Frequently Asked Questions
I am not sure if my child has a speech and/or language problem, what should I do?
There are general milestones that children reach at each developmental stage. Although there is a wide range of what skills are ‘normal’ for each stage, a general guideline of communication skills for what we expect for a young child is available here. You should consider an intial consultation with the Speech-Language Pathologist if you have any questions or concerns.
At what age should I refer my child to a SLP?
You can refer a child at any age. There are established criteria for what is expected in communication growth from infancy. The clinic sees a lot of toddlers which is a great age to consult about a child as a baseline measure of that child is established and then that child can be monitored over time to determine the growth of speech and language skills.
What will happen at the initial consultation?
A Registered Speech-Language Pathologist (RSLP) will meet with the child and parent(s). A screening of speech, language and communication skills will be conducted through informal assessment and formal assessment when appropriate. A discussion of the areas of strength and weakness will occur. A consultation report may be given to you at this session highlighting areas of strength, concern and recommendations. If a significant concern is identified at the initial consultation, then assessment sessions will be recommended so that comprehensive testing can be undertaken.
Is home therapy available?
Yes, home therapy is available. A fee is available on request: rate varies depending on travel time required.
Coverage for costs of therapy?
Most extended health benefits cover a portion of therapy; amounts of therapy covered are specific to each plan and each family is encouraged to determine what their coverage would be. Some families MAY be eligible for funding through the government or through private organizations. The government programs we typically work with include: Autism Funding Unit (AFU) and At Home Program, School-Aged Extended Therapies. Some private organizations that families access include: CKNW, Variety, and President’s Choice.
How often will you see my child if therapy is required?
The frequency of therapy will be determined by the SLP in conjunction with the family. Therapy is dependent on the need of the child, the request of the family, and availability. The amounts of therapy at the clinic vary: some children attend weekly, some twice a week and a few come three times per week. Other children attend every second week.
Does the parent participate in sessions?
We encourage parents to be present during the initial consultation when the screening takes place of speech and language skills. During regular therapy, we welcome parents to be an active participant in all sessions to the degree that they are comfortable. Some parents will participate in the latter portion of therapy sessions so that they are fully aware of the targets taught during the session and what the expectation is for homework. Our general philosophy is that parents are always welcome to join in or observe any session.
My 15-Month Old Child Isn't Saying Any Words, Should I Worry?
I recently wrote about my daughter not speaking at 15 months old in my “Mom at Home” Column. Today I received an email from a reader who provided me with some very valuable information about when a child should speak – what the norm is and what you can expect. She is a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist located in White Rock.
It is so hard to know what is normal and what is abnormal when you try to compare your child’s development with another child or sibling. (I did this with my son as he was an early talker – and found it quite distressing that my daughter wasn’t saying anything). With the Pathologist’s permission, I have attached her information, in hopes that it will help other moms out there determine if there is a problem with their child’s speech development.
What parents need to know is that there certainly are some markers that we look for in speech and language development, for example, first words typically are spoken at 12 mos. A vocabulary ‘spurt’ is expected at 18 mos where children rapidly learn new words, in fact, they can be learning a new word per day or more!
At 2 years, we expect to see the beginning of word combinations which is two words in a tiny sentence like ‘eat cookie’ ‘go bye-bye’. Having said this, there is also a very wide range of what is still within the realm of normal development as not all kids follow this ‘textbook’ scenario of development (in fact none of my three did and they are all excellent oral communicators at 5,7 and 8 years).
What we as specialists in communication try to determine is if a child is within the wide expectations of these developmental norms, and along with it, we need to determine if the child’s comprehension of oral language is on target as often it is a very good predictor of when a child will begin to talk.
I thought your article was timely given that May is ‘Speech and Hearing Month’ and if parents have concerns about their child’s speech and/or language development they should contact a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist. This can either be through the public sector (although waiting lists are months long) or through the private sector (the Association holds a roster at www.bcaslpa.bc.ca)
Petulla M. Dedish