Holiday opening hours

Top End Speech will be taking a break from Friday 21 December until Monday 7 January 2019. Over the break we will be moving to our new premises at 7 Keith Lane Fannie Bay.

The new office is larger and more accessible and will allow us to have more flexibility with services, for example, there is a room large enough to run groups or training sessions. There is plenty of parking, a playground opposite, and the Cool Spot is just a few doors away!

Merry Christmas to all our clients and families! We look forward to catching up on your progress next year.

close up of christmas decorations hanging
Photo by Ma Boîte A Photos on

Frequently Asked Questions

imageWe have added a list of FAQs to our website. They cover the details about making appointments, to the harder questions like ‘How long will therapy take?’, I hope we have covered your questions. If not, please contact us and ask in person.

Here are a few of them:

How do I make an appointment?

Simply call us and provide a few details. We will briefly discuss your concerns and do our best to meet your preference for appointment times.

Do I need a referral?

No, you only need a referral if you are hoping to access a Medicare rebate, or if you are using third party payments, eg. MACA TIO, Garrison Health / Defence, DSS Better Start or Helping Children With Autism Programs.

While you don’t need a referral to see us, we do appreciate it if you can provide information from any relevant health or education professionals you have been involved with. It is best if you can provide this information in advance of your first appointment. This allows us to prepare appropriately for the session.

Can I claim payments from my private health fund?

Yes, we are registered with all the private health funds, however you should check with your fund to make sure you have the right cover. We do not use HICAPS for direct processing of rebates. Instead we will provide a receipt that you can use to claim your rebate.

What payment options do you accept?

We accept cash, and we have EFTPOS available.

What hours are you open?

We provide services Monday-Friday between 8 am and 4:30/5 pm. The after school period is popular and may not always be available.

Will I get a report?

We do not routinely write detailed assessment reports. In some cases they are essential, for example, to secure funding for support in school, or to contribute to diagnosis. Comprehensive reports take a long time to prepare therfore we have to charge a fee for them. Some clients already have numerous assessment reports and would rather get on with therapy. Other clients have isolated speech difficulties, and no other professionals involved in their care, so there is no particular need for a report. Please discuss your need for a report with us in person.

How long will therapy take?

This question is impossible to answer here. Even when we know about your concerns it is hard to answer. There are many factors involved, such as:

– the type and cause of communication or swallowing difficulty

– the severity of the condition

– the duration of the condition, eg. If the issue has only just started or has been present for years

– other co-existing health conditions

– social/cultural factors, eg. English as an additional language

– personality and motivation

– family and other support

– intensity of therapy.

Welcome 2015


Happy New Year to all our clients and colleagues. We are on leave until 27 January but looking forward to a productive year. You can email us anytime, or call us after the 27th. You can also find us on Facebook.


The Lego Movie and Project 21.

There was a great turnout last Thursday at the Deckchair Cinema screening of The Lego Movie. The  event was a fundraiser by the NT Branch of Speech Pathology Australia for Project 21. Project 21 is run by Down Syndrome Association NT and supports school leavers with a disability to develop skills in many areas-dance, sign, media, graphics, music and social skills.

The Sing Song Signers performed after the event was opened by the NT Health Minister, the Hon Robyn Lambley. Speech Pathology Australia members and other volunteers helped sell sausages and sweet treats, as well as running a raffle and guess-the-number-of-lollies-in-the-jar competition.


Welcome 2014


I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year, and a chance to relax with your families.

While Meg continued working through the Christmas period, I had a fantastic, long holiday. But I’m back, rested, and ready to work hard helping clients and their families achieve their goals for 2014. We will be contacting past clients in the next week to make appointments, but if you haven’t heard from us for some reason, please give us a call or email. The mobile number is still the best number to catch me-0413 492 911.

ASHA Identify the Signs Campaign

ASHA Identify the Signs Campaign

American Speech and Hearing Association have launched a campaign to encourage early identification and treatment of communication disorders.

“The Identify the Signs campaign aims to educate the public about the warning signs of communication disorders. Speech, language, and hearing disorders are treatable and early detection is a major contributor to speedier recoveries, shortened treatment periods, and reduced costs for individuals and society alike. Visitors are encouraged to use this site to learn the warning signs; get professional help, if necessary; and share the site and its information with family, friends, and social networks.”

