Our Services

Extra Ed speech pathologists provide the following services:

  • Assessment 
  • Therapy/Treatment
  • Case Review & Discussion


The first step for all new students and families is a discussion with Karen Walter, the speech pathologist & practice manager. This is conducted with a parent on the phone, or in face to face discussion if a case is complex. In it, information regarding the following is established, discussed and collected:

  • Background & history of the student
  • Reason for seeking assistance
  • Previous intervention and supports
  • Other assessments completed by related health professionals
  • Current parental & school concerns and priorities
  • Questions parents have and wish to be answered
  • Sometimes the child’s school or another professional needs to be consulted.

After this process, Karen establishes the exact parameters of the speech, language &/or literacy assessment or treatment required. In other words, Karen determines what does and doesn’t need to be done next.

An assessment of some form is usually required in order to begin a program of work  with an Extra Ed Speech Pathologist, but we don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Instead, it is tailored to suit the individual student. By the time they come to us, most of our students do not need ‘more of the same’ approach they have been receiving at school; they need a different approach that suits their learning needs. A thorough assessment ensures that the work done with the student following the assessment, is relevant, specific, and therefore as effective as possible. Given a choice, Extra Ed staff would prefer to do any necessary assessment themselves, but every effort is made to utilize any current and relevant assessments from other professionals so that the cost to families is minimised.

An assessment usually entails administering a series of formal & informal tests & measures  in order to establish:

  • Whether a problem exists and to what degree (relative to a child’s peers)
  • The nature of the problem
  • Which skills need support & development
  • At what level work needs to begin

The assessment results also serve as a baseline measure, against which, change and improvement can be measured once treatment has begun.


Reports are provided following an assessment. Reports provide an important record of your child’s skills and abilities at that time,  and are an efficient way of providing key information regarding a student’s strengths and weaknesses to other parents and professionals, tutors and school staff if that is required.  Reports also typically provide important recommendations for follow up by those working with the student. These suggest ways the student’s difficulties can be supported and compensated for, but importantly, where relevant, how their skill deficiencies can be improved.

Reports required for government funding or VCE Special Exam Provision applications are also able to be written where a student meets the criteria.


Individual therapy sessions are typically once per week for approximately 40 minutes. They are always one-on-one so that the child’s individual needs can be catered for.

Home practice tasks are set to reinforce the skills being practiced & learnt during the sessions, and are usually a key part of the student’s program of work. Many of our students require considerable practice opportunities to master skills that are difficult for them. Home practice contributes very significantly to the practice opportunities students are afforded. Without it, most students will still make gains,  but their progress is usually slower and less significant.

Considerable effort is made to accommodate students for therapy at a convenient time. Many parents initially prefer the idea of a before or after school appointment time. However, when deciding the best time for their child’s therapy session, parents should consider the following:

  • Before and after school appointment times do become available, but are highly sought after, especially by our secondary school age students. Therefore, any option parents of primary school age students can provide us for sessions to occur during the school day, will increase their child’s chance of securing a therapy place. Of course, it is important that our student’s sessions do not cause them to miss any school activity that they really enjoy, or that their teacher regards as critical.
  • Younger students are often best accommodated during the morning,  or at least during the school day when they are better able to concentrate. Bear in mind that, although every effort is made to make many therapy tasks and activities fun, therapy sessions require our students  to concentrate very intensively on tasks that are  necessarily ‘working’ their areas of weakness and difficulty. As such, a therapy session is quite different to a leisure activity like a tennis lesson or dance class.
  • Some students are very unhappy about the idea of having to do extra work on top of their school work. These students are often much happier with an appointment time during school hours that sees them ‘swap’ class time for therapy time.
  • Sometimes parents and teachers express concern about a student missing class time to attend a therapy session at Extra Ed. There are certainly times when this is a legitimate worry, however, the following points need to be considered. Firstly, the work that students do with Extra Ed speech pathologists is rarely supplementary or optional; on the contrary it is almost always a core part of their educational program that can’t be entirely catered for by their school. Secondly, our students work quite hard in their therapy sessions, and the work is tailored to their individual learning needs. This is not necessarily the case in the general classroom in which the teacher must cater for a wide range of abilities and skills. Finally, many of our students do not need ‘more of the same’ classroom work. Our students typically require a different and more intensive approach to improving their skills than the general classroom can realistically provide.


Case Discussion & Overview Sessions are sometimes required  by families who have had a lot of assessments completed by a range of different professionals, but still don’t feel they have a clear understanding of the issues. Extra Ed staff can assist by drawing together the information from past assessments and reports to assist families to see how they are connected (or not). This helps parents to better understand their child’s learning or communication issues and therefore plan the most effective next step or treatment. Further assessment may be recommended where gaps in knowledge exist, however in many cases substantial further assessment is not required.