You did it! After weighing all the various options, you decided to go ahead and schedule a speech-language therapy evaluation for your child. Now, you may be wondering what to expect at the evaluation appointment. As a private practice speech-language pathologist, I frequently conduct evaluations. No two evaluations are exactly the same nor should they be, because no two children are the same!
However, there is a general protocol I follow when conducting my evaluations. I hope that by sharing this information, you may be more informed about what to expect at your child's initial evaluation.
Let's get to it!
First, your SLP should collect a thorough case history. If your child has had any significant medical issues, recurrent ear infections, or other health concerns, it is important to share this information with your SLP. Additionally, it is helpful to know if there is a family history of speech-language concerns or delays. How are your child's hearing and vision? These are all important factors to consider when evaluating speech-language functioning.
An oral mechanism examination should be performed- this is a fancy way of saying that the SLP will need to take a peak into your child's mouth and examine their oral structures for any abnormalities. If anything looks unusual, the SLP can then refer you to the appropriate specialist, such as an ENT.
Depending upon your child's specific speech-language concerns (e.g. social language, articulation, vocabulary, etc.) the SLP will select an appropriate standardized test instrument to administer in order to better assess your child's strengths and weaknesses. Norm-referenced standardized tests often allow clinicians to compare a child's skills to same-aged peers. These tests also help provide information regarding the severity of a speech-language impairment.
For younger children, many assessment tools rely on parent report. For example, if your child is under age 3, the clinician will likely ask you many questions about the ways in which your child communicates. Additionally, play-based and observational assessment is often used as a way to assess young children's speech-language skills.
Parent interview and report are valuable during an evaluation, because chances are, many young children will not demonstrate all of their skills in a new place with a new person, during a limited time-frame. Remember, you are an expert when it comes to your child. Please state your concerns and don't be afraid to ask questions during the evaluation. Your input is incredibly valuable!
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If you or someone you know, is looking for a speech-language pathologist, in the Mason, OH area, I am accepting new clients. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading!