Supporting your children's speech development at home

The Ballarat East Neighbourhood House is partnering with local business, Optiform, to offer a series of five free-of-charge online sessions to the Ballarat community to help support families to encourage their children's speech development at home.

Childrens Speech Optiform v2BOOK NOW

Access to Allied Health services is limited at the moment and many families are desperate for support regarding their children’s speech and language development. In partnership with Optifom, the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House will be running some information sessions for local families. Speech Therapist, Meaghan Sullivan will discuss: what’s age appropriate, when to be concerned, ways to stimulate speech and language at home etc. She will offer some strategies, resources and where and when to seek further support.

Sessions will be run on Wednesday evenings online via Zoom from 8.00 pm - 9.00 pm. There will be around 45 minutes of presentation, with around 15 minutes for questions.

The sessions will be free of charge. You can register through the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House (link available soon). For booking questions, please contact the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House.

The sessions include:

  1. Wednesday 13 October – Introduction to children’s speech, language and communication development
  2. Wednesday 20 October – Stimulating speech & language in the first years of life (age 0 – 2)
  3. Wednesday  27 October – Extending speech & language skills in the pre-school years (age 3 – 4)
  4. Wednesday 3 November – Speech sound development – what to expect, when to be concerned, how to support your child
  5. Wednesday 10 November - Social communication development and participation – preparing for the social world at kinder, school & beyond

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Meaghan has a special interest in voice and disorders of the larynx, including vocal cord dysfunction, chronic cough and functional voice disorders. Meaghan has been working as a Speech Pathologist since graduating from Latrobe University in 2002.  She works with children, adolescents and adults with a range of communication difficulties.

QUALIFICATIONS  // B Sp Path, B.Mus (Voice)
AREAS OF INTEREST // Voice & laryngeal disorders, Acquired Brain Injury, Stuttering, Early Intervention/ ”late talkers”, Language disorders , Articulation & Phonology, Literacy learning, Dysphagia/swallowing.

Find out more about Optiform.

Resources

Resources - Session 1, Wednesday 13 October: Introduction to children’s speech, language and communication development

During Session 1, Meaghan refered to Children's Communication Milestones available on the Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) website. On the SPA website, these free resources are described as:

"The Communication Milestones Kit is a series of A4-sized downloadable information sheets and an A3-sized poster. These outline the talking and understanding milestones for children aged 1-5 years. The information sheets and poster outline how early childhood educators and speech pathologists can work together to ensure that children reach these milestones within the expected timeframes.

The kit also presents information on the role of speech pathologists and how to find a speech pathologist. The information sheets are a useful tool to start a conversation about a child who may be having difficulty with their speech, language and communication."

Revised Communication Milestone Poster 2018 from SPA website OCT 2021 smallSource: Speech Pathology Australia Website, October 2021

Resources: Session 2, Wednesday 20 October: Stimulating speech & language in the first years of life (age 0 – 2)

Videos on YouTube from The Hanen Centre:

1. True or False: 5 Common Assumptions about Language Development
"Do boys talk later than girls? Do children who are late talkers “grow out of it”? There are so many common assumptions out there about language development. Let’s take a look at what the research says through a little game of “True or False”. Together we’ll learn if the evidence supports or debunks these popularly held beliefs."
 
"Like all parents, you’re probably very eager to hear your child’s first words! But before learning to talk, your child must learn to communicate without words through sounds and gestures. Let’s explore some of the most common ways children communicate without words and what you can do to help encourage their language development."
 
3. You Are the Key to Your Child’s First Words
"What sets the stage for children to say their first words? Find out how you, as a parent, can have the biggest impact in helping your child learn language."
 
Information sheets from Optiform will be posted here shortly.