Talking Matters Bendigo: Engaging Parents Early to Prevent Long-Term Speech, Language and Communication Needs in Preschool-Aged Children Academic Article uri icon


  • This article reports on qualitative research conducted to evaluate parents’ perspectives of their experiences of Talking Matters Bendigo (TMB), a screening programme initiated between health and educational professionals in regional Victoria to improve access to speech pathologists for parents of preschool-aged children with speech, language and communication concerns. Drop-in clinics are conducted in three Bendigo schools monthly. The programme is a collaborative partnership between the Victorian Department of Education and Training, Maternal and Child Health and ‘Off to an Early Start’ (City of Greater Bendigo), Bendigo Health and the disciplines of Speech Pathology and Education at La Trobe University, Bendigo. La Trobe Education (Honours) student researchers interviewed a group of 10 parents attending TMB using face to face interviews and collected data using an online survey after parents attended a session. Thematic analysis of the data was completed and inter-reliability checks were completed by two external La Trobe PhD students to increase reliability and validity. Results indicated parents were satisfied with the information provided by the speech pathologists and they reported that they intended to utilise this new knowledge at home with their children. This study provides preliminary evidence that novel service delivery options such as TMB can be successful in engaging parents early in health literacy so that speech, language and communication problems in preschool-aged children can be identified, managed and even prevented.

publication date

  • 2016