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Welcome to Earlybirds Speech Pathology and Create Speech Pathology.

Earlybirds Speech Pathology and Create Speech Pathology came together in 2009 to provide an extensive speech pathology service catering to all-ages. We believe in the importance of providing therapy that is fun, imaginative and enjoyable for our clients and their families.

We are paediatric speech pathologists who provide assessment and therapy services to children and adolescents. We provide home and school visits to clients in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

Anneliese Cuming (Create) and Hayley Simmonds (Earlybirds) have worked together for many years. They each have experience working within public, parochial and independent school systems, and they have a very strong working relationship, with complementary skills. By working alongside each other, they are able to provide a thorough paediatric speech pathology service to children aged between two and eighteen years of age.

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Anneliese Cuming is the director of Create Speech Pathology. She works primarily with primary and high school aged children, in particular those struggling with their literacy development and schoolwork. Read More

Hayley Simmonds is the director of Earlybirds Speech Pathology and has a particular interest in the early intervention of speech and language difficulties in young children. Read More

Anneliese Cuming

Anneliese Cuming is the director of Create Speech Pathology. She works primarily with primary and high school aged children, in particular those struggling with their literacy development and schoolwork. She graduated from the University of Sydney and before setting up her own business spent five years working in a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. She works predominantly with children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties with their articulation, auditory processing, language and literacy skills. Anneliese is trained in the Spalding Method and has had extensive experience with many approaches to literacy acquisition, such as the Spalding Method, Thrass, Multi-Lit and Lindamood approaches to literacy development. Anneliese aims to use a holistic approach to therapy with all of her clients, working collaboratively with the client, their parents and their teachers, to ensure that each therapy program is tailored completely to the needs of the individual.

Hayley Simmonds

Hayley Simmonds is the director of Earlybirds Speech Pathology and has a particular interest in the early intervention of speech and language difficulties in young children. Hayley studied at The University of Queensland in Brisbane and has worked as a paediatric speech pathologist for a number of years in both Brisbane and Sydney. Hayley has worked for Queensland Education, providing speech therapy services to children in mainstream preschools and primary schools as well as working in special schools. She has since worked in private practice in Sydney for a number of years. Hayley has had extensive experience working with young children with difficulties in the areas of articulation (sound production and speech clarity), dyspraxia (motor speech disorder), expressive and receptive language, fluency (stuttering), social skills, school readiness, literacy and auditory processing. Hayley has vast experience using a variety of therapy approaches and programs specific to different areas of difficulty, such as the Spalding Method, Visualising and Verbalising, Makaton and the Nuffield approach.

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Articulation refers to the clarity of a child's speech and their ability to produce sounds correctly. Common articulation problems involve lisping, substituting one sound for another (e.g. saying 'fum' instead of 'thumb' or 'tar' instead of 'car') and only producing parts of a word, rather than the whole word, when speaking (e.g. saying 'seet' instead of 'sweet' or 'ba' instead of 'back'). There is a link between speech sound production and literacy development in school aged children, as children who have difficulty articulating sounds correctly are at a higher risk of having coexisting problems with their literacy development.


Receptive language refers to a person's ability to understand language. Children with receptive language difficulties can find it hard to follow instructions, understand questions and/or comprehend information presented both in the oral and written forms. Receptive language difficulties can impact on a child's ability to interact effectively in the home, school and social environments.


The phrase expressive language comprises all the skills a person needs in order to convey their message accurately to others. Expressive language is an important aspect of communication, both in the written and spoken forms, and includes the use of grammar, vocabulary, sentence structures and the development of text types.


Stuttering is a motor planning problem which is seen frequently in young children. Stutters present themselves in a number of different ways. They can involve the repetition of the initial sounds in words, repetition of whole words or phrases and/or 'blocks' in between words, where the child struggles to produce the target word. Although stutters that are seen in young children may resolve naturally, it is important to seek advice from a speech pathologist as early as possible. A stutter that goes untreated may become more difficult to correct as the child gets older.


Literacy is defined as being 'the ability to read and write.' It involves the acquisition and understanding of letter-sound relationships, sight word recognition, knowing how to sound out words for both reading and spelling, and realising when a word has been misread or spelt. Reading comprehension (or reading for meaning) is also an important aspect of literacy development, as comprehension is a vital part of all learning.


