How to Prepare for Your Appointment with the Speech Language Pathologist

When you meet with the Speech Language Pathologist for your scheduled appointment, she will ask you some questions about your child’s development. In particular, she will want to know about your child’s speech and language development.

You can prepare for these questions by listening and watching your child in the days that lead up to your appointment. The Speech Language Pathologist will ask for examples from the questions listed below.

Choose at least two different times to sit and watch your child communicate. Familiar activities such as bath time, mealtime, playtime, looking at books, or getting ready to go outside are good opportunities for lots of communication. You may find it easier if you have someone to be with your child while you write down some notes. You may also want to keep your notes on the fridge and add to them as you see, hear or notice new things.

1. How does your child get his/her message across?

Many children are very good communicators without using even one word! If your child is not using any words (or just a few words), describe what your child does to let you know what he/she wants or needs. Try to record as many different gestures, sounds, part-words, or actions that your child uses. Remember! A mispronounced word still counts as a word that your child uses!

If your child uses more words, listen and write down the words, phrases or sentences that you hear. Be sure to write them down the same way that you hear them. For example, if your child uses grammatical or pronunciation errors, try your best to write the errors down too. Many children use gestures and body language in addition to sentences to help get their message across. Try to make note of this kind of information too.

2. How easy is it for you to understand your child’s speech?

The Speech Language Pathologist will ask some questions to get a sense of how your child uses speech sounds. Write down some examples to have ready for your conversation with the Speech Language Pathologist. The following questions will help you to prepare:

  • Does your child replace some sounds with other sounds eg. child says “Tan I doe” for “Can I go?”
  • Does your child drop any sounds from words eg. child says “daw” for “dog” or “ock” for “sock”
  • What percentage of your child’s speech do you understand? What about people who are less familiar with your child?
  • How often do you have to ask your child to repeat what he/she has said? Do you usually understand the second time?

Some parents will be asked to complete a Speech Sound Activity sheet. This is a blue sheet that is sent to you prior to the appointment with the Speech Language Pathologist. Please complete the activity with your child, and mail it back to Early Words in the envelope provided, before your appointment with the Speech Language Pathologist. If you have not mailed it to Early Words, please bring the completed activity sheet to your appointment with the Speech Language Pathologist.

3. How are your child’s understanding skills?

Try asking your child to perform the following tasks before the appointment with the Speech Language Pathologist. These tasks will help you prepare for the questions about your child’s comprehension skills. Ask your child the directions listed below, and make a note of how your child responded. Write down anything you did to make things easier for your child. For example, did you add any gestures such as pointing? Did you repeat your instruction? How many times did you repeat yourself?

Ask your child to:

  • Point to a few different body parts
  • Go to another room to get a familiar object such as a book, or a ball, etc.
  • Follow a one-step instruction eg. “Give me the book”
  • Follow a two-step instruction eg. “Go get your cup and give it to Gramma”
  • Go look under the couch
  • Look behind him/herself
  • Identify some colors eg. “Show me blue”, etc.

Do not be concerned if your child cannot follow all the directions suggested above. Some of these tasks may not be appropriate for someone of your child’s age. Do not push your child to respond if he/she is not interested. Your child may not follow through on the task for many possible reasons. Try giving the instructions on a different day.

4. Complete, sign and witness the Consent Form

Please complete/sign the yellow consent form sent to you.

  • Have someone (e.g. relative or friend) sign the form as a witness to your signature.
  • Return the completed form to Early Words by mailing it in the envelope provided.
  • If you have not mailed it to Early Words, please bring it to your appointment with the Speech Language Pathologist.


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