So – you’ve decided to seek advice from a Speech and Language Therapist. Perhaps you requested an appointment from your local NHS service, or contacted an independent therapist. Regardless of how you access SaLT support, you can always expect the following.
The aim of the first session is to gain an overall impression of your child’s skills. Putting the child at ease through play and conversation is often the best way to achieve this. It’s possible to get a lot of information this way. It also establishes a good foundation to then work hard on specific tasks ensuring that the child is engaged and showing their true skills.
I go in to every session with a list of things I want to achieve, but the order of these is led by the child. If your child is keen to play, then I will start with some informal activities, to establish a positive relationship and make the most of their attention. If your child is initially shy, then this allows us time to talk first and gather information on your child’s skills.
You are the expert on your child. By talking through what you see and hear every day, we can build a much better picture of your child’s needs and how best to support. We’ll talk through his early development, and how he communicates. We’ll also discuss your hopes and concerns, to ensure that therapy targets address what is best for your family.
At the end of the appointment there will be an opportunity to talk through what we observed and discuss general support strategies. You should always leave an appointment knowing what will happen next, whether it be a summary report, a further assessment appointment, or a block of therapy.
No matter how you access SaLT support, you are the most important piece of the puzzle. You’ve taken the first step by attending an appointment, and you will always be central to what happens next.