What To Expect:
The first speech therapy session is usually an assessment, if one hasn’t already been completed by another speech therapist. In this assessment, the speech pathologist will evaluate your child’s communication strengths and areas of need, comparing these to the expectations for their age.
Some parents find this stressful, especially for younger children, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind that may make the experience more comfortable. The assessment process allows us to focus on what is needed from therapy, and to set goals we can strive towards together. When standardized tests are used, sometimes parents find it hard to watch their child answer questions “incorrectly”. Remember that these tests are designed to highlight areas of difficulty, and that it is not expected that the child will answer everything correctly. The most important thing to keep in mind is don’t blame yourself! Many parents worry that it was something they did that caused their child’s difficulty with communication. This is certainly not true, and heartbreaking to see! You are doing everything you can as a parent, I promise you.
After the assessment is completed, or if an assessment has already been done, I will sit down with you and we can discuss what we would like to accomplish and gain from therapy. I also want to know about your child’s favourite activities so I can tailor the sessions to include your child’s interests. For example, if your child loves Batman, Thomas, or dinosaurs, we can include these favourites in activities designed to help your child reach his or her goals.
My practice focuses on a family-centered learning approach. I encourage parents to sit in on all sessions with their children and participate. I find including parents in these sessions is best for therapy. Most children feel more comfortable when their parents are participating. Children especially enjoy it when their parents join in their pretend play. You are your child’s first and most important communication partner – you are their favourite communication partner.
What to Bring:
Please bring with you a snack and a drink for your child. Please also bring a favourite toy that your child can show me or a favourite book we can read together. Let us know in advance if you feel your child may be better motivated by the promise of a prize from my prize box after the session.
What to Avoid:
Don’t tell your child that he or she is going to see a “speech doctor” or to expect to be tested. Instead, tell them that they’re going to look at some pictures, say some words, do some work, and then play with some toys.