Frequently Asked Questions
Does my child need speech therapy?
We know that every child develops at his or her own rate. However, we can expect typically developing children to gain specific communication skills by a certain age.
For example, by one year of age we expect children to understand their primary language well enough to respond to their name consistently, understand words for familiar objects and people in their environment (such as “Mommy” or “ball”), respond to simple words such as “no” and to show interest in songs and books.
By one year of age, we expect typically developing children to use gestures to communicate (such as shaking their head “no” or pointing with their index finger to something they want) as well as to share an experience (such as showing an object to someone, or pointing to something interesting, then looking at the person to whom they are showing it). We expect children who are turning one year old to babble frequently using several different consonant and vowel sounds, and we expect them to use 1-2 words spontaneously, such as “Dada” or “Bye.”
By two years of age, we expect typically developing children to point to several body parts when asked to do so, point to familiar objects in pictures when asked to do so, follow 1-step directions, such as “Get the ball” or “Push the car,” and understand simple questions, such as, “Where’s your bear?” and “Are you hungry?” By two years of age, we expect typically developing children to be able to use words to request specific things they may want, and to combine words into 2-word phrases, such as “more juice” or “play car.”
You may explore other developmental milestones by using this link: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/chart/
When children begin to demonstrate delays of at least 25% in understanding language or in communicating, we may consider initiating speech-language therapy.
What is the evaluation process?
The first step in the evaluation process is calling to schedule an evaluation. Evaluations generally last between 1-1 ½ hours. During the initial evaluation, the clinician will ask about your specific concerns regarding your child’s speech and/or language skills, as well as any other developmental concerns you may have about your child. She will also ask about your child’s health and developmental history. Once these questions have been answered, the clinician will begin to interact more directly with your child. Depending on your child’s age, the clinician may bring out toys to play with to develop a basic rapport with your child, or may engage your child in casual conversation. She will then transition into formal assessment of your child by completing standardized testing in order to be able to compare your child’s performance with other children within his or her age range. During all activities, the clinician will note how well your child is able to communicate, whether through words, gestures, or body language, how well he or she follows directions and understands what is being said, and how well he or she plays with age-appropriate toys and engages in simple interactions. The clinician will also evaluate, using a standardized test of articulation and/or clinical observations, how well your child is able to produce single sounds, syllables, words, or complete sentences, and how well your child moves her articulators (her jaw, lips, and tongue) while doing so.
Once the clinician has completed her evaluation, she will share her clinical opinion about how your child performed, and any concerns she might have regarding your child’s communication skills. She will typically provide recommendations regarding services at that time.
How long will speech-language therapy last?
The duration of speech-language therapy is different for every child. Factors that may influence the length of time in therapy include the severity of the speech and/or language delay, the child’s language comprehension skills, the child’s willingness to accept adult direction, follow through of carryover strategies by the child’s caregivers, and other developmental or health issues your child may be experiencing. Your child’s abilities will be informally assessed every 6 months, and a complete reevaluation of your child’s speech and language skills will be completed on a yearly basis.
How much will the speech-language evaluation and speech-language therapy cost?
The cost of the initial evaluation as well as ongoing speech-language therapy sessions will depend in part on your child’s health insurance plan. If you are unsure whether your health insurance plan covers the initial speech-language evaluation or ongoing speech-language therapy, it is highly recommended that you speak with your human resources representative, or call you health insurance carrier directly. Some plans may cover speech-language therapy only under certain circumstances, so be sure to ask what exclusions may apply to coverage of services.
Sunshine Speech does accept private pay clients. You may call to obtain the current rates for the initial speech-language evaluation and speech-language therapy.