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Speech and occupational therapy

3.11 Speech and occupational therapy

Speech and occupational therapy help you undertake day-to-day activities and maintain your independence

Speech therapy

Speech therapy is delivered by a trained health professional, known as a speech pathologist, who can help with communication. Speech therapy doesn’t just help with speech (e.g. pronunciation), but with all aspects of communication including expressing yourself, and understanding others. Speech pathologists can help with word-finding difficulties, when you have trouble telling a story, or following a conversation. They sometimes work with your family and friends so that two-way communication is more effective.

There is growing research on the benefits of speech therapy on improving the communication of people with dementia.


Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is delivered by a trained health professional, known as an occupational therapist, who can help people manage their everyday activities. For example, they might help the person practise taking public transport so they are confident and safe getting to the shops. They might help the person practise walking safely with their walking stick or walker outside the house, and practise carrying the shopping home. They might help them use their smartphone for navigation using a map app, or to book a driver using a rideshare app.

Research studies consistently show that occupational therapy helps people with dementia keep doing things that are important to them, and delays the need to go into a nursing home.


See 5.3 Plan to use services on getting funding for speech and occupational therapy.


Ask your doctor

Ask your doctor to refer you to a speech pathologist or an occupational therapist. Your GP can help you to develop a chronic disease management plan so you get subsidised visits to allied health professionals (such as speech pathologists and occupational therapists).