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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can my son get tested for a variety of speech and behavioral disabilities?

    My 6 year old son has a speech disability. He definitely has behavior problems, social problems and hyperactivity, etc. and could be ADHD or PPD NOS… How can we get tested for these? He just sits still playing with huge Thomas train set at his pediatricians…
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    Servicing Children, Adolescents, Families and Adults About Christy Potter Christy is a Psychologist, registered with the Psychology Board of Australia and a Member of the … View Profile

    Children can be assessed for behavioural and developmental difficulties by a variety of professionals depending on their individual.  Probably the first place to start would be to visit a developmental paediatrician. If you are concerned specifically about language delays a Speech Pathologist can provide a comprehensive assessment. Language impairment and delay plays a significan role in behavioural difficulties for 6year olds so it is worth following this through.  Many local hospitals have Multidisciplinary Assessment Clinics in their Paediatrics department that can provide a comprehensive assessment. The down side is that the waiting lists are often long and a referral from a generalist paediatrician is required. Gold standard for diagnosis of developmental disorders like PDD & ASD require the assessment of two experienced clinicians.  Some psychologists can assist by providing a psychological assessment, however I would suggest consulting the other professionals suggested and perhaps an Occupational Therapist (to assess sensory processing).  Good Luck.

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    Dr David McIntosh

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    David McIntosh is an Australian trained ENT surgeon with international experience. His areas of interest are paediatrics, nose and sinus disease, and providing access to … View Profile

    I agree that you need a team approach to make sure nothing is missed or overlooked. In addition to the above, a review by an audiologist for comprehensive hearing assessment (which is not just a basic hearing test, by the way), a complete vision assessment, an ENT that ideally specialises in kids, and sometimes a childhood psychiatrist is appropriate. There is not one person or specialty that can cover everything and hence the benefit of a team of professionals. 

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    Grant McKell

    Psychologist

    Grant McKell is a counselling psychologist working in Sydney's inner west with over ten years' experience. He founded HeadsUp Psychology in August, 2011. Having worked in … View Profile

    I agree with the posts above, but might just add one more thing. Depending on the education system you are in, you may have access to a school psychologist or counsellor, who may have the resources to do some assessments, the results of which can be reported and used to help inform a psychiatrist, paediatrician and/or team of specialists.
    This can often be a very inexpensive way to get a comprehensive and leadup assessment done before seeing the professionals listed above.

  • Dr Tim Edwards-Hart

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Dr Tim Edwards-Hart is a clinical psychologist working with young people (ages 13-25) and their families, specialising in assessing and treating ADHD, anxiety, and related … View Profile

    At the risk of adding too many alternatives, it is also worth checking with the Medicare Local in your area. In conjunction with local councils (such as Boroondara and Manningham in Victoria) some have developed low cost child assessment clinics.
    Finally, if you are near one of the Children's Hospitals, you could contact them to ask about their assessment clinics.

  • Rachel Tosh

    Speech Pathologist

    Rachel is a speech pathologist specialising in speech, language, literacy and feeding therapy with more than 10 years of experience. Her aim is to help … View Profile

    I agree with the previous posts but sometimes when you have lots of potential avenues to investigate it can get overwhelming. I would recommend following up firstly with a Speech Pathologist and Paediatrician and then consult with them as to what other professionals need to be involved and when.

  • Debra-Ann Tanne

    Speech Pathologist

    I am a speech pathologist working across a range of communication areas, including speech, language, auditory processing, fluency and literacy skills.I am passionate abut optimising … View Profile

    If the primary issue as you have said is a speech delay then you should work closely with the speech therapist to identify how language and communication are affecting other areas like socialising, schooling and engaging with everyday activities. This will direct any further testing that may be needed as it is so specific. Make sure that you work with a speech therapist who has involvement  in school environments to help with this.

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