What to Expect: Your Child’s First Speech Therapy Visit

Speech therapist Melanie McGriff.

You’ve received a referral from your doctor, filled out all the forms, and scheduled your first appointment at the therapy office. Everything’s all set, but you may be a little nervous because you don’t know exactly what to expect. You’ve probably seen adults receiving therapy in movies, but a little voice inside your head wonders how it’s going to work for your small child that may not “get” why therapy is valuable. In this second-in-a-series post, speech therapist Adriana Muzquiz talks about what to expect in that first speech therapy appointment.

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During the child’s first visit the therapist obtains an overview of your child’s strengthens and weaknesses. It’s important to be prepared to discuss your concerns regarding your child’s speech, language, social, and/or feeding difficulties. Other valuable information to bring with you includes birth/delivery history and the ages your child reached different developmental milestones in the areas of physical, social, and language skills, and to be ready to talk about your child’s everyday routine.

Once patient history and information is gathered, the therapist will begin an assessment of the child. To the child, it will seem like play – the therapist will play with the child, observe the child playing independently and with you, and will compare the child’s abilities with a standardized assessment. Often, it may seem as if the therapist is only playing, but in reality the therapist is eliciting specific language and/or speech targets.

A standardized assessment is an exam that compares the child’s speech and language skills to other children in her age range. Based on the score the child receives, the therapist will then be able to conclude whether or not the child demonstrates a need for speech therapy. In some cases, most often due to young age or a disability, the child is unable to comply with the standardized assessment, and in that case, the speech therapist will use an informal assessment to establish an appropriate plan of care.

If speech therapy is recommended, the therapist and family will discuss the findings of the assessment and possible goals and expectations for the child’s treatment plan. The actual content of speech therapy sessions varies widely from patient to patient due to differing abilities and goals, but most patients will visit the clinic either one or two times per week for about an hour. The only thing left then is getting on the schedule! You’ll find after just a short time that Kid’s Creek Therapy kids become part of our family – we are here to help your child shine and provide them with strategies needed for home and school life!

Adriana Muzquiz, Speech Therapist

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