Children with auditory processing difficulties often present as being inattentive in class and/or having poor attention spans. Literacy development can be particularly affected by problems with auditory processing. When auditory processing problems are present, speech pathology sessions can be used to teach the child, their parents and teachers strategies to help them function to their best ability, both in and out of the classroom environment.


Pragmatics are social skills. These skills include the appropriate use of eye contact and turn taking, as well as how appropriately a child uses their language in the social environment to converse with others and solve problems effectively. This area of a child's development includes the specific skills required to have a conversation, such as initiating/entering a conversation, maintaining a topic, switching between topics appropriately and taking turns to speak. Social skills also include the ability to recognise subtle cues such as facial expressions and body language. Effective pragmatic skills are essential to helping children play with others, make friends and behave appropriately in various social settings.

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Assessments are used to gain an overview of a child's communicative strengths and weaknesses, and to identify any areas of concern in their speech, language and/or literacy development. Assessments can either be in the form of screening assessments or comprehensive testing, and can take place at home or at school.

A comprehensive speech, language and/or literacy assessment is recommended at the start of every therapy block, as it provides an accurate and thorough starting point by identifying your child's current strengths and weaknesses.

Speech pathology sessions can occur in either the home or school environments. Depending on the age of your child and the number of therapy goals being targeted, therapy can run for 30 minutes, 45 minutes or 1 hour.

You do not need a referral from a doctor to see a speech pathologist.


30 minute therapy session (home or school visit) $105
45 minute therapy session (home or school visit) $125
60 minute therapy session (home or school visit) $145
Assessments and Reports
Full assessment of speech, language and literacy skills including a comprehensive assessment report (school age) $450
Full assessment of speech and language skills including a comprehensive assessment report (preschool age) $300
Literacy assessment of reading, spelling and comprehension abilities including a comprehensive assessment report $200
Screening assessment, involving a non-standardised, broad evaluation of speech, language and literacy skills and a brief written report (tailored to the child) $90

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For schools and preschools

We value the opportunity to work closely with our clients, their teachers and schools, as we believe that collaboration between all people involved with the child helps them to achieve their best possible outcomes.

We offer a number of services to schools and preschools, including screening assessments and in-services.

Screening Assessments

Screening assessments are a useful way of gaining an overview of a child's communicative strengths and weaknesses, and of identifying any areas of concern in their speech and/or language development.

Depending on the child's age, the screening assessment provides information about their:

  • Production of speech sounds and overall speech clarity
  • Receptive language (how well they can follow instructions and understand information)
  • Expressive language (how able they are to express themselves appropriately, through the use of correct vocabulary, grammar and sentence structures)
  • Voice quality
  • Fluency (stuttering)
  • Pragmatics (social skills, such as eye contact and turn taking in a conversation)
  • School readiness/literacy development.


In-services are a useful way of explaining how speech pathologists can work with families and teachers to help optimise a child's learning. In-services can be tailored to the needs of your students and staff.

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What sounds should my child be able to produce correctly by the time they start school?

Children should be able to produce all sounds with the exception of /th/, /r/ and /v/ by the time they start school. These sounds are generally only expected by around 7 years of age, however, it is important to consider that for many children, the longer you leave an error, the more difficult it becomes to correct. In addition, speech errors can have a negative impact on a child's literacy development. If a child is producing a sound incorrectly, they may spell words the way that they produce/hear them. For example, a child who says /w/ for /r/ may spell the word 'run' as 'wun'.

My child has a lisp; will he grow out of it?

Lisps, like all speech errors, have the potential to correct themselves naturally when children are young, however, this is not always the case. Although it is only expected that children will be able to produce the /s/ sound correctly by the time they are 5 years old, treatment for a lisp is often recommended from the age of 3 onwards, as the older a child gets, the harder a lisp is to remediate.

Other people find it difficult to understand my child. How do I know if his speech is okay for his age or not?

