Frequently Asked Questions

You can find our most frequently asked questions about what to expect, what to bring and how much an appointment will cost below. If you cannot find what you’re after feel free to contact us via the form on this page or Contact Us. We are here to help!

No, but your GP will be able to activate a Chronic Disease Management (CDM) plan, if you are eligible.

Communication is central to being human, and is essential for a meaningful existence. It helps us form relationships, to feel understood and to signal that we need help. In a practical sense it helps us live with others and find employment. Speech Pathology helps people communicate better using methods refined through extensive research. Speech Pathology also helps people who are having difficulty feeding and swallowing.

Another key element of being human is the ability to do things effectively. This can range from the essential skills that we need to be able to take care of ourselves to a wide range of other skills that help us to function and be more effective in the world. Occupational Therapists are trained in evidence based interventions to help people achieve their functional goals.

Music therapy is an evidenced-based allied health profession where Registered Music Therapists use music-based activities to actively support people with their health, functioning and wellbeing. Music therapy uses music and the relationship formed through musical experiences to support individuals and their families. Music therapy can support mental, intellectual, physical, emotional or social aspects of wellbeing, by using music within a therapeutic relationship to achieve meaningful goals. Music therapists also use a variety of non-musical therapeutic techniques, and work with a range of other therapists to collectively support the individual to reach their goals.

Yes, we run a holiday program every school holidays – you can find details at https://villagetherapy.com.au/school-holiday-program/
You don’t need to be an existing client to participate, but we’ll need to talk with you to find out if there is a good match between what you’re looking for and what we offer.

There are a number of funding options that may be available to you:

  • Medicare Allied Health Initiative for Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Items, previously known as Enhanced Primary Care – (EPC) plans
  • Private Health Funds – Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy services can often be rebated if you have Extras cover with your private health fund. Contact your health fund directly to determine the rebate amount and the maximum amount you can claim per person or family in a calendar year. You cannot claim through both Medicare and your Private Health Insurer for the same session.
  • There are no Medicare rebates for group services. Please check with your Private Health Insurer regarding rebates.

An initial assessment takes between 60-90 minutes. Therapy appointments vary according to your child’s needs, and are usually either 30 or 45 minutes long. Appointments are scheduled on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

This depends on what you come to therapy for. There is a considerable amount of research that has been done to determine how often a particular therapy should be delivered to be most effective, and we follow this research. Sometimes this can be more frequent or less frequent than we would otherwise imagine.

We recognise that clients are not always able to come to therapy. This can be because the child is sick or another family member is sick, or some other event prevents the client coming to therapy.

The NDIS recognises this too, and have included charging for cancellations in their Pricing Guide. For NDIS clients, the cancellation fee is paid by the NDIS as part of your plan. There are a few reasons for this.

The first reason is a continuity issue. If we don’t charge for cancellations, we can’t guarantee making enough money in a week to cover our costs. If we can’t cover our costs we face the possibility of having to close down the service, leaving hundreds of families without access to therapy in an already over-stretched market. Sadly, the times when we are most impacted are when the whole community is suffering. When COVID-19 meant that many families were having to isolate with little notice and through no fault of their own, paying cancellation fees felt unfair to some people. But this type of event is exactly why companies need to charge for cancellations. If we don’t charge in these situations when there are high numbers of cancellations we would be out of business within a month. Paying your cancellation invoice is your way of securing ongoing services for your child.

The second reason is transparency. All health clinics – including GPs, dentists, podiatrists – have clients that cancel. To cover employee salaries, clinics recover the cost of cancelled sessions in two main ways. The first of these ways is transparent – through charging for cancellations. The second way is less transparent; through increasing their fees across the board to cover the cost of clients who cancel. We prefer the first method as it is more transparent, but also because it puts the control back in your hands.

The third reason is client control. If clients rarely cancel, they rarely pay cancellation charges. On the other hand, if we built cancellation fees into our standard charges, then our fees would rise for everyone by about $15.90 per session.

Still, we feel that the NDIS approach tilts this a little too far in the direction of clinics, so at Village Therapy we allow you to reschedule your appointment to another mutually agreeable time within the next 7 days to avoid cancellation charges.

Naturally, if you cancel a session and your clinician is able to do other billable work in that time, you won’t be charged a cancellation fee.

But I’m not an NDIS client

We understand that this seems particularly unfair to clients who are not NDIS clients and who are out-of-pocket when they pay cancellation charges. However, we believe that the reasons stated above about why cancellation fees exist are sound and result in a service which is more stable, more transparent and emphasises client control. We also firmly believe that charging some clients and not others is not fair, so our policies apply to all clients, regardless of their funding source.

