The RFDS in VIC

Speech Therapy

It’s a sobering fact that despite 30% of Australians living in rural areas, only 4.5% of speech pathology practitioners provide services to rural communities. With language delays during early childhood potentially having a long term impact on literacy, quality of life, mental health and social opportunity, assisting rural children to access speech pathology services is paramount.

This is why RFDS Victoria is working with local health services to provide children aged 0-12 years access to local speech pathology.

After a successful two-year pilot across the Mallee, we now support kids speech services in the towns of Robinvale, Ouyen, Sea Lake, Murrayville and Underbool. We have also expanded across the Buloke and Loddon regions, servicing the communities of Inglewood, Wedderburn, Bridgewater, Charlton, Donald, Wycheproof and Birchip.

Speech Therapy

Why this service is so important

Learning to speak is a critical life skill, but unfortunately some children have difficulty or delays with their speech and language development. This can create problems in a child’s ability to communicate and learn from others. Early intervention with speech therapy services is important as it can have a positive impact on a child’s ability to master speech and language.

Across Victoria, there is a growing need for child speech pathology services. The introduction of Flying Doctor Speech Therapy ensures that there is a dedicated service available for families with young children to access this service. With increased appointments available, reduced wait times and shorter distances to travel to access speech services, children’s speech and language needs will be more efficiently addressed.

Fact >

Despite 30% of Australians living in rural areas, only 4.5% of speech pathology practitioners provide services to rural communities.

Fact >

Language delay during early childhood can have a long term impact, effecting literacy, quality of life, mental health and social opportunity.

Fact >

Australian teachers reported 1 in 5 school students have a language difficulty when they commence school.

Fact >

A third of children with a communication limitation have an unmet need for formal assistance.

What to expect from a Flying Doctor Speech Therapy session

Via an initial appointment at a local health clinic, our speech pathologist assesses the child’s needs and develops a plan to support their speech development. Ongoing appointments are then held via both face-to-face and our secure Flying Doctor Telehealth service.

Early intervention often leads to improved outcomes, so accurately identifying children with speech and language needs is a crucial part of the process. To assist with this, the program also provides training for early education workers at local schools and centres to assist in identifying children with speech and language needs. 

We believe that people living in rural and regional areas shouldn’t be at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving health care. Programs delivered in partnership with local health services make a tangible difference to the lives of many children, and it is services like these that RFDS Victoria is proud to help deliver to rural communities.

How to make an appointment

Robinvale

T: (03) 5051 8160
F: (03) 5026 1600
E: primarycare@rdhs.com.au

Ouyen | Sea Lake | Murrayville | Underbool

T: (03) 5092 1111
F: (03) 5091 0272
E: serviceaccess@mthcs.vic.gov.au

Inglewood | Wedderburn | Bridgewater | Charlton | Donald | Wycheproof | Bichip

T: (03) 5431 7000
F: (03) 5431 7004
E: admin@IDHS.vic.gov.au  

Alternatively, you can contact Flying Doctor Speech Therapy directly at speech@rfdsvic.com.au.

Explore below the Victorian communities that accessed Flying Doctor Speech Therapy in the last financial year.

Speech therapy