The Eastern Health Speech Pathology teams work with adults, adolescents and children with communication, thinking skills (cognition) and swallowing difficulties.

Communication difficulties may include problems with:

  • Talking e.g. thinking of the right words to say
  • Understanding what people are saying
  • Following instructions
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speech – producing the right sounds in words so that people can understand what you are saying
  • A change in how your voice sounds
  • Stuttering– difficulty getting your words out fluently/smoothly

Thinking skills (cognitive) difficulties may include problems with:

  • Memory – remembering important events, details or things that happened recently. For example: remembering who came to visit you.
  • Judgement – using common sense to make reasonable decisions. For example: you may find it hard to know when it is safe to cross the road.
  • Planning – planning what you are going to do or where you are going. You may forget steps in tasks. For example: you may forget to put your socks on before your shoes.
  • Attention – concentrating on things going on around you. For example: you may find it hard to watch a full episode on TV or talk to more than one person at one time.
  • Problem solving – thinking about how to solve problems in a sensible way. For example: you may find it hard to think about all the information before making a decision.
  • Insight – knowing what difficulties you have and what you are good at. For example: you may find it hard to know when you are doing things that are dangerous, or when you need help.

Communication and thinking (cognitive) difficulties can impact a person’s ability to participate in everyday activities such as:

  • Talking with your family about your day
  • Following a conversation
  • Ordering a meal at a busy café
  • Giving a presentation at work or school
  • Performing complex work tasks
  • Reading the newspaper or paying bills
  • Writing a letter, email or birthday and Christmas card

Swallowing problems may include:

  • A change in how safe and easy it is to swallow food and drink
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
  • Coughing when eating or drinking
  • A feeling that food gets ‘stuck’ in your throat
  • Difficulties managing particular textures of food and liquids

Communication, thinking (cognition) and swallowing problems can be caused by:

  • Damage to the brain e.g. following stroke, head injury or tumour
  • Other conditions affecting the brain, e.g. Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease or Motor Neuron Disease
  • Breathing difficulties, such as in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or if a breathing tube (tracheostomy) is needed
  • Cancer affecting the head and neck
  • Difficulties present at birth e.g. cleft palate, cerebral palsy; or during childhood, e.g. learning delay or disability

The Speech Pathologist works with people and their families, carers and friends to:

  • Diagnose the type of communication and swallowing difficulty
  • Work with other health professionals to diagnose cognition difficulties
  • Provide advice and support
  • Set goals that are important and relevant to each individual and their situation, such as returning to work, living independently, communicating with family and friends, and/or safely and comfortably eating a meal
  • Provide therapy to support the communication, cognitive or swallowing skills required to reach these goals
Address All major sites across Eastern Health
Contact P: 1300 342 255 or 1300 EH Call
Hours 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday-Friday