Speech Pathology

Assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with spoken and written communication difficulties ages 2-18 years


Assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with spoken and written communication difficulties ages 2-18 years


Understanding and using sounds, words and sentences to interact with people in different ways.


Attending, listening, thinking and doing in order to develop and grow.


Sounding out, recognising word patterns and deriving meaning.


Using sounds, letters, grammar and sentences together to create meaning.

Sim Dhaliwal

Speech Pathologist

I graduated from the University of Queensland in 1994 with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology and am currently a certified practising member of Speech Pathology Australia. I worked within the public education system until 2009 and then worked privately from then onwards.

I have worked across the public, Catholic and Independent school systems with a range of children with spoken and written communication difficulties.

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My knowledge of support systems available in these sectors means that I can guide parents to successfully advocate for their children’s socio-emotional, behavioural and learning needs in these environments. My experience also says that I can individualise assessments and therapy to the specific difficulties your child faces with his or her learning.

Year level is no barrier to me, and I love working with kids from any age between 2 years and 18 years.

Literacy is a particular interest area of mine, kicking off when I co-authored Nelson Phonics, a phonics program for children in the first three years of school. I have spent a considerable amount of time in recent years, training and reading in this area. Traditional speech pathology stops when a child’s spoken language is developed to age level; however, these children continue to experience difficulties with their literacy. I have developed my stock of assessments and therapy materials to identify and precisely target skills for literacy development.

I am from an Indian and Singaporean background, and I am particularly passionate about supporting children from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds who have communication difficulties. I have many years of experience working with these children and their families, and I am able to support parents to navigate unfamiliar bureaucracies and overcome the additional barriers they may face in trying to obtain an appropriate assessment, diagnosis, funding supports and therapy services that are sensitive to their child’s unique circumstances.

I trained to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder with Autism SA and have many years of experience in administering team diagnostic assessments with clinical psychologists.

What I Can Help With

Late talkers

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For toddlers who don’t have as many words as their peers. I am trained in Hanen’s It Takes Two to Talk and More Than Words.

Language delays / disorders

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For children who have difficulties understanding and communicating using words and sentences.

Foundation literacy skills

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Assessment and intervention in developmental areas that provide the foundation for literacy development. This includes language processing, verbal memory and phonological awareness skills.

Literacy skills

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Assessment and intervention in reading, writing and spelling for children diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia or who have generalised difficulties impacting on literacy.

Children from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds

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Assessment that helps us understand if the child’s difficulties are because of limited exposure to English, or because he or she has a specific difficulty in learning language.

Social skills

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Assessment and intervention for children who struggle to have conversations, maintain friendships or understand another person’s point of view.

Learning difficulties

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Assessment and intervention for children who have learning difficulties that impact on their ability to develop spoken and written communication skills. This includes children with a range of developmental delays or disorders.

Stuttering in early childhood

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Assessment and intervention for children stuttering between 3-5 years.

What I Can Do For You

  • Diagnostic assessments for language delays / disorders, literacy difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorder (team assessments with a clinical psychologist)
  • Differential diagnosis of delay versus disorder in children from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds
  • Therapy targeting areas of weakness as identified in assessments
  • Consultancy to schools and preschools around language, learning and literacy
  • Attendance at One Child One Plan (OCOP) meetings for information sharing
  • Training for SSOs and other support workers
  • Professional development for teachers


Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Speech Pathology and my services.

Does my child need to see a Speech Pathologist?

Your child may benefit from an assessment and intervention if he or she has difficulties in these areas:

  • Following instructions – either spoken or written
  • Remembering or understanding what people say
  • Remembering or understanding what he or she has read
  • Understanding or learning words and ideas
  • Asking or answering questions
  • Thinking of the right words to say or to write
  • Describing things or events either with speech or in his or her writing
  • Using complete sentences with correct grammar when talking or writing
  • Understanding or participating in conversations with people
  • Sounding out words or remembering spelling patterns
  • Using the right sort of language in different social situations

How many sessions will my child need?

This depends on the type and severity of your child’s difficulties, as well as their ability to learn, and the ability of adults (eg parents, teachers, support-workers) to support him or her with their therapy. The number of sessions will vary with each child. We can discuss this after your child’s assessment.

Do I need a referral?

In the first instance, no. You can ring and refer your child if you are concerned.

I am able to discuss various referral options that may be applicable to your child, depending on their circumstances. Generally, a referral is needed for you to access some amount of rebate from Medicare. The amount of rebate depends on the type of referral.

However, if your child is seeing another health professional and it is they who recommended your child see a speech pathologist, it is useful for me to get a referral from this person, as it usually includes a brief summary of their concerns, which helps in the assessment.

What is my role as a parent?

You are central to the success of your child’s therapy. You are involved in these ways:

  • Giving me feedback about how your child went with their homework
  • Watching me during therapy so you can learn how to do things at home
  • Asking me questions to clarify your understanding
  • Relaying any concerns other professionals have
  • Doing speech therapy homework with your child

Is there funding support available for speech therapy?

Yes! The costs for therapy can be high for families and it is worthwhile investigating funding support from these sources:


If your child is referred under the Chronic Disease Management Plan (speak to your child’s GP about your child’s eligibility) or the Helping Children with Autism program (speak to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s eligibility), you will be able to claim a portion of the cost of some therapy sessions from Medicare.

Private Health Insurance

Check if speech therapy is covered by your private health insurance. The amount you get back will vary depending on your level of cover.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

I am able to see participants in the NDIS if they are self-managed or plan-managed. I am also able to support clients through the application process to receive funding support through the NDIS.

Centrelink’s Carer’s Allowance

You may be eligible for this allowance if your child has a significant disability. You can use this funding towards the cost of speech therapy.

