About the clinic
The Communication Clinic is held at the Centre for Community Child Health, The Royal Children's Hospital. It was established to assess children suspected of having complex speech and language problems.
One in seven children has a speech or language problem. Whilst many problems get better, those which continue into primary school can affect reading and writing, relationships with other children, behaviour and school progress.
Patients are bulk billed for their consultation. They therefore need a referral from their general practitioner to attend the clinic.
About speech and language disorders
The Communication Clinic accepts referrals for children who are suspected of having significant communication problems. Some of these problems include Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia, Epileptic Aphasia Syndrome, and Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder. Young children thought to have autistic features will be seen. However, the Communication Clinic does not provide a formal multidisciplinary Autism assessment, as the team does not have the services of a Psychologist. In addition, children known to have significant physical problems such as cerebral palsy are redirected to other specialist multidisciplinary clinics within the hospital for assessment.
The clinic makes referrals to other Royal Children's Hospital departments such as Audiology, Neurology, Genetics and Psychology when necessary to better understand the child's problem. The clinic staff also work closely with community organisations to arrange therapy services once assessment is finished.
The aim of the clinic is to assess and diagnose the child's communication problem to determine whether it exists in isolation or is part of a wider problem. After assessment, children who need ongoing speech therapy or other intervention are referred to therapy services. We also help families apply for Carers Allowance and access other support services where required.
Clinic staff include consultant paediatricians, speech pathologists, senior paediatric trainees and clinic coordinators. There may be teaching and research activities in the clinic.