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What is Early Intervention?

At The Soundmill Centre, early intervention involves providing specialised speech and language therapy services to infants, toddlers and young children who are at-risk for, or are already demonstrating, communication delays or disorders.  Speech-language pathologists can address a wide range of communication issues during the early childhood years, including speech sound disorders, language delays, expressive and receptive language disorders, stuttering, social communication difficulties, feeding differences, and much more.  

Early intervention is crucial because it aims to address speech, language, communication and feeding issues during a critical period of childhood development by helping children to interact with family, educators and peers, to express their needs and wants effectively and to develop a strong speech and language foundation that will help them thrive when they enter the schooling years.  


Early intervention at The Soundmill Centre is guided by research evidence that early identification and intervention can significantly improve a child's long-term communication abilities and overall quality of life.

What Types of Difficulties Can Be Supported by Early Intervention?

At The Soundmill Centre, our experienced speech-language pathologists work with a wide range of speech, language, communication and feeding disorders that infants, toddlers and young children may experience.  These disorders and difficulties can vary in severity and may affect a child's ability to communicate effectively in a range of environments.  Common types of difficulties our speech-language pathologists work with include:

  • Articulation Delays or Disorders:  An articulation delay or disorder involves difficulties producing various speech sounds correctly.  These types of difficulties can include distorting sounds when speaking, such as a lisp.

  • Phonological Delays or Disorders:  Phonological delays or disorders involve difficulties correctly using patterns of sounds in our language.  It is typical for children to simplify their speech in predictable ways when they are very young; however, these ways of simplifying speech should be eliminated by various ages in the early childhood years.  An example of how a child may simplify their speech could be changing /k/ to /t/ so that a word like 'car' becomes 'tar'.

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS):  CAS is a motor-based speech disorder that affects a child's ability to plan and co-ordinate movements necessary for clear and accurate speech.  CAS involves difficulties producing speech sounds, syllables, and words due to a breakdown in the neural pathways responsible for controlling the muscles involved in speech production.

  • Receptive Language Delays or Disorders: Receptive language difficulties affect a child's ability to understand spoken language.  A child with a receptive language disorder may find it difficult to follow directions, comprehend questions or understanding the meaning of words and sentences.

  • Expressive Language Delays or Disorders:  Difficulties with expressive language can affect a child's ability to express themselves using words and sentences.  These children may find it difficult to form sentences, use grammar appropriately or find the correct words to share their thoughts and feelings.

  • Social Communication Disorders: Social communication disorders are characterised by difficulties using language for social purposes such as engaging in conversational exchange, using appropriate greetings, understanding humor, talking to friends, understanding non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions, and understanding social conventions when communicating.  

  • Stuttering (Fluency Disorders):  Stuttering is a disorder of fluency and involves disruptions to the flow of speech such as repetitions of sounds or words, prolongation of sounds and blocking of speech sounds when communicating. 

  • Feeding Disorders:  At The Soundmill Centre we work with children who are 'picky' or 'problem' eaters through one-on-one individualised therapy plans.  Feeding therapy for young children in the early childhood years can lead to improved nutrition and overall health.

What Does Speech Pathology and Early Intervention Look Like?

At The Soundmill Centre, our early intervention approach involves identifying your child's specific difficulties and then developing a comprehensive and individualised treatment plan.  The strategies we employ are evidenced-based and vary depending on a child's age, needs and the nature of their speech, language or feeding challenges.  Early intervention at The Soundmill Centre involves:

  • Assessment and Evaluation: Our early intervention process begins with a thorough evaluation and assessment and may include standardised tests, informal observations, and parent/caregiver interviews to gather information about the child's communication abilities, strengths, and challenges.

  • Development of Individualised Treatment Plan:  Based on the assessment results, we develop individualised and holistic treatment plans that outline the objectives of therapy and strategies to achieve these objectives.​ Goals may include improving speech sound production, expanding vocabulary, enhancing grammar and syntax, enhancing social communication skills, and addressing any feeding issues if present.

  • Parent/Caregiver Involvement:  At The Soundmill Centre, our early intervention approach involves a strong emphasis on involving parents and caregivers in therapy sessions so that our speech-language pathologists can guide and support parents/caregivers on how to best support their child's speech, language, or feeding development at home.  Parent coaching could involve how to use communication strategies, facilitate language-rich environments and ways to reinforce goals during everyday activities.

  • Play-Based and Age-Appropriate Activities:  Our early intervention therapy sessions are often play-based and are designed to be engaging, motivating and age-appropriate.  Our play activities are selected to target specific speech and language goals.  The use of play enables children to learn and practice their communication skills in a natural, enjoyable and transferrable-to-home way.

  • Consistency and Frequency:  At The Soundmill Centre, our early intervention approach involves regular therapy sessions that occur on a consistent schedule, often weekly or fortnightly.

  • Progress Monitoring and Adjustments:  Integral to our early intervention therapy approach is continuous monitoring of a child's speech, language or feeding development.  This allows our therapists to adjust and evolve treatment plans based on a child's current needs to ensure therapy remains effective.

  • Collaborative approach:  Our early intervention approach frequently involves collaboration with other professionals, such as pediatricians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and educators, to provide comprehensive support for the child.

Why Trust the Soundmill Centre for Early Intervention Speech Pathology?

We aim to be a provider of excellence in speech, language and feeding development for infants, toddlers and young children.  Our early intervention practises are evidence-based, informed by current research data, and are focused on helping children develop effective and life-long skills to overcome early communication or feeding challenges and to maximise potential for success in school and social settings.  We pride ourselves on our family-centred approach that recognises the importance of involving parents, caregivers, and related professionals in the therapy process to support young children to thrive.

Early Intervention for Children Under 5-Years

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