What to Expect from your Speech and Language Therapy Appointment
What happens when you attend your first Speech and Language Therapy appointment?
Please arrive on time for your appointment and bring any relevant reports. Your speech and language therapist will then greet you and your child and bring you into the clinic room. They will start with a detailed medical and developmental history to get all the information about your current issue. From here they will do a complete assessment to figure out what the issue is. They will then explain the findings of the assessment to you and answer any questions you have. This assessment allows the speech and language therapist to develop a specific treatment plan for you and this will be started in your first therapy session.
Sometimes more time is required to assess the child. This will be discussed during the initial appointment if necessary.
It is recommended that the child attends the initial consultation with one or both parents. It is advised that siblings do not attend the initial appointment as this can be distracting to the child.
There will be toys available but if your child has a preferred toy please feel free to bring it to the appointment.
All assessments are an hour, if the appointment takes less time you will be charged accordingly.
What is included in the first appointment?
Information gathered from the medical and developmental history, main parental concerns and initial observations determines what is included in the assessment. Below is a list of the assessments that may be necessary:
- Observation of your child’s play
- Observation of parent and child interaction
- Informal play and activities with the child
- Formal assessment in which the speech and language therapist presents pictures to your child and asks a series of questions
- Conversation with your child (if appropriate)
Now you have completed the first appointment what will the follow up entail?
After the first appointment, your speech and language therapist will have a treatment plan in action. They will start with a quick chat to determine how you and your child have been doing since the previous appointment. They will then complete a condensed assessment to monitor your child’s progress. The remainder of the session will be then focussed on the ongoing treatment.
Homework will be issued after every single appointment and must be completed before the next appointment. Daily practice will result in faster progress.
What will the treatment include?
There is a huge array of treatments that speech and language therapists can do. Below is a list of the most common treatments:
- Advice and education – this will cover what to do to help your child and what to avoid.
- Play-based activities to target identified speech and language difficulties
- Picture-based activities to target identified speech and language difficulties
- Conversational-based activities to target identified speech and language difficulties
- Use of AAC e.g. sign language and Picture Exchange Communication Systems
Your speech and language therapist will decide upon what treatments will be the most effective for your child’s issue. It’s important to remember none of them are compulsory, if you would prefer not to have a particular type of treatment you can always opt out.
How many appointments do you need to attend?
This varies a huge amount from child to child depending on what the issue is. This depends on several factors:
- The nature of your child’s difficulties
- Your child’s response to and readiness for the treatment
- The frequency of homework carried out at home
Your speech and language therapist will continually review your child’s progress and will discuss with you the level of input required.