The initial assessment with your child takes place in our office with the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). The type of assessment and the length of the session depend on your child’s presentation and the type of testing that may be required. For example, your child may require an articulation assessment, which requires the SLP to evaluate your child’s sound repertoire of consonants and vowels. Perhaps your child requires a language assessment, which means that the SLP will assess your child’s expressive and receptive language. Whether you require speech or language assessment or both, there are a wide variety of informal and formal tests that may be administered. The assessment process will help determine whether your child may be in need of speech and/or language therapy. The assessment also helps the SLP determine the types of goals that your child should be targeting in order to meet milestones for their age. Goals are discussed throughout the session and a treatment plan is formulated with the parents, should child speech therapy be required. A formal report including the treatment plan is compiled and later distributed to parents and any other providers in the family’s circle of care at the parent’s request.
When your child’s communication milestones for speech and/or language are not being met, it can be cause for concern. Articulation, receptive and expressive language are the cornerstone to school success and achievement in daily life. When infants and children have difficulty reaching communication milestones, it can lead to problems with behaviour, social skills, and academic skills. It is never too early to make a referral. If you suspect your child is not meeting the speech or language milestones for their age, call us to discuss your concerns or make a referral.
If your child’s assessment recommends treatment for speech and/or language, a treatment plan will be discussed and implemented. The SLP will help you determine the best location and frequency of therapy for your child. Therapy can occur in a variety of locations including: the office, the child’s home or daycare/school or other agreed upon locations. Therapy can be provided by the SLP in office, but most typically provided by a Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA) who travel to accommodate your preference for location. A typical session with you child includes building a rapport while playing many games and activities in order to target your child’s speech and/or language therapy goals. The child is motivated to participate while being challenged to achieve their targets. With younger children they may feel like they are simply playing, while in older children they are often involved in labelling and achieving their goals. Either way the child is provided with reinforcement in order to remain motivated and engaged in the therapy session.
Other reasons that children may require therapy may be:
- delays in receptive(understanding) and expressive(use of) language
- disfluency (stuttering)
- hearing impairments
- cleft lip/palate
- developmental disorders
- feeding difficulties
- other developmental delays
Child Consultation Services
If your child is involved with other services or care, sometimes those providers notice things about your child that may not be meeting speech and/or language communication milestones for their age. This could be someone from your child’s daycare, school, or even a family member, or a third-party referral may also include other agencies or physicians. Consultation most typically includes phone calls or emails with a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), it may also include consultation through web-based formats such as Skype or FaceTime. As with referrals, consultations are typically local but may also include agencies or treatment centres from mid and southwestern Ontario.