Assessments

For children who are not yet talking, saying less than we would expect for their age or having difficulty understanding or putting sentences together as well as their peers, assessment is split over two sessions- the initial consultation and the initial assessment.

The Initial Consultation

This is attended by parents/carers alone (without your child). It lasts for half an hour to forty five minutes. During this time, we discuss your child’s developmental and other relevant background information in order to help the therapist understand more about your child. It also gives space and time for you to express your concerns regarding your child’s communication. The therapist may provide checklists for you to complete prior to the initial assessment.

We will discuss if further assessment is warranted and when and how this may best suit your family.

The Initial Assessment

Assessments are adapted to suit each child following on from the information gathered at the initial consultation. They take place in a child-friendly environment with the parents/carers present.

For young children, your child will be given plenty of time to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Assessment is typically done through play and may consist of observations of your child during play,  observations of children playing with their parents, direct therapist-child play, formal assessment in which the therapist may present pictures and/or toys and ask your child specific questions or give them instructions to follow.

For older children and adolescents, assessments will be collaborative and will involve looking at the factors influencing their fluency, speech and/or language. This will be done through the completion of a case history form, an informal discussion and where appropriate a standardised assessment.

The assessment may take up to 1 1/2  hours.

On occasions, additional assessment approaches may be recommended such as school visits. Observing a child in a familiar environment and interviewing key educational staff can be a very informative process and can also be used to support school staff in relation to encouraging the communication skills of a child in this setting. If this is recommended for your child it will be discussed with you in advance. Additional costs will apply.

Following the assessment the results will be discussed with you and, if therapy is required, intervention options will be discussed and a proposed therapy schedule will be agreed.

Should onward referral to services such as Audiology, Psychology, Early Intervention, these will be discussed and with written consent from parents/carers, these referrals will be made as part of the assessment fee.

At times, information from a child’s educational placement is very useful and with written consent, liaison with these services is also included as part of the assessment process.

Written reports based on the assessment can be requested at any stage and will be required should your child need onward referral or is currently attending another SLT service such as the HSE. As reports are not always necessary, these are not included in the assessment fee and are a separate service.

Speech assessments are for those children who are talking but may have difficulty producing certain sounds or may do things such as saying one sound in place of another,  leaving sounds out or leaving the end off of words.   This may impact how easy it is to understand you child, especially for unfamiliar listeners. You may find that your child can be easily understood when they say one word at a time, however when they speed up or start put sentences together they become less easily understood.

Both the child and the parent attends the speech assessment, which should last approximately 45-60 minutes. Your child will be given toys to play and time will be given to help them feel comfortable in their new surroundings. A case history will be gathered and your Speech Therapist will asks questions relating to developmental milestones, medical history and family history etc. It may be useful to bring along any medical record books you may have (HSE orange book).

Your therapist will then take time to assess your child’s speech sounds, and errors made in single words and sentences. This may be done through a formal assessment involving looking at picture books, IPADS, through informal play or through a combination of these approaches.

Following assessment, feedback will be provided on whether your child’s errors are typical for his age or whether they are they are presenting with errors (phonological processes or articulation difficulties) that they should have outgrown or that are less frequently seen (atypical phonological processes). If therapy is recommended for your child this will be discussed and a plan put in place. You will also have time to ask any questions or address any specific concerns that you may have.

Should onward referral to services such as Audiology, Psychology, Early Intervention, these will be discussed and with written consent from parents/carers, these referrals will be made as part of the assessment fee.

Written reports based on the assessment can be requested at any stage and will be recommended should your child need onward referral or is currently attending another SLT service such as the HSE. As reports are not always necessary, these are not included in the assessment fee.

For some children there may be both speech and language needs, particularly for those with an underlying diagnosis such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome or an Intellectual Disability or those at risk of Developmental Language Delay. These assessments are typically split into two or three sessions, always consisting of a an Initial Consultation (30-45mins) where parents attend without their child to openly discuss concerns and for the Speech Therapist to gather information that helps learn about your child and families unique background and needs. Assessment may take place over one or two sessions dependent on your child’s age and attention and engagement.

At times, information from a child’s educational placement is very useful and with written consent, liaison with these services is also included as part of the assessment process.

