Your child’s first speech therapy appointment is on the schedule. Everything’s all set, but you may be a little nervous – a little voice inside your head wonders how therapy is going to work for your small child who may not “get” why therapy is important. What should you bring? How long will it last? Will my child cooperate with the therapist?
Your child’s first speech therapy appointment will be an evaluation.
The evaluation will usually include a standardized test, observation through play, medical history information, and/or a parent report. Before your child’s evaluation, you will be given a series of documents to complete, but it’s also a good idea to create a list of your concerns or questions you have and bring it with you. In the moment, it’s easy to forget what you intended to ask!
At least one parent needs to be in the room with your child and the therapist during the first speech therapy appointment, and while we believe that all family members can play a role in helping children develop, it’s important that siblings aren’t present during the evaluation. The first speech therapy appointment can take up to two hours, but if yours doesn’t, consider yourself lucky! It takes time for some children to “warm up” to the therapist.
What Happens During the First Speech Therapy Appointment
During the child’s first visit the therapist will ask for an overview of your child’s strengthens and weaknesses. 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 have been 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 both 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 working to identify 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, 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 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 one to 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!
Unsure if your child needs speech therapy?
Developed over two decades of treating children, Kid’s Creek Therapy offers a FREE online GAP Assessment for parents with concerns. By answering a series of simple questions, you’ll instantly receive a score that will help you understand if your child may have an issue needing closer evaluation. Click here for the free GAP Assessment or book a free consultation with one of our therapists.