Written by: Tara Gray, M.A., CCC-SLP
Parents sometimes come to our center with concerns about their child’s speech and/or language and want to jump right into treatment, but the first step is one of the most important ones: the evaluation! Evaluations are a crucial tool in our clinical tool belt and they help us in many ways!
First and foremost, evaluations provide us, as clinicians, a chance to meet you and your child, get to know a little bit about your family, understand your child’s relevant medical or treatment/therapy history, review previous assessment information, and learn about the concerns that brought you to our center.
We then use a combination of tools during our evaluations. These can vary depending on the age of your child, what concerns you have, and what information we are looking for. Often, though, it includes formal tests of speech sounds and language skills, conversation with the child, play interactions, informal observations of your child, rapport building, and discussion/interview with you (the parents or caregivers).
These tools provide valuable information we need to justify (or rule out) the need for treatment. Evaluations are needed for insurance, informing treatment, continuing treatment, and collaboration with other professionals.
- In order to have insurance cover treatment, an initial evaluation is required to determine the need for treatment. We write and submit evaluation reports based on the tools we use during our evaluation to explain this need to insurance. These evaluation reports help insurance to see the areas of need and how we plan to meet those needs.
- When we begin treatment here at Small Talk, we always start with a plan. Having a clear picture of your child’s area(s) of needs will help us to clarify and fine-tune that plan appropriately.
- For some insurances, re-evaluations will be required to ensure your child continues to require speech-language pathology services. In this case, evaluations will be used, as appropriate, to justify the need for continued treatment covered by insurance.
- When physicians refer patients to us, it is helpful for us to share the evaluation information with them in return. This assists physicians to better understand referral criteria and identify the need for speech in the future. Additionally, it keeps them informed of where their referral led and helps them understand your child’s specific needs. Evaluations also provide valuable information we can use to collaborate with other speech-language pathologists and professionals as needed or requested.
Evaluations are a key step in the speech and language treatment process. If you have concerns about your child’s speech intelligibility, speech progress, expressive or receptive language skills, or overall communication please reach out to schedule your evaluation today.