Children vary considerably in their acquisition of speech sounds however there is an expected pattern of normal speech sound development, whereby certain sounds are expected by certain ages. For example, by 3 years of age, children are expected to have acquired the /m/, /n/, /h/, /p/, /b/, /ng/, /w/, /d/ and /g/ sounds. By around 4 years of age, children should have acquired the /y/, /k/, /f/, /sh/, /t/, /ch/ and /j/ sounds and by 5 years of age, children should have acquired the /l/ and /s/ sounds. By around 6 years of age, children should have acquired the /r/ and /z/ sounds and then, by 7 years of age, children should have acquired the /th/ and /v/ sounds. Consonant blends (e.g. pl, dr, st) should be mastered by the time the children start school. If you are concerned about your child's clarity of speech at any age, it is recommended that you seek advice from a speech pathologist to determine whether your child's speech is age appropriate.


My child has trouble following instructions at home; will this affect him at school?

In the classroom environment, children are constantly required to follow instructions. These vary and may contain a number of steps, parts and concepts. For example: "Go and get your blue book off the shelf and then sit down at your desk", "Before we go to lunch you need to put your pencils in the cup and come and sit on the carpet", "Don't start colouring your picture until you've finished cutting out the circles." It is important for children to be able to understand and complete these kinds of instructions in order to follow daily classroom routines.

Which language concepts should my child understand before starting school?

When children start school, it is important for them to have a good knowledge of colours, numbers and shapes as well as size concepts (big, little, small, large, tall, short etc), prepositions (in, on, under, next to, between, in front, behind, above, below, around, through etc), sequencing concepts (before, after, first, last, then etc) and quantity concepts (one, all, many, most etc). This knowledge is vital for following instructions, answering questions and overall learning in the classroom.

I have noticed that my child doesn't always speak in full sentences, is this normal?

By the time a child reaches school age, he or she should be using sentences of considerable length and detail, which are mostly correct in structure. Sentences should contain a variety of conjunctions such as 'and, if, or, because, then, before, after, so that, when, even though' and 'but'. They should have mastered most grammatical structures, including plurals (e.g. cats, buses), pronouns (I, me, my, you, he, she, his, her, they, their, them, us, we etc), auxiliary verbs (is, are), -ing endings (e.g. running, clapping), regular past tense (e.g. cooked, waved), future tense (will), articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, on, next to, between etc). It is still acceptable for a child to have difficulty with the irregular past tense (e.g. swam, ran, bought, drank) up until the age of 7 or 8 years.


My child doesn't know his or her whole alphabet and has just started school. Is this okay?

Although many children will commence school knowing most letters and numbers, it is not expected that a child should know their whole alphabet before they begin school. As they progress through their first year of school, children will learn not only the names of the letters in the alphabet, but also the sound(s) which each letter produces. Given this, most children should be able to recite the alphabet and recognise the letters of the alphabet by half way through their first year.

My child has difficulty with their reading and writing. Does this mean that they are not smart?

Not at all. Many children can have specific learning difficulties but still be bright. However it is often difficult to see a child's full learning potential when they are struggling with their reading, spelling, comprehension and/or writing as this can affect their overall functioning in the classroom environment. It is incredibly important to empower kids in this circumstance to feel confident and in control of their learning. We do this by playing to a child's learning strengths and finding the best learning style for them as well as supporting them with their literacy development.

My daughter needs learning support but she is in high school. Is it too late for a speech pathologist to help her?

Definitely not. We are passionate about helping students achieve their best potential at any age. As clients get older we shift our focus wherever possible to incorporate our learning goals into supporting your child with their schoolwork, rather than giving them additional work to complete. In this way we are able to focus on their areas of need whilst still providing functional and effective therapy.

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Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns about your child please feel free to contact us.

Anneliese Cuming
0414 619 829

Hayley Simmonds
0408 028 203

Where we are

We appreciate how busy life can get so rather than you coming to us, we come to you. We travel to homes and preschools/schools in the following suburbs, as well as those areas surrounding them.

Eastern Suburbs: Darling Point, Rushcutters Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Paddington, Woollahra, Edgecliff, Double Bay, Bellevue Hill, Point Piper, Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Watson's Bay, Bondi, Bronte, Coogee, Clovelly, and Randwick.

Copyright Earlybirds Speech Pathology and Create Speech Pathology © 2013.

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