You just received a referral from your pediatrician for concerns about a speech and language delay. You might feel concerned about what the first session might look like and if there is anything you need to bring with you.
This article will review what an evaluation process looks like and what to expect.
Speech and Language Evaluation
Prior to your child’s evaluation, you will likely receive an intake form. The intake form will highlight:
- Medical history
- Any complications during birth or pregnancy
- Hearing results
- History of ear infections
- Family history of speech, language, and hearing concerns
- Developmental Milestones
- Parent concerns with speech and language
- Social history
- Child’s typical day
- Child’s favorite activities
It is highly recommended to complete this form in advance of your session so your evaluating therapist can review your child’s history ahead of time. This helps the evaluating therapist tailor the process to meet your child’s individualized needs and determine what evaluation tools would be most beneficial to utilize.
After the parent interview, the speech-language pathologist will conduct formal and informal testing to get a better picture of your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
The formal assessment involves standardized testing in which the therapist will show your child pictures and ask questions. Formal assessments are important to help determine how your child’s performance compares to the normative sample. In other words, is your child performing in the expected range for their age group?
The informal assessment involves non-standardized measures where the therapist will use their expertise to determine strengths, weaknesses, and fill in any gaps that they noticed with the formal assessment. This could also involve play or a language sample to see how the child performs organically.
At the end of your evaluation, the speech-language pathologist will review the results and whether your child will benefit from intervention and at what frequency. It is at this point where our clinician will strive to collaborate to formulate a plan of care that best meets your child’s needs.
It is important to note that some formal assessments require additional time to score. As a result, it is also common if a therapist chooses to highlight significant concerns on formal assessment after the session and then give the parent a call back later.
What to Bring to Evaluation
- Parent Intake Form: This form is important to fill out prior to the evaluation and bring with you. Not only does the form help provide direction to your therapist on what concerns they should focus on, but it also helps provide a quick synopsis about your child so the therapist can help build rapport.
- Your Child’s Favorite Toy(s): While our therapists have a lot of toys to choose from, it is recommended that you bring a toy from home as well. Often children take time to warm up to the therapist and may feel more comfortable engaging in play with familiar items.
- Additional Reports (i.e. IEP, ABA Report, etc.): If your child is currently receiving services with other disciplines or at their school, it would be helpful to bring these reports to your evaluation. These reports help provide information on how your child responded to therapy, how they are progressing, and what is being addressed in other environments. It also allows for consistency and continuity of care as we strive to collaborate as a team at Speak Therapy.