This is a common question for many people looking to book a speech pathology appointment. The real answer to this question is actually anyone. If you have a concern regarding your child or yourself, you can call a speech pathology clinic to book an appointment without a referral from another profession. While there are referrals you can get for speech pathology which entitle you to Medicare rebates, you do not need a referral to see a speech pathologist.
In order to receive a Medicare rebate for speech pathology session though, you do need a referral from either a general practitioner or a paediatrician. Both these health care providers can provide you with a care plan to receive rebates.
Often the first point of contact with a health care professional will be either a General Practitioner or Paediatrician however; you or your child may be examined by your GP for an Ear Nose and Throat assessment. An ENT specialist may then send you for a hearing assessment with an Audiologist to ensure there are no hearing difficulties at play. Both these health care professionals are important in determining the cause of a speech or language delay and once you attend a visit with a Speech Pathologist you may be sent to see either an ENT specialist or Audiologist. So it is useful to come prepared with results from both, if you have already completed these visits. The reason for this is that hearing difficulties may be the reason for a communication delay and will need to be addressed to help rectify the issue. Similarly, an adult may find that they have lost their voice and a check up of their throat with an ENT specialist may identify a structural change that requires addressing to assist with their communication difficulty.
For children, childcare workers and teachers may be the point of referral. While they are not health care professionals, they encounter many children on a daily basis and can give you an indication of how your child is progressing compared to other children their age. They can also identify issues that your child might be having which you may not notice yourself. This is a very common occurrence as you are more likely to be familiar with your child’s way of communicating and therefore can understand the message they are trying to get across more easily.
If your child has been referred for a speech pathology assessment by a childcare worker, ENT specialist, teacher or Audiologist; be sure to visit your GP to get an enhanced primary care plan or EPC referral so you can receive a Medicare Rebate where applicable.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have speech pathology related questions, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.