Going to your first Speech and Language Therapy appointment can be daunting. You might be unsure about what to expect and what will be covered. You might be anxious or nervous about talking about your concerns and difficulties with someone you have never met before.
Giving you an idea of what to expect on this initial appointment will hopefully ease your worries.
Your appointment may take place in one of our clinics or at home, or an alternative location chosen by you such as your child’s school or nursery.
Collecting Information for your Case History
Before booking your appointment, you have already filled out a questionnaire, providing our therapists with invaluable information. This includes: any medical and/or developmental information, family history, your child’s strengths and areas of concerns as well as what you are hoping from speech and language therapy.
This information is important for us in order to select the most appropriate assessment as well as to determine an accurate diagnosis and to devise an effective treatment plan and recommendations.
At the start of your appointment, we will be going over this information together and the therapist may ask about more details if needed as well as to go over any questions that you may have.
Observing your child interact and/or play with their family members will give the therapist information about their way of communicating, their understanding and their ability to share attention with another person. This will also make the child feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar setting. The therapist may then join in if the child is happy for them to do so.
Informal vs. Formal assessment
Based on the observation, the therapist will then select an appropriate assessment tool. This may be play-based or picture-based.
Report and Next Steps
Once the assessment is complete, the therapist will discuss the tested areas with you and make recommendations on what the next steps could involve.
Recommendations may include the following:
– Referral to other professionals for further assessments, e.g. Occupational Therapist, Paediatrician or Ear-Nose-Throat Specialists etc. in order to gain a more complete picture of your child’s needs.
– Direct Therapy – we may recommend a block of direct therapy intervention at home, school or the clinic to work on agreed targets. The number and frequency of the therapy sessions will depend on the type and level of difficulties.
– Home or School Programme – the therapist may provide a programme to be carried out at school and home. Regular review sessions will then be scheduled to monitor progress.
– No therapy required – Based on the assessment results your child may not require speech and language therapy input.
The therapist will also give you advice and suggestions on how to further develop your child’s skills at home. This may involve both hands-on activities as well as environmental changes, such as creating more opportunities to communicate or implementing visual support at home.
If you have booked an initial assessment with a report, the therapist will e-mail you the report with a summary of the information provided by you, the findings of the assessment as well as the recommendations and advice, within the next two weeks.