Getting started with Adult Speech Pathology services can be a daunting experience. Maybe you or a loved one have experienced an injury or have recently been diagnosed with a condition that has impacted communication, swallowing, or both. You’re now seeking Speech Pathology services for adults, and the choices and to-do list just keeps getting longer!
Our helpful guide was written by experienced Speech Pathologists who support adults just like you to improve and retain speech, language and swallowing skills so that you can participate in the things you love. Let’s explore what you’ll need to know as you get started with adult speech pathology services for the first time.
How to Get Started with Adult Speech Pathology Services
Step One: Be Aware of the Changes You’re Experiencing
As you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve noticed certain symptoms or challenges arising for either yourself or a loved one. They may have started small, but as they have started to occur more frequently and are causing a greater impact on every day activities, it’s time to seek adult Speech Pathology support.
These symptoms may be unexpected, or they could be associated with a pre-existing condition or diagnosis like Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, or even occurring suddenly after a stroke.
Some of the most common symptoms impacting adults who need Speech Pathology services are:
- Speaking softly / too quietly to be heard
- Speaking in a monotone
- Speaking too loudly
- Difficulty swallowing
- Coughing after eating or drinking
- Difficulty finding the right words that you want to say
- Difficulty with reading or writing
- Difficulty understanding what others are saying to you
You may first bring these symptoms to your local GP who will refer you to a Speech Pathologist, however this isn’t necessary in order to access adult Speech Pathology services.
Step Two: Look for a Speech Pathologist Located Nearby
Once you’ve noted your symptoms, it’s best to get in contact with a few local Speech Pathology clinics that offer Adult Speech Pathology services. Waitlist times in Australia are long, so it can take a while for you to access your first session. The sooner you can get on a waitlist, the better!
To find a local Speech Pathologist, we recommend using the Speech Pathology Australia directory.
Step Three: Arrange an Assessment
During your first couple of Speech Pathology sessions, you’ll likely have an assessment or two conducted by your treating Speech Pathologist. They will use these assessments to determine the severity of the challenges you’re experiencing and the priorities for your treatment. Assessment is an important part of the Speech Pathology process, ensuring that you get the treatment and support that you need!
Step Four: Begin Targeted Adult Speech Pathology Sessions
Now that you’ve had your assessments completed and an evaluation report created by your treating Speech Pathologist, it’s time to move on to the next stage – treatment. Your treating Speech Pathologist will use your assessment results to create a structured treatment plan to support you in alleviating or managing your symptoms.
You’ll also work with your Speech Pathologist to choose some speech therapy goals to work towards, so that you can have a say in what is most important to you! Depending on the nature of the challenges you’re experiencing, you can expect to see your Speech Pathologist anywhere from a few months to years. It all comes down to your diagnosis, the severity of challenges you’re experiencing, and the response to treatment.
Step Five: Maintain Your Gains with Consistent Home Practice
Taking part in regular speech therapy sessions is just the beginning of your adult Speech Pathology journey! To get the best results and to maintain your gains over the long-term, we recommend setting up a consistent home practice routine. Your treating Speech Pathologist will support you with activities and plenty of guidance to help you get set up to practice your speech therapy exercises at home. It’s all about helping you to achieve your goals!
We hope that this article helped you feel more prepared as you get started with Adult speech pathology services for the first time. Our team of friendly, experienced Speech Pathologists support adults of all ages and abilities to improve their speech, language, and swallowing so they can participate in and enjoy their favourite activities! To learn more about our services for adults, click here.