Scheduling an evaluation is the first step to getting speech-language, feeding, oral motor or occupational therapy for your child.
We start every child with a comprehensive evaluation. Evaluations show us where the root of the problem lies and how serious the problem is. They also help us get to know your little one so that if treatment is necessary, we can better personalize the treatment plan.
Before your initial appointment with us, there are a few forms to fill out regarding your child’s overall health, symptoms and areas of concern, and insurance information. (We’re in the Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicaid networks. Other providers may reimburse you for treatment.)
To save time, we recommend completing these forms before your appointment. You can access them here.
If you have test results, clinical notes, audiograms, x-rays or brain scans from your child’s pediatrician or another specialist, plan on bringing them with you to your first appointment. Having this information keeps us from running duplicate tests, and makes it easier for us to coordinate treatments with your child’s other healthcare providers, as applicable.
On your first visit, you’ll meet one of our speech-language pathologists, who will perform your child’s evaluation. Be prepared to discuss your child’s condition and symptoms at length. After reviewing the child’s complete medical history, we’ll start the evaluation. We go out of our way to keep testing simple and pleasant for children. Young children’s evaluations will involve lots of playtime!
Evaluations vary depending on the child’s condition and symptoms, but most begin with a language sample, where we gauge pragmatic language development based on interactions with toys or parents. For children who are old enough, standardized speech and language testing follows, which helps us understand the child’s auditory processing abilities. If oral motor testing is required, we may observe a feeding session during the evaluation. When you schedule the appointment, our office staff will give you specific information on your evaluation so you know what to expect when you walk through our doors.
At the end of this first visit, we’ll share findings and test results with you, and present a preliminary plan for therapy. We will follow up with a formal report detailing the final results of the evaluation and a more specific version of the therapy plan.
Your therapy recommendation will include items like how often therapy sessions are recommended, what we’ll do during sessions, what our initial goals will be and how we’ll determine future goals.
Plans vary dramatically because the needs of our patients vary. In some cases, children who come in for testing don’t need treatment or only have a couple of sessions recommended – this is often the case with late bloomers whose development pace is still in a healthy range. Many children can benefit greatly from visiting us for an hour a week or every other week, for the duration of a few weeks or months. Children with more profound developmental, neurological or cognitive delays benefit the most from longer and/or more frequent sessions, extending months or years. The only accurate way to determine the type of therapy program a child needs is to perform a thorough evaluation.
Every therapy plan is goal-oriented and personalized for the child. Personalization includes matching each child with the speech-language pathologist and/or occupational therapist who’s best suited to help your child achieve the program’s goals. Therapists stay with their patients for the duration the program.
When your child comes in for their first session, you’ll know exactly what activities they’ll be doing and what the goals and expectations of each session are. You’ll also have a good understanding of how to bring therapy lessons home so your child can spend the time between sessions practicing what they’ve learned at Carlin Speech.
We schedule treatment plan reviews based on the progression of goal completions. Children who are rapidly reaching goals may have their programs reviewed every couple of months, while those who are more challenged to hit milestones may stay in the same program for a year. We re-evaluate our patients annually.