Tag: children



How often should kids see the dentist? For the vast majority of kids having the teeth checked and professionally cleaned every six months is ideal. This gives the dentist a chance to check the level of oral hygiene and motivate when needed, assess the risk of decay and prevent when required, and monitor the growth of the face and the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth.

In dentistry prevention is paramount, therefore children that have regular checks generally have far fewer dental problems. Developing a good relationship with a family dentist is something that will benefit them for their entire lives.

At what age do the baby teeth start to fall out?

Most often it’s the lower front teeth that will be lost first and that usually occurs around six years of age. However, losing the first tooth any time from four and a half to seven and a half years old is not abnormal.
Around the same time it is likely that the child will have their first adult molars erupt at the very back of the mouth. They are essentially teething again and so if they have a fever or are just not themselves this may be the cause.

At what age should my child have all their adult teeth?

Again this can be quite variable but in most cases it is between the ages of 12 and 14. We often refer to this time as the ugly duckling stage because having adult sized teeth in a child sized head looks out of proportion. Around this age is often a good time to start orthodontic treatment and the family dentist can support this if required.

How does a dentist appointment for children differ to an appointment for adults?

In a lot of ways the appointments can be very similar. We talk and build trust at the start, look at the teeth and gums and give advice on how to keep things healthy, and prevent small problems from growing into big ones. The main difference is the topics of conversation.




My child is having some issues with his development, but I’m not sure whether to see a Speech Pathologist or an Occupational Therapist. What does a speech pathologist do, and what is the difference between the two?

Speech pathologist

Speech-Language Pathologists help kids (and adults) with all aspects of communication, as well as swallowing/feeding. An SLP might be able to assist if you are concerned about how well your child is talking, how they interact with other children, learning to read and write, or eating skills.

Occupational therapist

An Occupational Therapist’s (OTs) role is to assist children who need support to do daily activities – this often is on the shape of fine motor skills for dressing or writing, as well as assistance with toileting or self help skills. ATs also assist children who have difficulties with processing different sensory information. Quite often children with developmental difficulties need input from both SLPs and OTs.




If an area of difficulty has been identified with your child’s speech, language or literacy skills, or if you’re concerned about their development, it’s worthwhile booking an assessment with a Speech Pathologist. The assessment will identify if there is a delay and the Speech Pathologist will discuss options for treatment with you.

Booking an Assessment

Families are able to book assessments without the need for a referral from the GP. Families simply need to choose a Speech Pathologist they would like to see and ring to book an assessment session. During this initial phone call, you will likely be asked about your concerns for your child, as well as some basic details.

This will help the Speech Pathologist prepare for your initial session and choose the right assessment for your child. During this phone call sessions costs will be outlined, and you may be asked if you have any type of funding or rebates.

During an Assessment

During an initial assessment a variety of things may occur, these vary depending on the child’s age and skills. You should expect:

The speech pathologist to ask you a range of questions about your child, so they can gather a case history.

An assessment. This may be a formal assessment where the child is asked to follow different instructions. It could also be an informal assessment where your child is assessed through play-based tasks.

A summary from the speech pathologist outlining the information they have gathered and a discussion regarding where to from here. This discussion will cover topics such as if it’s necessary to begin therapy and how often therapy should occur. It’ll also include what therapy goals will be targeted.

Following an assessment, a speech pathologist will typically provide you with a written report. This is usually included in the initial cost but can sometimes be an extra cost. This report will give details of the difficulties your child is having and include some recommendations.

Funding and Rebates

There are a range of options available to families to help with the costs of seeing a private speech pathologist, including;

Private health: if you have private health insurance (depending on your policy) you will be able to claim back some of the costs of the assessment session and ongoing therapy.

Medicare rebates, Care Plan: if your child is presenting with a delay that is greater than 6 months, e.g. if they are three and only using single words (see April’s developmental stages article) then it is worthwhile talking to your GP about this option.

If eligible, the plan entitles families to a maximum of 5 rebated sessions throughout the calendar year. It is not necessary to have this plan before seeing a speech pathologist, but it is possible to get one before your first appointment. The care plan gives you a rebate of $52.95 a session, similarly to private health you will be required to cover the gap yourself.

