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Speech 101: The Evaluation Process

As a parent, understanding the differences between an introductory consultation, initial screening, and formal evaluation can be confusing. However, these three steps are crucial in identifying and addressing any speech and language concerns your child may have.

Girl filling out a speech evaluation

An introductory consultation is typically the first step in the evaluation process. This involves a quick phone call with a speech therapist to discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s speech and language development. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and gather information about the therapy process. This initial consultation is usually free of charge, and it can help you decide if speech therapy is the right choice for your child.

After the introductory consultation, an initial screening may be recommended. This is a brief, informal assessment of your child’s speech sounds. The speech therapist will listen to your child speak and identify any sounds they may be struggling with. This screening typically takes around 20 minutes and is also usually free of charge. It provides the speech therapist with a basic understanding of your child’s speech abilities and helps determine if further evaluation is necessary.

If the initial screening suggests that your child may have a speech or language disorder, a formal evaluation may be recommended. A formal evaluation is a more comprehensive assessment that provides a detailed picture of your child’s speech and language abilities. This evaluation is typically conducted in a clinic, office, or home setting and may take closer to an hour to complete. Following the evaluation, a written report is provided, along with therapy goals and recommendations for treatment.

Every child’s speech development is unique, and not everyone will require speech therapy. If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language abilities, an introductory consultation is a great place to start.


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