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Auckland DHB Allied Health Services - Speech Language Therapy

Public Service


Speech Language Therapists provide assessment, treatment and management for adults with communication and/or swallowing problems. The aim of the input is to help clients reach and maintain their potential. To achieve this therapists work closely with clients, their family / whanau, caregivers and other health professionals.

Clients may be seen in their own homes, at an outpatient clinic or if required at a rest home, private hospital or retirement village apartment.

Services offered:
- Individual home based treatment
- Strategies to help the client to communicate/swallow
- Alternative communication systems where appropriate
- Communication group programmes
- Education sessions for individuals and family members
- Referral to the Volunteer Stroke Scheme for help with communication practise.

Speech Language Therapists work closely with associations such as Volunteer Stroke Scheme, Stroke Foundation, Parkinson's Society, and Motor Neurone Disease Association.

What to expect
On receipt of the referral you will be contacted either by phone call or letter to indicate when you can expect an appointment. All our referrals are prioritised in terms of urgency. 

Your Speech Language Therapist will contact you by phone to arrange your initial appointment. You may find it helpful to have a family member or support person with you during an appointment.

Appointments usually last up to an hour. On the first visit, the therapist will ask you questions to ascertain the nature and extent of your difficulty, and to establish your goals for intervention. If you have a swallowing difficulty, the therapist may need to see you eating and drinking as part of their initial assessment.

Following the initial assessment a plan for intervention will be discussed with you and your family members/carers. The number of sessions will vary depending on your needs and situation.

If your first language is not English, then an interpreter may also be present during the sessions.


How often/how many times will we go to see the client?
Frequency and the length of time patients will be seen will be determined by their individual needs.

Referral Expectations

Referrals are accepted from your GP or from clients themselves. If you are in a residential care facility a referral by a registered nurse would also be accepted. All relevant information needs to be included in the referral. If the referral is made by anyone other than your GP, then the GP may be contacted for a medical update.

Referrals accepted for:
Swallowing problems: e.g. difficulty swallowing; poor saliva control; choking; food sticking in throat; suspected aspiration of food or liquids.

Communication difficulties: receptive problems i.e. difficulty in understanding the spoken or written word; expressive problems i.e. speech production, verbal and written language production.

Diagnostic groups: progressive neurological conditions e.g. Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease, dementia; acute neurological conditions e.g. stroke.

Oncology diagnosis e.g. cancer affecting oral cavity, or brain metastases.

How to access the service:

Referrals can be sent by appropriate health professionals through the e-Referral system.

Contact Details

Single Point of Access telephone number 0800 631 1234 /

This page was last updated at 9:42AM on October 14, 2019. This information is reviewed and edited by Auckland DHB Allied Health Services - Speech Language Therapy.