NDIS: The National Disability Insurance Scheme was developed to support people with disabilities. However, they also provide funding to children under the age of 7 who have no diagnosis, but significant delays in more than one area. Children without a diagnosis will require an assessment to identify delays before they are able to apply for funding.

National ADF Family Health Program: This program offers access to free basic health care to recognised dependants of ADF members. Families can be reimbursed for a range of allied health care including Speech Pathology.

Free speech pathology services can also be accessed through Kirwan Health Campus, and James Cook University has speech pathology students providing services for a minimal fee.




It can be difficult knowing what to expect when starting a new type of therapy for the first time. During your child’s first speech pathology session, your speech pathologist will want to find out some background information about your child. This is to gain an understanding of your child’s likes, dislikes, wins and challenges.

Some form of assessment will be completed in order to determine your child’s current areas of strengths and weaknesses to support the goal making process. These assessments will vary depending on the age and skills of each child. Your therapist will be able to discuss these with you. For example, assessments can be in-formal and play based for the younger children. There are also longer standardised assessments for older children.

Treatment goals

The results will then be discussed with you and goals can be set. Therapy goals are set to support the difficulties that your child currently has. Here at Talk Time, we ensure that you are involved in the goal setting process. You know your child the best, and it is important that we use your child’s strengths in order to work on the areas that they are finding difficult.

With your input, goals will be formulated based on our findings from the assessment. We also consider what is impacting you and your child the most at home and at day care/kindy/school.

What happens?

You can expect a lot of games and playing to occur during sessions, but we can assure you that it is more than just playing! There have been many studies completed that prove that children are able to learn more and retain more information when their brain is ‘lit up’. A child’s brain lights up when they are having fun and are engaged in therapy (yes, we do have fun too!).

Mr Potato Head is always a popular choice with children of all ages here at Talk Time. This game can be used to target many skills. These include vocabulary (e.g. eyes, nose, hat), choice making, following instructions, recalling spoken information and speech sounds, just to name a few!

What will they learn?

During therapy, your child will be learning new skills and learning new skills requires practice! Think about learning to ride a bike. Have you seen a young child jump on a two-wheel bike for the first time and start to ride with no wobbles or crashes?

Children start with tricycles before progressing to a two-wheel bike with training wheels. The training wheels are then removed, and a child will be riding on a two-wheel bike. However, even then, we expect a child to have some falls before they can ride with ease.

Practice, practice, practice

Sure, a child will learn to ride a new bike eventually if they practice 30-45 minutes once a week. However, they will get there much quicker if they practice an extra 10 minutes, five times per week! This is why ‘homework’ is provided after each session.

Homework is not difficult to complete and will not be anything that is new. Rather, it will be strategies and activities that have already been targeted in therapy to complete throughout the week. This ensures that your child is continuing to practice the new skills that they are learning. We completely understand that you are busy at home with other children, sporting and family commitments. Therefore, the strategies and activities provided can often be incorporated into activities that you are already doing. This includes when doing homework, playing or even when driving in the car.

How many sessions?

We are often asked, “How many sessions will my child need to attend?” We wish that we could have a crystal ball to give you this answer! Unfortunately, as much as we would like to, we simply cannot answer this question. There are a number of variables impacting the length of therapy, as different children will have different goals and all children learn in different ways and at different speeds. Regular attendance to sessions and ensuring that home practice is completed helps to speed up the therapy process!




Adoption is often seen as a ‘last resort’ situation for parents unable to conceive a child naturally. However, this isn’t always the case. There’s thousands of children in the world looking for a safe, welcoming, and loving home, and they all deserve a chance at life. Here are some reasons to consider adopting a child.

That being said, the decision to adopt is a very personal one to make. No matter the reason, it’s guaranteed to bring happiness and unconditional love into your family. Without further ado, let’s explore some reasons to consider adopting a child.

1. Give a child in need a loving home.

Whether you’re adopting a child domestically, internationally, or from within your family, it’s important to recognise there are many, many children out there who do not live in a loving home.

2. Raise an older child rather than an infant.

If you’d rather raise an older child, the option is there with adoption. That being said, you are free to adopt an infant too, if the option suits you and your family.

3. Choose the gender of the child.

When adopting, you can choose whether you are looking for a boy or a girl.

4. Help balance population growth.

There’s no lie, with 7 billion people on the planet, sooner or later we’ll inevitably run out of space. Among those 7 billion people, there are plenty of children without parents looking for a loving home.

