‘I think in pictures. Words are like a second language… When someone speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures… one of the most profound mysteries of autism has been the remarkable ability of most autistic people to excel at visual spatial skills while performing so poorly at verbal skills’ (Temple Grandin, 1995).

Communication is the process of being able to understand and to be understood, both verbally and nonverbally. It is something most of us take for granted. Communication difficulties are the result of problems with producing speech; using and / or understanding spoken words; voice production; fluency or hearing.  One in seven Australians has some form of communication disability. This means that one in seven people has a problem understanding other people or being understood by people.

Children with developmental speech and communication issues may have delayed speech sound development; be late learning to talk; have difficulty understanding spoken words; have a developmental condition which limits speech capacity or understanding; have a stutter or are having issues with eating / swallowing skills.

1 Stop does not currently have a Speech Pathologist as part of our skilled team, but we are happy to assist you make contact with other services and providers that can meet your need in this area.


Most children learn to communicate to get a need met or to establish and maintain interaction with a key adult. Language / communication is both verbal and nonverbal, requiring attention, awareness of body cues, cognition and understanding of social / community expectations as the child matures.

Babies communicate from birth, through sounds, facial expressions, gestures and body movements. Babies continue to develop communication skills when adults respond to their efforts about what they need or want. They gain an understanding that their needs will be met and continue to indicate these needs in their own way. Communication skills develop and expand quickly over the first 3 years of a child’s life, as they learn to respond to your attention, maintain eye contact and grow their understanding of words / actions and responses to the world they live in.

Parents support their child’s communication and language levels by adding to their vocabulary; making connections to other’s actions; interpreting and labelling emotions / feelings; asking questions; listening to information, chatter, ideas presented about the child’s world and their thoughts about it.

If you have concerns about your child’s language or communication development contact our skilled team for further information, review and support.


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Visual supports

Communication is a basic human right. People who cannot speak encounter difficulties in getting information, building relationships, participating in education and employment and being safe. An alternative communication system is a way for people to communicate their needs, preferences and ideas. Most people are familiar with alternative communication systems such as Sign language for hearing impaired individuals or Braille for visually impaired individuals. Many different conditions result in an individual having little or no speech and needing alternative ways to communicate.

Visual supports can be as simple as a picture of the object, person or action that is needed to be represented. Visual supports can also be words, lists, photographs, or drawings. Therapists use visual pictures or representations to support a child’s understanding and communication of instructions, routines, actions and responses. Visual supports enable learning and development in all areas. Depending on the child’s cognitive ability and communication capacity more complex options may be used such as PECS systems, PODD books, tablets, communication boards, speech generators and computers.

If you are concerned about your child’s development and feel visual supports may be beneficial, then we encourage you to see a skilled member of our team.


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Feeding, healthy food and eating issues are complex and fraught with emotion for parents. As parents we are worried that our child might not be eating enough, have a limited range of healthy foods or just a limited range of what they will eat. Some children refuse to eat certain foods due to sensitivities about taste, smell and texture of the food. Some children have a compulsion to eat everything in sight. Toddlers are often fussy eaters, eating small amounts or refusing to eat at all. Teenagers may start to not eat at certain times, skip meals, eat more takeout and emotionally eat.

Children with developmental difficulties may be slow to eat; have difficulty using utensils; have a limited range or preferences for foods, gag when they see / smell / taste certain foods; be fussy / picky eaters; only eat 1 type of food or have concrete fears about food.

Our skilled team can provide information on health eating and sensory eating issues. We can assist you and your child to identify and develop strategies around food sensitivities, behaviours and fine motor coordination difficulties with utensils. If you have any medical concerns related to your child’s eating or feeding, seek attention from your GP or CAFHS nurse.


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