Welcome Meg

i’m very pleased to welcome Meg Redway to Top End Speech.  She started in August and is also working part-time with the Newborn Hearing Screening Program at RDH. Meg has worked with people of all ages in NSW Sth Australia and the UK. Like the other speechies at Top End Speech, Meg is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist,  which means she is a current member of Speech Pathology Australia and regularly participates in  continuing professional development. She also has an Ochre Card, like the rest of us.


Favourite resources 3: Barrier Games


Barrier game set up

Barrier games are a fantastic communication activity. They develop careful listening, clarification strategies, theory of mind, and the ability to give specific instructions. They can be used to teach positional concepts (like top, bottom, next to, left, right…), descriptive vocab (eg. Colours, Dirty, clean, size, broken, spotty, stripy, emotions, etc) or themed vocab (eg. Body parts, clothing, transport, animals, furniture, etc).
Barrier game ideas include:
– Colouring a picture the same
– stacking blocks in the same order
– threading beads in the same order
– lining up toy cars or animals or action figures etc in the same order
– placing small objects (coloured counters, toy animals, buttons, etc) on a scene
– making a sandwich
– dressing a doll

You can make your own barrier games, or buy them or find them on the web. Some commercial choices I like are:
Pelican Speech ‘My First Barrier Games’
Grow Words
Black Sheep Press

Some web sources include:

Speech Pathology student placement in Katherine

I had the pleasure of spending last Tuesday with a group of four speech pathology students from Uni of Sydney. They are doing a six week placement at a Katherine primary school but had two days for orientation in Darwin first. One of the aims of the placement is to partially address the gaps in speech pathology services for Katherine kids. At present, there are 1.4 public speech pathologists for the entire Katherine region! The students seem very supportive of each other and I was impressed with their enthusiasm to learn. They are keeping a blog of their experiences here:

April is Autism Awareness Month


Amongst other types of therapy, Top End Speech offers the “More Than Words” Hanen Program. The More Than Words Program was designed specifically for parents of children ages 5 and under on the autism spectrum. Addressing the unique needs of these children, the program provides parents with the tools, strategies and support they need to help their children reach their full communication potential.

More Than Words does this by empowering you to help your child reach the following three goals:

Improved social skills
The ability to engage in back-and-forth interactions
Improved understanding of language
Here are some of the valuable things you’ll learn when you attend the More Than Words Program:

How your child learns best and what motivates him to communicate
Why your child behaves in certain ways, and what you can do to either increase or reduce those behaviours
How to use your knowledge about your child to set realistic goals
How to make interactions with your child last longer and be more meaningful
Tips for using pictures and print to help your child’s understanding
Tips on how to talk so that your child understands you
Strategies for developing your child’s play skills
Ways to help your child make friends

Program Components
The More Than Words parent program includes:

8 training sessions in small, personalized groups
A Hanen Certified speech-language pathologist leading the program
A pre-program consultation for you and your child with your speech-language pathologist
Three individual visits for you and your child with your speech-language pathologist in which you are videotaped while practicing with your child. Then you and your speech-language pathologist watch the videotaped interaction to “see” what’s helping and what you can modify to help even more

The following resources are all from the Hanen Centre website.

For information on early signs of Autism follow this link:
For ideas on how to help your child with autism:–The-Power-of-Imitating-Children.aspx–The-Importance-of-Helping.aspx

NT News Tuesday 3 April
NT News Tuesday 3 April

The following events are being held in Darwin for Autism Awareness Month.

Busy Bee Coffee meet

The Studio are lighting it up blue(Night Clubbing)

Autism NT at the movies ‘Oblivion’, 11 April, CMax Cinemas Palmerston. Tickets $25 from Autism NT.

Walk for Autism, 9am, 20 April, Nightcliff foreshore, 5km or shorter. $5 entry.

ASD Expo, 5 & 6 April, Mirambeena Resort.

Darwin Autism Expo

The Inaugural Darwin Autism Expo is on this Friday and Saturday 5th and 6th April at the Mirambeena Resort. A great line-up of speakers and provider stalls, including Top End Speech. See you there.