On occasions, additional assessment approaches may be recommended such as school visits. Observing a child in a familiar environment and interviewing key educational staff can be a very informative process and can also be used to support school staff in relation to encouraging the communication skills of a child in this setting. If this is recommended for your child it will be discussed with you in advance. Additional costs will apply.

Should onward referral to services such as Audiology, Psychology, Early Intervention, these will be discussed and with written consent from parents/carers, these referrals will be made. These are included in the assessment fee.

Written reports based on the assessment can be requested at any stage and will be recommended should your child need onward referral or is currently attending another SLT service such as the HSE. As reports are not always necessary, these are not included in the assessment fee.

For children who present with a stammer or dysfluency, a three part assessment is recommended consisting of 1) an initial consultation 2) an assessment and 3) case history gathering, assessment feedback and discussion of recommendations.

The initial consultation is attended by the therapist and both parents/carers (no children present). This time gives us the opportunity to discuss your concerns and ask questions. The initial screening helps the therapist select the appropriate care pathway for your child, based on whether he/she is at risk or persistence and therefore needs further assessment and intervention, or whether he/she is likely to recover and needs advice and monitoring.

This sessions typically takes up to an 45mins.

Should a full assessment be advised, it is comprised of two parts:

Assessment session 1: Parent-child interaction video and a child assessment. Your child attends with one or both parents for approximately one to one and a half hours. A short recording is taken of a parent interacting or playing with their child. A speech and language assessment appropriate to your child’s needs and stage of development will be completed with your child.

Assessment session 2: Case history formulation and recommendations. this is attended by both parents (without your child) and can last up to an hour and a half. During this session, the therapist gathers all relevant information about your child and we discuss the assessment results. Parents have the opportunity to ask questions and a plan for therapy is discussed.

At times, information from a child’s educational placement is very useful and with written consent, liaison with these services is also included as part of the assessment process.

Should onward referral to services such as Audiology, Psychology, Early Intervention, these will be discussed and with written consent from parents/carers, these referrals will be made. These are included in the assessment fee.

Due to the comprehensive nature of a fluency assessment, a written report is highly recommended and can be requested as an additional service.

Therapy

  • The speech therapy service will be provided based on goals identified following an assessment and will be agreed on by the therapist and parents/carers.
  • Sessions are 45 minutes and 10 minutes of this time is non-direct time and is allocated for recording the session outcomes and planning the next session.
  • In most cases parent/carers are involved in therapy sessions and will remain in the clinic room with their child.
  • Strategies for home practice will be discussed and demonstrated and regular and consistent practice is encouraged.
  • The speech therapy service will be provided based on goals identified following an assessment and will be agreed on by the therapist and parents/carers.
  • Sessions are 60 mins and 10 minutes of this time is non-direct time and is allocated for recording the session outcomes and planning the next session.
  • There is significant evidence that children who present language difficulties make more progress when parents play a key role in their therapy. and therefore parents are supported to play an active role during therapy sessions.
  • Each child will be given an individually tailored therapy package, which will typically consist of interaction and family strategies with direct fluency work as necessary.
  • Parents have a key role in therapy which is supported by the Speech Therapist.
  • Siblings are invited to join one/some sessions
  • Sessions typically are one hour.

Written Reports

Written reports from assessment are available on request. These can be used to support access to additional services or in making an overall diagnosis in conjunction with other professionals. If onward referral to services such as the early Intervention Team, then detailed written reports will be necessary.


School or Home Programmes

Many parents and schools find written speech therapy programmes extremely useful to help a child continue their progress during a break from therapy. Programmes outline your child’s current goals in therapy and strategies to help support them. They may be used to support your child’s IEP.


Services to Schools

Over the past few years, supports to schools have become an increasing part of my job.

In house training is available for both pre-school and national school levels. It is arranged during hours that best suits the needs of your pupils and staff. Workshops include:

  • Identifying and supporting children with communication difficulties
  • Information on play, speech and language development
  • The use of visual supports in the classroom

Workshops can be designed and customised for the specific needs of your school.

Consultation work specific to ASD units  is available to national and secondary schools. This work begins with a meeting of all relevant school staff to identify the needs of the staff and school as a whole. Following on from this initial consultation, I provide an assessment of the current communication environment followed by recommended supports which may include, direct staff training and support and modifications of the communication environment including visual supports. The frequency and the timing of these sessions are arranged around the busy school setting.