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  • Wrap up of the Gut Feelings Information Evening - accessing the information presented and making sure you're on the waiting list our next event
  • Welcome to the practice to our two new Speech Pathologists, Holly & Natalie
  • Ask a Speechie: My six year old is sticking out her tongue when she says 's'. I've also noticed that she often says 'f' instead of 'th'. (e.g., 'fumb' for thumb). Is this normal? What should I do? 
  • Book of the Month: A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson
  • Resource of the Month: BS toys Noughts and Crosses 
Thank you to everyone who attended the recent Gut Feelings Information Evening at Melbourne Child Development! Naturopath Georgie Stephen, Psychologist Bronwyn Meaker, and Occupational Therapist Cathy Hoarder each shared exciting and invaluable insights from their respective fields regarding the relationship between anxiety, sensory sensitivities and gut health in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It was an educational and fun night for all who attended. Information and powerpoint slides are available for families who attended and for other families who are interested. 

We were blown away with the huge amount of interest we received for this event. As such, we will be running the Gut Feelings Information Evening again before the end of 2018. Watch this space for confirmation about the time and date of this next event. Alternatively, click here if you would like to be put on the waiting list for this next information evening. 

We are thrilled to introduce our two newest Speech Pathologists, Holly White and Natalie Chorin!

Holly is a friendly and enthusiastic clinician who is passionate about creating a fun and educational environment for her clients, whilst empowering children and their families to achieve their goals and to reach their potential. Holly previously worked at a private practice based in the South Eastern Suburbs. Here she provided both assessment and intervention across a large range of areas in Speech Pathology, working with adults and children with complex needs.

Natalie is a passionate Speech Pathologist who believes that empowering parents and teachers to implement therapy, as well as strategies in the child’s naturalistic settings are important. Natalie has had experience working in a range of settings including private practice, mainstream primary schools and Early Childhood Intervention Services across Melbourne for a varied paediatric caseload.

Welcome to the MCD team, Holly & Natalie! 

Read more about both Holly and Natalie and their specific areas of interest here.
My six year old is sticking her tongue out when she says ‘s’. I’ve also noticed that she often says "f" instead of "th" (e.g. “fumb” for thumb). Is this normal? What should I do?

When Speech Pathologists look at a child’s communication, they look at a number of different areas. Trouble saying particular sounds falls into the area of “speech”. When investigating a child’s speech, Speech Pathologists look at two things; articulation and phonology. Articulation is the ability to accurately make the motor movements (movements with their mouth) required to produce particular sounds in speech, while phonological abilities relate to the brains ability to correctly identify a specific sound. A speech sound assessment helps diagnose and differentiate between disorders of articulation (difficulty producing particular sounds in speech) and phonological disorder or delay (consistently substituting a particular sound with another due to incorrect representation of the sound).

If you are concerned that your child’s speech sound development, the first step is to make a phone call to a Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist is likely to ask you questions about you child’s general development and communication. In most cases, a formal assessment will be recommended, in order to get a broader communication profile and determine the best intervention approach.

Interestingly, speech sound delays can also have an impact on a child’s literacy development, as a child’s awareness of sound patterns in speech can impact a child’s ability to separate or blend sounds together when reading or spelling. Therefore, a Speech Pathologist may also assess your child’s literacy skills, specifically their knowledge of sounds in words and their ability to manipulate these.

In response to your question, we expect that a child who is 6 years old would be able produce the ‘s’ sound clearly, as this sound is typically acquired by 4.5 years. However, as the ‘th’ is a later developing sound (it does not typically developing until 7.5 years), your child’s error is still appropriate at this age.

If you would like more information about speech sound development and evidence-based treatment approaches for children of different ages, please contact the team at Melbourne Child Development and ask to speak to a Speech Pathologist. 
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ follows the journey of a little old lady who is looking for a more spacious house. A wise old man suggests ways to help her, which include inviting a number of different animals to live with her! This book takes all who read it on a hilarious adventure of pigs raiding the pantry and cows dancing on the table, and is accompanied by colourful and detailed illustrations to help paint the picture. It will be sure to have your little ones laughing!

The story has a clear, repetitive structure which allows it to be recreated easily. With only two human characters, and a number of animals involved, ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ is the perfect simple-yet-hilarious book to base your child’s play off. Provide them with some toy animals and a barn, or assign a group of children to be certain animals and act out the story while reading together! The large, clear pictures allow for easy discussion about the character’s feelings and emotions, which adds an extra element of fun and learning into play.
The words are written in rhyme, including the repetitive phrase of “wise old man, won’t you help me please, my house is a squash and a squeeze!” This key phrase pops up multiple times during the story and is a great way to involve your child while reading, by asking them to say the phrase with you! The rhyming nature of this book adds to the fun, and it also adds an educational bonus. Rhyming comes under the umbrella of phonological awareness, the skill of hearing sounds in speech and being able to manipulate them. This skill is a fundamental part of a child’s speech and literacy acquisition, and ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ gives you the opportunity to practice this skill with your child in a very fun environment.

Click here to watch the book being read online, or click here to learn more about the Author.

Please note: Melbourne Child Development is in no way affiliated with the 'Book of the Month' and we did not receive any financial incentive to promote it. 
The BS toys ‘Noughts and Crosses’ is a fun and active game that can be used simply for entertainment, or as a way to practice various speech pathology goals!
The physicality and quick nature of this game makes it a fantastic way to include an active break amongst lots of ‘brain work’, whether that be during speech pathology sessions, or while doing homework! It gives everyone a chance to quickly stand up and stretch, and return to the task at hand, refreshed and refocussed!
The life-size noughts and crosses is also a great way to practice social skills including; turn taking, problem solving, creating rules, negotiating during play, and the concept of winning and losing. As well as these social skills, you can use this game to practice any number of goals, including speech, language, maths, reading, occupational therapy goals, or physiotherapy goals! For example, you can put a target sound, word, or activity in each space of the game and practice that task when your bean bag lands on it.
The icing on the cake is that this game is quick and easy to set up and pack up, and is small and convenient to transport in a small hessian bag!

This game can be purchased online here or at many good toy stores.

Please note: Melbourne Child Development is in no way affiliated with 'BS toys'' and we did not receive any financial incentive to promote it - we just think it is a totally awesome and incredibly useful tool!
For more information on any of the above programs or articles, please contact the client services team at reception on (03) 9890 1062 or via email at

Please visit our website for more information 
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