At Making Milestones, we can provide service in the following areas:
- Speech, Language & Communication
- Feeding Assessments
- Individual therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- Parental Training
- Consultation sessions with your child’s kindergarten or school, to provide guidance, therapy techniques, and intervention strategies
- Consultation with other therapy providers to ensure a multidisciplinary approach to an individual’s therapy program
Our area of expertise with adults, teens and children includes;
Speech is how we say sounds and words. Our speech services can assist in the following areas;
Articulation / Pronunciation
Articulation refers to the clarity of sounds and words we produce. In speech, articulation is how we make sounds using the mouth, lips, and tongue. If someone is articulate, they speak words clearly.
Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a language is spoken. This may refer to generally agreed-upon sequences of sounds used in speaking a given word or language in a specific dialect e.g. correct pronunciation, or simply the way a particular individual speaks a word or language.
However, a person with an articulation disorder or pronunciation issues may potentially have problems forming speech sounds consistently.
- For example, we need to be able to say the ‘r’ sound to say ‘rabbit’ instead of ‘wabbit.’
Lisps are also common with articulation disorders and some people may have problems making sounds and forming particular speech sounds properly.
- For example, they may lisp, so that ‘s’ sounds like ‘th’.
Speech pathology can help identify the cause and provide a treatment plan which includes regular therapy appointments and exercises for you to do individually or with your child at home.
With appropriate speech therapy, many adults and children with articulation disorders will have significant improvement in their speech.
Phonology refers to the pattern in which sounds are put together to make words. Phonological disorders can present when sounds are made correctly but may be used in the wrong position in a word or in the wrong word.
- For example, an individual may use the ‘d’ sound instead of the ‘g’ sound, and so they say ‘doh’ instead of ‘go’.
- Or the individual may make mistakes with the particular sounds in words, for example, they can say kin ‘kite’ but with certain words, will leave it out e.g. ‘lie’ instead of ‘like’.
Phonological disorders and phonemic awareness (the understanding of sounds and sound rules in words) have been linked to ongoing problems with language and literacy in children. Therefore, it is important to make sure children get the most appropriate assessment and treatment.
Making Milestones can provide school speech support and work alongside classroom teachers and SSO/Aids to ensure children engage, thrive and succeed in their educational setting.
Our voice provides the basic sound for speech and language.
Voice is how we use our vocal folds and breath to make sounds. Our voice can be loud or soft or high- or low-pitched.
Voice allows us to communicate how and what we want to say. Voice issues and disorders can sometimes happen when the vocal folds (vocal cords) in the larynx (voice box) are not working effectively. They can interfere with our ability to communicate.
We can assist with voice in the following areas;
- Strained Voice
- Soft Speech
- Variation and Flexibility in pitch and loudness
- Tight scratchy voices; tired voices
- Muscular and Neurological disorders and diseases (e.g. Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy)
- Muscular rehabilitation (e.g. brain injuries, stroke)
- Transgender communication
- Voice training
At Making Milestones, we can also work alongside other health professionals like Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists to assist in diagnosing and treating voice problems.
Fluency refers to the smoothness or flow with which sounds, syllables, words and phrases are said when talking. Fluency is the rhythm of our speech. We sometimes repeat sounds or pause while talking.
When an adult or child is not speaking fluently terms like stuttering, stammering or cluttering are often used.
Speech may also be dysfluent when they are trying to ‘think of what to say’ and are planning the words and sequence of words that they are going to use.
If someone is having difficulties with their fluency they may;
- Show frustration because they can’t get their words out and seem to get stuck on words a lot of the time
- Repeat sounds, syllables or phrases regularly in their speech
- Have lots of stops and starts in speech; a lack of flow and their speech is difficult to follow and understand
- Avoids certain words and/or phrases because they might have difficulty saying them or they get stuck on those words
- Avoid talking aloud because they are having difficulty communicating fluently with others
- Show behaviours like foot tapping, blinking or slapping their leg when trying to get a word out
- Say ‘um’, ‘er’ or ‘ah’ a lot whilst thinking about what they want to say and rephrase sentences whilst talking
(W&CH – Child Development Unit 2019)
Speaking fluently is important to ensure we can relay information and socialise effectively. Speech pathology can assist with fluency by improving an individual’s ability to speak without repeating words and sounds and allowing the individual to engage effectively with their peers and adult interactions.
By assessing the individual and providing a treatment plan as well as therapy and long term-goals, Making Milestones can help relieve verbal frustrations and assist in boosting confidence and self-esteem.
Language refers to the words we use and how we use them to share ideas and get what we want. Languages can be spoken, signed and/or written. It can help individuals understand and use words and sentences to communicate and interact effectively.
- What words mean
- How to make new words
- How to put words together
- What we should say at different times
There are two types of oral language concepts;
Expressive disorders include difficulty aligning words, limited vocabulary, or the inability to use language in a socially appropriate environment.
Receptive disorders refer to difficulties in understanding or processing language.
We can help individuals understand and use words and sentences to communicate and interact effectively.
Our language therapy services can assist clients in the following areas;
- Listening skills to support clients in understanding what is being said and following directions
- Vocabulary skills to support knowledge of what things are called and their ability to understand those words when spoken as well as to recall and say the word when needed
- Questioning skills to support the client’s ability to answer and ask questions with a variety of structures
- Social language skills to support the client’s ability to use language and interact with others and follow social rules of conversation and play
- Literacy skills to support one’s ability to read and write
- Key Word Sign to support non-verbal communication
Making Milestones understands the importance of communication and finding alternate ways to connect to suit all language abilities. Our aim is to design enriching speech and language programs to support and develop all skill sets and abilities.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioural challenges. The disorder is referred to as a spectrum because there is a wide range of features among people with ASD.
