Shared Care - Working Together for a Healthier Australia
Health Professional


Click on to a profession in one of the segments in the schematic below to see the services which may be provided by the selected health care professional to assist patients undergoing stroke recovery.

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Speech Pathologists

What does a Speech Pathologist do?

Speech pathologists provide specialist services to people with communication and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia). Communication disorders may affect speech, fluency, hearing, reading and writing, and language skills. Swallowing disorders may affect a person's ability to chew, drink or eat certain foods and/or to swallow safely.


Speech pathologists work with people suffering chronic conditions such as:

  • Dementia
  • Acquired brain injury (e.g. stroke)
  • Neurological disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Stuttering
  • Frequent loss of voice
  • Language, literacy or learning problems
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

Trigger points for referral to a speech pathologist may include:

  • A person with swallowing difficulties
  • Babies and children with feeding problems
  • A child who is not developing sounds and words appropriate for their age
  • An adult with deteriorating speech or difficulties understanding others
  • A person with voice problems

Medicare Eligibility

To be eligible to provide services under Medicare's chronic disease management items, speech pathologists in all States other than Queensland must be a 'practising member’ of Speech Pathology Australia, the peak professional body for speech pathologists. In Queensland, speech pathologists must be registered with the Speech Pathologists Board of Queensland. Rebates for speech pathology services are also available under private health insurance funds.


A dual entry training pathway for speech pathology includes a four-year Bachelors Degree, and a two-year entry level Masters Degree. Chronic disease management is integrated into all aspects of training. Speech Pathology Australia has continuing professional development requirements as part of their Professional Self Regulation program to earn the status of Certified Practising Speech Pathologist.




MBS item #10970