What to expect from your first speech pathology session

You have just booked your child in their first speech pathology appointment. Congratulations! You’re now one step closer to ensuring your child has the best opportunity to enhance their communication abilities. If this is the first time you and your child have been through this process before there are probably multiple emotions you are feeling; relief, anticipation, or even anxiousness, confusion and some fear for the unknown. We get it! These emotions that you and your child might be feeling are completely normal and nothing to be worried about. So, to help you through this initial session here are some general things you can expect your speech pathologist to ask about, look into, and do with your child so you can feel a little more prepared for your appointment.

What information will we ask you about?

Every child is different and there is a multitude of reasons they may need our assistance. It is impossible for us to list here all the questions we may need to ask you but some general areas of interest for us include:

  • In-depth information pertaining to your child’s medical and developmental history including illnesses, pregnancy and birth, their milestone development, their strength and weaknesses, and speech pathology needs. This will allow us to gain an in-depth picture into your child abilities, background, and potential factor that may impact on their communication
  • Your child’s family history including other family members with speech and language concern (past or present), the family dynamics, and any other family factors that may impact on your child ability to require and progress with speech pathology. Some communication difficulties can arise due to a family history so it is important for us to understand not only your child but have some understanding of their family as well.
  • Other supports/professionals that are involved in your child’s care. This will greatly assist us in being able to provide your child with a multidisciplinary team approach to greatly benefit your child’s communication progress. By understanding the support network behind your child, we can ensure all members are able to assist and work together in the best way possible. This includes kinder/day-care, teachers, medical professionals and other allied health professions involved in your childcare.

 

What information should I bring with me?

We love when parents come to their child’s initial session with lots of information. This can come in many forms but the more information you provide the quicker we are able to support you child. It is fantastic if you provide us with as much information as you can before the session but even bringing it in the initial session is great! Helpful information can include but is not limited to:

  • Any medical or school reports: including doctor referrals, audiological reports, and/or school term reports. This will allow us to have an in-depth understanding of other concerns or areas of not that may impact on your child communication. It can also assist us in ruling out potential factors that may be impacting on your concerns.
  • Examples of your child’s speech or language: this includes video or voice records, written notes or just verbal examples of why you think your child may need our assistance.

What will your speech pathologist do with your child?

Depending on your child’s age and reason for attending a speech pathology assessment, there are many ways we are able to attain the information we need to assist in planning goals to best suit your child. Assessment can take shape in many forms including but not limited to:

  • Informal play with fun toys and nursery rhymes
  • Formalised assessment tasks
  • Rapport building and conversations with your child
  • Parent completed assessment tasks and case history discussions
  • Observations

 

Remember – You know your child the best, and we will do all we can to ensure we not only help your child but also you through this process. You have taken a great first step in helping your child to communicate to the best of their ability and we can’t wait to join your child’s team and work together in meeting their goals!

 

  • By Brooke Perrin