Below are some patterns of language use and behaviours that are often found in children with ASD.
- Repetitive or rigid language
- Narrow interests and exceptional abilities
- Uneven language development
- Poor non-verbal conversation skills
At Making Milestones, we can provide Autism support in speech and language as well as education for families.
Our therapy and intervention programs are focused on the specific needs of the child. This can help develop expressive and receptive language, play and social skills, and emotional development.
We can achieve this by assessing your child and using active assessments such as play, conversation and other strategies. Observation of your child’s interactions and communication with others can also assist in the assessment process.
Standardised assessments will allow us to gain an insight into your child’s strengths and enable us to tailor inclusive programs that focus on the unique challenges your child is facing.
Our assessments will assess the following areas;
- Receptive language (what your child understands of spoken language)
- Expressive language (your child’s use of sentences and grammar)
- Pragmatic language (how your child uses language in a social context to interact with others)
- Literacy and phonological skills (the developmental of reading, writing and spelling skills)
- Articulation / Pronunciation
- Fluency of speech
- Social and play skills
Making Milestones also has extensive experience working with teens and adults on the spectrum.
Our main aim is to assist clients and families in overcoming any communication barriers and challenges. We believe in a multidisciplinary approach and will work with other professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Psychologists to support your child.
Children grow and learn at their own pace however, some children can fall behind with fine and gross motor skills, emotional and social skills, cognitive thinking skills as well as speech and language.
Possible causes for developmental delays in speech and language include;
- Hearing loss and constant ear infections
- Tongue-tie or palate complications
- A mild to moderate learning disability
- An intellectual disability related to birth injuries or genetic disorders
- A developmental disorder like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Physical illness and long-periods in hospital
- Family stress and childhood trauma
Making Milestones can assist children with developmental delays by creating supportive and safe learning spaces and provide personalised therapy programs to meet their individual growing needs.
Early intervention is key and positive partnerships with Paediatricians, GPs, Specialists and other Allied Health professionals will ensure children can reach their potential.
At Making Milestones, we’re trained in assessing, diagnosing & treating feeding challenges in both adults and children. We take a multi-disciplinary approach that focuses on tailored mealtime strategies to ensure a successful mealtime. We provide an intensive therapy assessment to better understand the individual and their needs. This includes assessing current oral motor skills, swallowing disorders, fussiness and sensory preferences. We can help to overcome these challenges by implementing an effective and practical plan for successful mealtimes.
Oral Motor Examination and Food and Fluid Trials
What does a feeding assessment look like? (Children & Adults)
A diagnostic feeding assessment at Making Milestones may include;
- Obtaining your child’s medical and developmental history
- An evaluation of your child’s feeding which includes an assessment of their eating/drinking skills.
- Cervical Auscultation – a stethoscope may be used at this appointment to determine the timeliness of their suck/swallow.
- An aspiration and penetration examination and assessing the muscle tone
- Assessing your child’s response to new and non-preferred foods
- Evaluating your child’s current challenges, fussiness and behaviours at mealtimes
- Assessing how your family interacts around foods and mealtimes
- A written report is recommended and will be provided following the appointment. This will outline the major findings of the assessment and will provide key goals and strategies to overcome your child’s feeding challenges.
We identify feeding success with a multi-disciplinary approach. We’ll recommend additional allied health services if we believe your child would greatly benefit from other therapies and encourage positive feeding practice.
For example, an Occupational Therapist may assist with your child’s vestibular energy needs and provide practical activity ideas to help calm a child in response to mealtimes. In addition, a Dietician can assist with nutrition and healthy fun food options to help alleviate further stress at mealtimes.
The first step in determining the presence of a swallowing disorder is undertaking a clinical evaluation. At Making Milestones, we can provide in-house clinical reviews and examinations to determine swallow capability.
Dysphagia is the medical term used to describe having difficulty swallowing. This means it may take more time to move food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. This includes problems with sucking, swallowing, drinking, chewing, eating, dribbling saliva, closing your lips, choking episodes, or when food or drink goes down the wrong way. For some, swallowing may even be impossible. Persistent swallowing issues are a cause for concern at any age and require immediate examination and medical treatment.
At Making Milestones, our goal is to create safe eating and drinking strategies for individuals. This can be achieved by an in-depth examination that observes the swallow function and evaluates the severity of the swallowing problem.
Moreso, a referral for a videofluoroscopic swallowing exam may also be advised as it looks at the ability to swallow safely and effectively. This non-invasive exam uses fluoroscopy to help identify the thicknesses of liquid and food that you can most safely eat.
After a range of assessments as well as food consistency and fluid trials, Making Milestones will identify the best oral management plan for the individual’s needs and ongoing therapy sessions will ensure maximum support and swallowing success.
Paediatric Feeding and Mealtime Support
We can provide quality assessment of swallowing and meal time management. Dysphagia experience. Eating disorders. Headspace and food aversions
GROUP SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS
Our group information sessions and workshops are facilitated by an accredited psychologist, speech pathologist, dietitian, or occupational therapist depending on the subject. They’re designed to equip and empower parents to better understand and support their child’s needs. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of your child as well as evidence-based strategies you can implement at home. Please call or email us to register your interest in our upcoming events.