What to expect when attending TalkHQ Speech Pathology for the first time:
Our team understand that the first visit to a speech pathologist can be a daunting process, for both the child and their family and we endeavour to make this visit as easy as possible.
Your first time seeing a speech pathologist will involve an assessment.
In order to make private speech pathology more accessible, at TalkHQ Speech Pathology we offer 2 types of assessments:
This is a short appointment (about 45 mins) whereby we use screening tools to get a snapshot of your child’s communication profile to determine therapy goals for the short-term. The speech screening looks at the sounds your child is producing to determine if these are appropriate for their age. The language screening looks at their ability to answer questions; describe pictures and, depending upon their age, may involve retelling a short story.
In-depth Speech and Language Assessment
This is a longer appointment (about 1.5 hours direct contact time plus indirect time for scoring, analysis and interpretation) whereby more in-depth assessments are used to allow us to compare your child’s communication skills with those of the same age range and determine specific goals for therapy. If you are concerned about your child’s literacy skills, an in-depth speech and language assessment is recommended as this will incorporate oral and written language skills.
Both assessment types (that is, screening assessments and in-depth assessments) will usually begin with the therapist using games or toys to help engage your child and help them feel relaxed in the clinic room. Speech pathologists are specialists in child development. As part of the assessment process, therefore, she will ask detailed questions about many aspects of your child’s development, such as motor development, play skills, interaction, sleeping habits, eating/drinking habits, performance at school (if applicable) etc.
Depending upon your child’s age, attention, and compliance, the next step in the assessment process may involve:
- observing your child during play
- engaging in conversation while playing
- showing them different pictures from books or toys and asking them to point to things or name things
- completing parental or teacher questionnaires
- further discussion with teachers or playschool staff (with parental consent)
Once the assessment is completed, the therapist will discuss the results with you. This discussion may need to occur in a feedback session where your child is not present due to the sensitivity of information being shared.
If therapy is indicated, the speech pathologist will explain what the options are and give an idea of the proposed therapy schedule.
You will be given a one page summary of the assessment results (that is, the written summary) which is included in the initial assessment and screening fee. Sometimes, a more detailed assessment report is required for example, if your child is being referred onto the Paediatrician or requires more detail for school. On these occasions, the speech pathologist will discuss with you the need for a more detailed report as the assessment summary would not be suffice in these circumstances. In these circumstances, a fee of $160 is charged to cover the time taken to write the more detailed report.
If therapy is required:
Research shows that early intervention is the key to successfully help your child achieve their maximum potential in communication development. It also helps reduce some of the associated behaviours that may co-exist when communication breaks down such as frustration, reduced confidence, withdrawal and socialisation difficulties.
Speech pathologists use games and toys to help motivate your child to participate in therapy activities. Although this can look like we are “just playing”, the toys and games are important tools in the therapeutic process because they allow us to target the communication difficulty without putting pressure on your child. Often, the child is so busy “having fun” that they do not realise that they are targeting specific communication goals!
Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in the therapy activities where possible to make it easier to practise these activities during home practice.
Attending your speech pathology session is not enough! It is important that therapeutic activities are practised and incorporated in your child’s life at home and at school, where possible.
At TalkHQ Speech Pathology we liaise with teachers as well as Speech Pathologists within the education system with your consent. This helps ensure that there is consistency within the school, home and clinic environments.
We encourage parents to ask questions at any stage if they are unclear about any aspect of the assessment or treatment.
We hope that this information makes your first experience at TalkHQ Speech Pathology more positive and look forward to meeting you soon.