To provide therapy that is going to make a difference in a child’s life, it needs to be targeted towards that child’s particular therapeutic goals – and those goals are captured in the NDIS plan. In the plan the NDIS outlines which areas a client can spend their funds on, and in order to be paid by plan managers we must be working on goals covered in the plan.

At the beginning of therapy, we schedule your NDIS report to ensure we have adequate time to complete it. A large proportion of report writing time is dedicated to reviewing treatment notes from the previous 12 months. The NDIA expects us to write our reports directly in line with the goals you set in your plan. Providing your plan to us early allows us to note your progress in a way that reduces the length of time needed to review your treatment notes and write your report. This information is vital to ensure you receive adequate funding in your next plan.

The Department of Health guidelines and our research has proved to us that the simple act of wearing a face mask can make a real difference in limiting the spread of airborne pathogens such as the common cold, the flu or Covid. We recognise people’s goodwill and understand that no one would willingly pass on a virus to another person, but many viruses have incubation periods where someone can be contagious without showing symptoms.

Clinician’s travel is time that they could otherwise spend seeing clients. This funding model allows therapy to be delivered more equitably to people who, for whatever reason, cannot attend the clinic. If clinics were not able to charge for travel time, then clinics would insist that all clients come to the clinic.

Because the NDIS funds therapy to meet particular goals that it is willing to support, the NDIS needs to know that the money it has provided is going towards recognised therapy, and is resulting in measurable changes. Our reports will show, often through recognised assessment tools, how therapy is helping your child.

Clinicians need to supply reports for a range of purposes (e.g. NDIS planning, Assistive Technology applications, school funding etc) A report can take many hours to complete, which covers the time taken to physically write the report, as well as the clinician’s time reviewing treatment notes, analysing assessments, researching options etc. While we generally suggest our families allow 4 x hours for an NDIS Review Report, we will only charge you for the length of time it actually takes. It is rare that a report will take more than 4 hours to complete, but if your clinician thinks this is likely to happen, they will discuss this with you prior to writing the report.

Service Agreements allow us to plan for your therapy. It provides us with an insight into how often, for what length of time, and how much funding you intend on dedicating to a particular therapy type. A Service Agreement is like a contract between you and us, saying what we will deliver to you over what timeframe. Our Service Agreement also contains the Village Therapy Terms and Conditions. This allows both of us to know exactly what we can expect from this working arrangement, and services cannot start until this document is completed.

There is also information from the Australian Taxation Office which indicates that having a written agreement for therapy ensures that the therapy we provide can be GST free.

Signing a Service Agreement does not commit you to completing the stated therapy with us, or paying for the requested sessions if there is a change of plan. You can change or cease therapy at any time, as long as you notify us before the cut off time in our Cancellation Policy. Amendments to Service Agreements can be made immediately by sending us an email. These amendments are not subject to waiting periods.

If your child is sick, then having them not attend the clinic is best for all.

Please notify us as soon as you can by ringing us on 9811 7026. This will give us the best chance of rescheduling the session to a mutually agreeable time in the next seven days, or to convert your session to a telehealth session if suitable (although we usually require 24 hours notice to make this conversion).

If neither of these options are available, we will charge a cancellation fee. For NDIS clients, the cancellation fee is paid by the NDIS as part of your plan.

If you’re running late, let us know by ringing us on 9811 7026. Then, take the time you need to arrive safely. Unfortunately, we are not able to charge less for the session or extend the session time because you arrived late.

We are set-up to do therapy sessions online. However, this may not be suitable due to the type of therapy that you receive, what we’re helping you with or what your therapist has planned for the session to take you closer to your therapeutic goals.

However, if you give us 24 hours notice we’ll do all we can to convert your session to an online session.

Yes, you can request Letters of Support. Letters of Support will be charged based on the time taken for the clinician to complete them. Payment must be received prior to the letter being sent.

Provided your clinician is able to travel to your requested offsite address, we can provide therapy outside the clinic.
However, there are a couple of other things to bear in mind here.

For therapy conducted at home, we will need to do a risk assessment to allow our clinicians to plan for your home visit appropriately, and to ensure that our clinicians know about your home environment. For example, we’ll ask you about hazards, mobile phone coverage, pets, firearms etc.

For therapy conducted at schools and kinders, you will need to get the agreement of the school / kinder before it happens. There are often additional conditions imposed by the school / kinder that everyone will need to comply with. If the school or kinder charges a fee for the therapy to be conducted there, then you will need to pay this fee. Some schools also require a meeting with the clinician before allowing them to conduct treatment on school premises. You will be charged for the time this takes, including associated travel.

Therapy that takes place outside the clinic incurs travel costs based on the time taken to get to the venue. This will be added to your invoice. As we charge travel costs in accordance with the NDIS pricing guide, in most cases NDIS participants can recover the cost through your NDIS plan.

