Speech Pathology for Children

Communication begins at birth

Delayed or disordered speech and language development can lead to a breakdown in communication with our children. Early assessment and intervention is therefore vital, to ensure that children achieve their maximum potential. Addressing difficulties early helps to prevent some of the associated difficulties, such as frustration, withdrawal and difficulties with social skills. Zoe is experienced in dealing with children. She knows how to make them feel comfortable and how to make therapy fun! This is key for achieving progress.

Hearing is crucial to communication development in children. If your child has suffered with ear infections as a baby, toddler or into preschool, it is likely that at some point, it has been difficult for them to hear. This impacts on communication development in a number of ways, and varies between individuals.

Therefore, at your first appointment it is likely that Zoe will discuss your child’s hearing history. To save time, it is advisable to have a hearing assessment completed prior to this appointment. In most instances, you will need a referral from a General Practitioner. Please contact your General Practitioner for a list of the services offered on the Gold Coast.


Communication difficulties treated by Zoe Ward Speech Pathology:

Language Delay

This includes children who:

  • Are late talkers;
  • Have limited vocabulary development;
  • Find it difficult to express themselves;
  • Do not understand well or experience difficulty following directions.

Speech Delay

This includes children who:

  • Are difficult to understand;
  • Find it difficult to sequence sounds correctly;
  • Produce speech sound errors beyond the acceptable age.


This includes children who produce repetitions, prolongations, and blocking of sounds and syllables. Your child knows what he wants to say, ie. but is unable to produce it smoothly.

Zoe is professionally trained by the Australian Stuttering Research Centre in the use of the Lidcombe Program for pre-school aged children whom stutter.

Feeding Difficulties

For a variety of reasons babies and children have problems with feeding and eating at mealtimes. For babies this may include:

  • Problems with sucking and swallowing;
  • Refusal of food or bottles;
  • Long or difficult feed times;
  • Problems with gaining weight.

For toddlers and young children this may include:

  • Difficulties with the skills required for eating and drinking, including biting, chewing and swallowing.
  • Food refusal resulting in a very limited range of foods or a restricted way in which they will accept foods.

Sometimes, parents are unsure of the reason mealtimes are so stressful.  Zoe Ward Speech Pathology has the expertise required to problem solve with you and make mealtimes more enjoyable.  Zoe has been professionally trained in the SOS Approach (Sequential Oral Sensory) to feeding difficulties.

Voice Disorders

This includes children who:

  • Have husky voices as a result of incorrect use of their voice;
  • Have unusual intonation patterns;
  • Use inappropriately loud or soft voices.

Your Initial Appointment – Assessment

Prior to intervention taking place, Zoe Ward Speech Pathology may use a variety of assessment strategies, both formal and informal, to gain a complete understanding of your child’s needs. Assessment sessions may require two sessions to complete. Results are then discussed and a report is completed, outlining the presenting problem and recommendations for therapy. Please have any reports or previous assessments relating to your communication or swallowing difficulty available, as this may assist with assessment and treatment.

Subsequent Sessions – Treatment

Following assessment, an individualised therapy plan will be developed in consultation with your goals. As well as our professional goals, your goals are our priority. Therapy sessions are typically 45 minutes, and may include home work activities. Longer sessions are available for those that require it.

If you are looking for a Speech Pathologist on the Gold Coast, please go to our Contact Us page and send Zoe an enquiry.