Making Decisions About Home Care

3 Things Parents Should Expect From A Speech Therapist

by Mae Ferguson

If you are concerned about your child's speech and language skills, you might consider making an appointment with a speech therapist (also known as a speech pathologist). It is a speech therapist's job to work with your child to evaluate and improve communication disorders and/or swallowing disorders. It can be confusing to try to set up an appointment and find the right therapist for your child, especially if this is your first time dealing with a speech therapist. Knowing what to expect during an appointment can greatly decrease anxiety for both you and your child. Listed below are three things that a parent should expect from a visit with a speech therapist. 

1. You Will be Questioned

The speech therapist will most likely interview you during the first appointment to learn more about what you have noticed with your child's speech/swallowing. This is not meant to be an interrogation, the therapist simply needs information from the person who knows your child best--you. Come prepared to answer questions regarding your child's medical history, developmental milestones, communication concerns, and communication strengths. Help things go smoothly by taking some time before the appointment to write this information down so that you have it ready to go. 

2. Screening

Since the appointment is for your child, your child will have a screening from the speech therapist. This screening is fairly short (about 20 minutes) and will consist mainly of your child being asked to repeat words, answer questions, and participate in a small conversation. If your child is shy or nervous about this portion of the appointment, assure him or her that this screening is not meant to embarrass them or make them feel bad; it is just a way for the therapist to best figure out how to help them. You can even bring a favorite toy or comfort item with you to help ease any nerves your child may experience. 

3. Homework

After the assessment, your child will most likely be given some exercises to work on between appointments. Home practice is crucial when it comes to improving your child's speech or swallowing. Simply attending the future appointments, whether they are group or one-on-one sessions, will not be enough to see results. Depending on your child's age, you might be given homework as well to help them along. Remember that improving speech is a process, and it takes a lot of dedication from everyone to see results. 

Knowing what to expect from a speech therapist during the appointment is a great step in easing your fears and your child's. Keep the list above in mind as you plan for your appointment, and remember that the therapist is on your side. They have the same goal as you: to improve your child's communication. 

For more information, check out places such as Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head.