Developmental disabilities in children


As parents, navigating the minefield of bringing up children can be a challenge. The trial and error nature of parenting, and the fact that every child develops at different rates means that knowing whether our children are on the right track can feel like a guessing game. This is particularly true when it comes to identifying problems such as developmental disabilities in children.

Developmental disabilities range from autism and behavioural disorders to cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Spotting signs of these disabilities can be easy or complicated. Certain issues can be identified at birth (and sometimes even before). However, some problems don’t become apparent until certain milestones are not being met. That’s when we realise that a child is behind in their development.

So, how do we identify developmental disabilities?

Well, unfortunately for many of these disabilities, there is no cut and dry test. Observation is the key to identification in the early stages.

Knowing when a child should be reaching certain milestones is a starting point. It will help you identify whether your child is delayed in their development. It is important to make sure you don’t panic if your little one is slightly behind expected milestones, these are only a guide. It’s when significant delays occur, or delays across multiple aspects of your child’s development that further investigation should be done.

What causes developmental disabilities?

For many developmental disabilities, the cause is unclear. It is often a number of factors which contribute to the problem. The main risk factors include problems at birth (including prematurity, low birth weight or oxygen deprivation), medical conditions (including ear infections, illnesses and injuries), and environmental factors (including trauma, a mother drinking or taking drugs prior to birth or poor living conditions).

What should you be looking for?

There are five main areas in which a developmental disability may occur. These include cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, speech and language skills, fine and gross motor skills, and activities in daily living. If a child exhibits issues with two or more of these areas, it is considered to be a global developmental delay.

Cognitive delays

These affect a child’s ability to learn, think and problem solve. Early ways to identify this is to ask yourself if your baby exhibits curiosity or if your toddler is learning new words, colours or counting. If the answer is no to these things, it may be a sign of developmental delay.

Social and emotional delays

They present themselves in a child’s ability to relate and interact with others. Babies should smile at people and make noises in an attempt to communicate and toddlers should be able to express their feelings and make friends. A lack of these signs could be cause for concern.

Speech and language delays

These may seem obviously identifiable but there are some things to consider that you may not have been aware of; it is not always the case that a child can’t pronounce words. With babies, the absence of babbling or cooing could help identify issues but in toddlers, their ability to understand instructions, tell stories that keep on track or use words in the correct context could also be telling signs. This type of delay is quite common which is perhaps the reason that Speech and Language Pathologists are trained specially to deal with this, whilst the other four issues are generally dealt with by paediatricians or occupational therapists.

Fine and gross motor delays

These can be identified in babies if they are not able to hold objects (fine motor) or if they don’t begin to sit up, roll or walk (gross motor). As children get older, not being able to hold tools or draw (fine motor) or having difficulties jumping or climbing may indicate a developmental delay.

Daily living problems simply mean that day to day tasks are not handled by the child. In babies, we as parents naturally do this for them, but if children don’t begin to eat or dress themselves, herein lies a potential issue.

How does a child receive a diagnosis?

Generally, your first step is to visit your GP who will advise you of the next steps based on his initial assessment of your child. Your GP will generally refer you to a specialist or for further testing and investigation based on this assessment.

If you think your child has a speech or language delay, you can opt to visit a speech and language pathologist without a referral from your doctor.

Remember, early intervention is best and there’s no harm in going to the doctor if you think something’s not quite right. As the age old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry”, and it’s true when it comes to helping your child with their development.

What treatment is available?

Depending on your child’s diagnosis, there are a number of different treatment options. Most of these include the help of a specialised professional. Occupational therapists are amongst the most common options for children with developmental disabilities, along with physiotherapist, speech and language pathologist and behavioural therapists.

Living with developmental delay

Living with any kind of disability comes with challenges. But, with a positive outlook and the right tools and professionals at your disposal, living a happy and fulfilled life is absolutely possible. Understanding that life won’t be bad, it will just be different is a great way to look at life when raising a child with a developmental delay.

With early intervention and treatment, many children with developmental disabilities grow up to become independent adults. For those with more serious developmental disabilities, particularly those who have trouble with completing day to day tasks or have low cognitive function, there are still options to help them live the best life they can. This includes community living, providing them with the equipment that they need and equipping their families with the skills and tools to help.