It can definitely be overwhelming if you are a first time parent of a child who might be in need of Speech Therapy. We want to provide parents with all of the information they need to feel comfortable from identification to graduation. Here is what your family can expect in speech therapy:
Step 1: Identification
Speech delays and communication disorders appear in many different ways, and can be difficult for untrained individuals to identify.
Your child’s pediatrician or doctor may be the one to recommend being evaluated for speech and language therapy. If so, your doctor can make a referral directly to our office for a full speech and language evaluation.
Your child’s school may also identify a delay through a speech and language screening. The speech-language pathologist that goes to your child’s school may refer your child for a full speech and language evaluation.
If you feel as though your child is lagging in her/his speech-language skills, please give our office a call. You are able to schedule a speech and language evaluation with us directly.
The earlier it is identified that a child might be falling behind in their speech and language skills, the better. Research overwhelmingly shows the positive benefits of Early Intervention.
Step 2: Evaluation
An evaluation is a complete look at your child’s speech and language skills in order to determine whether speech therapy is warranted. The evaluation will compare your child’s speech and language to age-appropriate norms. We will also check your child’s hearing, if appropriate, during the evaluation. Here are the things our Speech-Language Pathologists are looking at during an evaluation:
Articulation/Speech Sound Production Evaluation: This is if the main and only concern is how your child is speaking/saying sounds. This would be if your child is difficult to understand compared to his/her peers. If you are noticing certain sounds that your child is unable to make that most children at his/her age are able to.
Expressive and Receptive Language Evaluation: This type of evaluation would be if the concerns are in regards to your child’s language skills. It could be if you are noticing that she/he is not forming complete and full sentences for her/his age, difficulty following directions, hard time understanding what people are saying, difficulty answering questions, etc.
Fluency Evaluation: If the main and only concern is that your child is stuttering.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Evaluation: If your child is nonverbal, we can do this type of evaluation in order to determine eligibility for an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device or other appropriate device.
A combination of two or more of these evaluations is possible if your child exhibits difficulty in more than one area.
Step 3: Therapy
Once a schedule has been arranged for therapy sessions, speech therapy will begin! The number of sessions per week is determined by your Speech-Language Pathologist after your child’s evaluation.
Before the first session, you will receive a Plan-of-Care (goals) that the therapist will be working on with your child.
During the session, the therapist will have prepared fun activities or games to use with your child that will go hand in hand with targeting your child’s goals. We encourage parents to watch the session from our Observation Room. Each Speech-Language Therapist’s office at CSHC is equipped with an Observation Room. Parents and family members can watch and listen to therapy.
At the end of the session, parents are encouraged to ask the therapists any questions they may have. We are happy to share tools for how to work on your child’s goals at home. Additionally, your child’s therapist may provide homework in order to work on goals at home.
Step 4: Graduation
When the therapist and parent deem that the child has met all of his/her goals and speech and language skills are at the age-appropriate level, your child can graduate from speech-language therapy! The therapist prepare a discharge summary to give to you, explaining where your child started and how she/he made progress.
If you are interested in talking with one of CSHC’s expert Speech-Language Pathologists, please call our office at 704-523-8027. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the speech therapy process.
Even further, if would like to schedule a speech-language evaluation for your child, you may call our office or fill out the Contact Form on our website. At this time we are offering speech-language therapy via Teletherapy with great results!
Finally, we encourage you to visit our Blog, YouTube channel, and Resources for Families page to view some of the helpful speech-language videos, tips, and tools our Speech-Language Pathologists have created as a resource for you.
Blog written by Jennifer Ferzoco, M.S., CCC-SLP. Jenn is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center.