Private Speech and Language Therapy Assessment

children's toy


Assessment in Speech & Language Therapy (child speech, language and communication):


Often, parents would like to know in advance what Speech & Language Therapy assessment will entail. This can help you to prepare your child (and yourself!) for this new experience. Here is some general advice on the assessment process in Achieve Speech & Language Therapy:


The Assessment Environment

Assessment usually takes place in the clinic setting. After introductions, we get started. Louise has lots of toys for your child to play with and playing helps your child to settle into this new environment. The toys can also be a nice focus for your child when we move on to the next part of assessment: getting some background information from you the parent(s) on your child's development to date.


The Case History

Whilst we may have started this discussion on the 'phone, it is important for Louise to gather all the relevant information on your child's development to date. This usually involves finding out about your child's medical and developmental history. Louise may ask about when your child started crawling, walking, dressing / feeding / using the toilet independently etc.. We also discuss your child's current communication profile at home (and at playschool / school). Louise may ask about when your child started babbling, using first words, combining two words together etc. and ask you about how many words your child is currently using. Some parents find it helpful to start keeping a Communication Diary before the assessment appointment and to use this notebook to write down every different word / phrase you hear your child using. Using a Communication Diary -and bringing it with you to your child's assessment appointment- means that you can easily add up all the words that your child is using and have communication examples for Louise to read about.


The Assessment

The way in which your child's speech, language and / or communication is assessed depends on your child's age and individual profile (for example, levels of attention). Generally, the younger the child, the more the assessment will be done through playing with him / her. Speech & Language Therapists use toys in lots of different ways when assessing children. For example, a Mr. Potato Head® toy can give us lots of information: on how long your child can pay attention when playing a game; on whether or not your child knows colours and body parts;  on how your child asks for items / makes requests; on whether he / she can understand simple and more complex instructions. Sometimes Louise will also use a parent questionnaire assessment to learn more about your child's abilities; after all, whilst Speech & Language Therapists are experts in the field of child communication, you are the expert on your own child!


For older children, assessment may involve standardised assessments. These picture and word books are used to assess various aspects of communication, for example your child's knowledge of the names of actions / animals, the structure of your child's sentences and how well they remember spoken instructions. Standardised assessments must be carried out in a certain way i.e. Louise may need to use particular sentences when giving the test instructions or may only be allowed to give an instruction once (with no repetitions). Standardised assessments allow Speech & Language Therapists to compare your child's speech, language and communication with other children of the same age.


Louise may assess your child's:

  • speech sounds (how easy your child is to understand when he / she is talking);
  • oral-motor skills (how your child moves their articulators -teeth, lips, tongue, soft palate, jaw etc.- to make speech sounds);
  • receptive language skills (how well your child understands language spoken to them);
  • expressive language skills (how your child uses words / sentences to express him- or herself verbally);
  • speech fluency (whether or not your child is stuttering / stammering);
  • social-communication skills (how your child interacts with others socially).


Feedback on Assessment Results

Assessment is usually undertaken in one session, although in some cases a second session is scheduled to finish the assessment (at no extra cost). Once the assessment is completed, Louise will give you verbal feedback on the results. This will outline your child's communication strengths and any areas of need that were identified during assessment. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the assessment process and results and any treatment plan required. Parents often find it helpful to take notes when they are getting verbal feedback as there is often a lot of information about your child's communication profile delivered to you in a short period of time. Note-taking is a good way of highlighting the key points for you to think about at home after the assessment has ended. In addition, notes are helpful for discussing the results with your partner later if you were not both able to attend assessment.


Going forward from Assessment

Assessment is the first step in helping your child to achieve his / her communication potential. If therapy is indicated from assessment findings, an appointment for further therapy will be arranged. Please see Fees Schedule - Cancellation Policy page for details of the cost of Assessment and Therapy sessions. Sometimes referral to other professionals (for example, an educational psychologist) is indicated following assessment; Louise will talk you through the steps that will need to be taken to help your child achieve his / her communication goals. If a formal report is required for school or medical purposes, one can be devised (this will incur an extra charge - please see Fees Schedule - Cancellation Policy page for further information).


If you have any questions regarding assessment, please call Louise at 086 1246 596 for an informal, obligation-free chat about your child's needs.