How long does a therapy session take?

This depends of many factors, including how long your child can attend and how many goals we are working on. Usually, sessions are between 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Sometimes they are 30 minutes. We will discuss and agree upon the length of the sessions before we start.

The length of the sessions may change over time.

How do we go about getting a report?

During the assessment process, we will share information about your child and negotiate if a report is needed, and if so, what type of report.

There are different kinds of reports, for example:

  • A diagnostic assessment report that describes the assessments used, how your child went, and implications for their learning and socialisation.
  • A summary report that briefly explains your child’s scores in tests.
  • A progress summary that explains what we have been working on and how your child has been progressing.
  • A letter to other health professionals involved, for the purposes of information sharing.
  • An NDIS progress report that informs the agency about the service I have provided and how therapy has aligned with your child’s NDIS goals.
  • A report for a referral to a specialised program (eg Speech and Language Program).

Reports vary in terms of time taken to write them. As such, charges for reports vary. The cost of the report will be part of our discussion during the assessment process.

What happens if I need to cancel a session?

Ring me as soon as possible. Late cancellations (within 24 hours of the appointment) may attract a 50% charge. But this depends on the circumstances.

How can I make an appointment for my child?

Ring me and discuss your child’s needs and availability. We can negotiate a time that suits you and your child. Sometimes after school and weekend appointments are available.

How much does an assessment cost?

The cost will vary depending on the age of your child, as well as the number of areas that need to be assessed. After discussing the concerns you have about your child, I will be able to outline the assessment protocol, along with the cost. You can then decide if you would like to go ahead with the assessment.

How much will speech therapy cost?

Initial appointment (0-5 years) $250 (60 mins)
Initial appointment (school-aged) $270 (60 mins)

Written report (0-3 pages) $100
Written report (4-10 pages) $180
Written report (10 + pages) $250

Therapy session 30 mins $90
Therapy session 45 mins $135
Therapy session 60 mins $175

Autism Diagnostic Team Assessment $700
+$700 (clinical psychologist)

How often will my child need speech therapy?

This depends on the severity and type of difficulties your child presents with, how much support your child gets to work on speech therapy “homework” between sessions, as well as how they respond to therapy. Sessions can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly, depending on the needs of your child.

What should I expect from speech therapy for my child?

At the start of an assessment, I discuss your concerns about your child’s learning and together, we develop a plan for assessment. When the assessment is completed, we discuss the results and what they may mean for your child. I may also discuss other supports for your child, such as referring on to other professionals or explaining what supports may be available for your child in the learning environment (child care, preschool, school).

During each session, I work with your child to determine where he or she is at with specific skills and provide activities accordingly. I then provide you with instructions and demonstrations about how to do the activities so that you can do them at home with your child. At the following session, I ask you for feedback and modify or change activities accordingly. In this way, you and I work together to develop a program that suits your child’s individual needs.

Can I decide to stop treatment?

Assessment and therapy services are led by the parents. I will provide advice about recommended frequency and duration of therapy. But ultimately you decided what suits you, your child and your family. We negotiate this, including when is an ideal time to stop.

Is there homework involved with speech therapy?

Yes! Children make the best progress when they work on the skills I introduce to them in therapy, in between sessions. Not only is this good for the child, but it is also great for parents as it helps you understand your child’s learning needs and gives you an avenue to support them to develop. It also helps you advocate for your child at their school or preschool.

I am very careful to design homework activities that are individualised to your child’s needs. In therapy, I explain the goal of each activity, demonstrate how to do it and then provide instructions and materials in the child’s homework book, for you. At the next session, I ask for feedback from you and then modify activities accordingly.

Can the speech pathologist talk to my child’s teachers?

Yes of course! I frequently keep in touch with teachers in these ways:

  • Email contact
  • Phone contact
  • Communication book: This is a book that travels between parents, teachers and myself so we are all on the same page.
  • Homework books: All my clients have homework books with activities that help parents work on specific skills with their child between sessions. Teachers are welcome to have a look to see what we are doing and how we are doing it. They are welcome to add comments or questions.
  • Attendance at meetings for the child: This is a great way for me to explain the findings in my report, to explain what we are targeting in therapy, share any observations I have made around the child’s learning and to be available to answer any questions the teacher may have.
  • Professional development: Sometimes teachers ask me to provide training to staff so they are able to use the knowledge and strategies in the learning environment.

How can I pay for speech therapy sessions?

At the end of each session, I will email you an invoice. Invoices can be paid via bank transfer or credit card. Just follow the link on the invoice you receive.

You can then claim any rebates that your child may be eligible for.

Why should I choose an independent speech pathologist?

Choosing me means that you get the personalised touch. I have the time and flexibility to:

  • Design an individualised assessment protocol for your child that is informative and provides direction for intervention,
  • work with you and your child at his or her pace,
  • and develop a strategy and a program that works best for your child.

Although I work independently, it does not mean I work alone. My work is supported by:

  • a network of speech pathologists and other professionals with whom I consult around tricky or unusual cases,
  • ongoing professional development. I am a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with Speech Pathology Australia, which entails needing to complete a minimum number of hours of professional development each year,
  • and participation in online chat rooms and discussion groups that focus on various aspects of child development.

2 years ago

Sim the Speechie
This year I’m learning about the history of words to help my clients with spelling. tinyurl.com/45pkhwra ... See MoreSee Less
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2 years ago

Sim the Speechie
There is strong evidence for repeated reading as a strategy to increase reading accuracy and fluency, especially for kids who have specific reading difficulties. www.teachingbyscience.com/repeated-reading ... See MoreSee Less
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Colonel Light Gardens, SA 5041