The NDIS have limits on travel distances that can be claimed, so there will be restrictions around distances that your clinician can travel.

Initial sessions vary from client to client, and from therapy type to therapy type. Generally they will involve the clinician gathering information and making a plan for treatment that incorporates your goals and feedback, as well as the funding that you would like to set aside.

Initial sessions may also involve assessments to provide further information to inform treatment plans.

We understand that this is a difficult situation – you want the therapy to start and you’re frustrated with that.

There is a huge demand for the services of a clinic like ours, and we provide as much therapy as we can to as many people as we can. Our limits are the size of our clinic, and our ability to hire top-notch people to deliver therapy. Currently, there is a severe shortage of speech pathologists and occupational therapists and we’re constantly on the look-out for new people.

In the meantime, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page. We also run a School Holiday Program every school holidays that you may be able to access while you are waiting for 1:1 therapy.

We work hard to match clinicians to clients, and won’t ever assign someone to you unless we have full confidence that they’ll be able to provide you with excellent services.

Despite this, some matches work better than others. If you are feeling like your clinician isn’t the right fit, we really recommend you speak to them about this. We are happy to make a caregiver-only session so you can talk through your concerns. You can also contact our Practice Manager as an alternative. Let her know your concerns and we’ll see what we can do. Bear in mind however, that our clinicians are generally fully booked; to cease therapy with one clinician will usually mean going back onto the waiting list – but as a priority case.

Please ring us at anytime on 9811 7026. We’ll answer the call if possible; otherwise leave us a message and we’ll get back to you.
When we speak to you we’ll run through the options available to give you the greatest chance to avoid cancellation fees.

Yes, we can provide a carer’s certificate which confirms you attended the clinic for an appointment on a specific day. Simply speak to our friendly administrative team in the clinic or call us on 03 9811 7026

No, we don’t provide behavioural approaches like ABA.

Village Therapy is committed to providing services that respect and affirm all of our clients for who they are. This means that we will respect our clients’ “No” and not coerce them to participate activities through rewards or physical prompting, which is often part of the teaching style of ABA. We aim for all of our interactions with clients to be neurodiversity affirming. You can find out more about this here.

Village Therapy provides a number of different types of assessments, including Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Swallowing assessments.

Depending on whether our waiting list is open, you can request to be placed on our list to be given an assessment. We will then contact you when a place becomes available. Sometimes we have spaces available for an assessment, when we don’t have a place to offer a client for ongoing therapy. An example of this is if a family goes on holiday, we may have a series of appointments available for a short time only. If we offer you an assessment place, this does not mean that we are guaranteeing you an ongoing therapy service. This will be clearly stated when you are offered the appointment.

We recommend that people go on as many waiting lists as you can – this gives you the best chance of being seen sooner. Do a Google search for the service you want + where you want it to be delivered to see the possibilities. You may want to consider searching in other areas as well, to give yourself the best chance.

You may also want to consider our School Holiday Programs. You can find details at https://villagetherapy.com.au/school-holiday-program/
You don’t need to be an existing client to participate, but we’ll need to talk with you to find out if there is a good match between what you’re looking for and what we offer.

Yes, these are our standard arrangements for self-manged NDIS and private clients. For plan-managed NDIS clients, we will send the invoice to your plan manager on the same day.

If you are not able to pay on the day – for example, if you leave your credit card at home – you can call us and we can take payment over the phone.

All children under the age of 16 must have a parent or caregiver in the clinic at all times (older ages can be dropped off). You need to either be in the session with your child or in the waiting room (whichever is clinically recommended) for the duration of the session.

The costs for Autism Assessments vary from client to client and are dependent upon a number of factors. We generally suggest that clients allow between $1000 and $1500 for an ASD assessment with the break down as follows:

Initial Appointment and Assessment: $290
Subsequent 90min appointment: $225
Subsequent 60min appointment $180
Report: $180 per hour (the expectation is that this will take between 2-4 hours to write).

It is possible to go on a waiting list for a particular clinician. However, we’d need to be sure that what you are looking for is matched with what that person can offer. You also need to bear in mind that requesting a particular clinician may mean waiting longer to start therapy than you might otherwise do.

This is a very difficult question to answer, as many factors contribute to treatment planning. These include your child’s learning style, the nature and severity of their difficulties, and the ability to incorporate regular home practice into your family routines. We will discuss progress with you regularly, to give you a clear idea of how your child is responding to therapy.

Village Therapy is here to help you & your child!

While we see as many clients as we can, our availability may be limited. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying the expert help we can offer. Join our Village today and benefit from access to our group programs, posts and immediate notifications of changes to our waiting list.