children, even bright children, can excellent language processing skills in many ways but have difficulty with inferential reasoning, which means that they may be able to read the words but not necessarily remember or understand what they read. They may even take things literally instead of ‘reading into’ the text.

Other children have difficulty visually processing the text on the page, and appropriate referrals can be made to sort this.

We can develop the neural pathways your child needs to read, write and spell so that they do not need to struggle at school.

Do I need a referral?
A medical referral is not a requirement for assessment and treatment by a private Speech Pathologist, but is of course much appreciated. Correspondence from other providers of services to the client is also most welcome.

If a General Practitioner considers a client to have a “chronic” medical condition requiring more than one type of allied health intervention, the GP may provide a special referral. For further information please speak to your GP.

Veterans who want to access speech pathology services need a referral from their GP.

How much do private Speech Pathology services cost?
Fees set by providers are based on the type of service provided (e.g. assessment, therapy, report) and the duration of the session. If families are privately insured, they may receive a rebate, dependent on their level of cover. A Medicare rebate may also be available. Some people choose to consult a private practitioner without private health insurance.

It is advisable the patients are aware of both the fees charged by a provider and their level of health cover, prior to making appointments. This will enable them to make a realistic assessment of the costs involved.

How do I choose a Speech Pathologist?

Members of the PSPAWA work in a range of suburbs and settings and have different experiences and interest areas. You may consider asking the following questions when deciding which Speech Pathologist to contact:

  • Do you need a Speech Pathologist with an interest in a particular field?
  • How far do you wish to travel?
  • Would you like the option of home, school or nursing home visits?
  • What does the service cost and is there a choice of payment options (e.g. cash, cheque or credit card facilities)?
  • What parking is available?
  • If you need access for a pram or wheelchair, is this available?
  • It is acceptable to ask these questions before making an appointment with any Speech Pathologist who is a member of the PSPAWA.
How do I find a private Speech Pathologist?
Click HERE to find a Speech Pathologist.