“The early identification of speech and language problems is integral to prevention of associated problems in communication, literacy and cognition and is fundamental for lifelong learning and well-being.” – Speech-Language and Audiology Canada
Before starting treatment your speech-language pathologist will begin with an assessment. This is necessary to determine if a communication disorder and/or delay is present, and if so, what areas of speech, language and communication are challenging for your child. This information is important so the speech-language pathologist can create an appropriate treatment plan if intervention is needed.
ASSESSMENT TYPICALLY INVOLVES
- A caregiver interview to get to know your child, your family and your specific concerns before the assessment begins.
- Observation of your child’s natural speech, language and communication skills during a preferred activity with the speech-language pathologist (e.g., book reading, playing with cars, colouring, etc.). In addition to providing valuable information regarding your child’s communication skills, this portion of the assessment allows the speech-language pathologist the opportunity to build a rapport with your child and make them feel safe and comfortable.
- Formal testing, which could involve tasks such as pointing things out in pictures and/or responding to specific questions. This is done to determine your child’s specific speech, language and communication strengths and areas to grow in relation to other children their age.
Assessments take between 1-3 hours and can be done over multiple days if this is in the best interest of the child.
Once the assessment is complete the speech-language pathologist will arrange a time to discuss the findings with you. Results will be explained in detail and recommendations will be made specific to your child. If speech therapy is recommended, then at this time the speech-language pathologist and the caregiver will discuss treatment goals that best meet the needs of the child and a therapy schedule that would work best for the family.
Although each child develops at their own pace, there are certain speech and language skills that typically develop at specific ages. Here are links to a few charts to help you understand what speech and language skills to be looking for at your child’s age.
No doctor’s referral necessary
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