preparing for your visit
At Dayton Children’s we will work closely with you to ensure your experience in our speech and language clinic is a smooth and enjoyable one. Many times patients who need speech services will also be seeing other rehabilitative services at Dayton Children’s. In most cases we are able to provide a coordinated schedule so that your child can see all of their therapists on the same day.
All patients must first receive a referral from their primary care physician or a specialist before coming to see a speech and language therapist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. After we receive the referral you will be contacted by central scheduling to schedule an initial evaluation. We encourage all patients who have been referred for a speech or language evaluation to also visit our Audiology department for a hearing test. We can work closely with the family to offer back-to-back evaluations for these services.
your first appointment
During your child’s first appointment, both the child and parent or guardian will take part in the evaluation. We encourage patients to come well rested, fed and to bring a favorite toy or book to provide a sense of comfort and familiarity during their evaluation.
In order to get acquainted with the family, the therapist will ask the parent or guardian a number of questions about the child such as:
- When did your child meet certain milestones (crawl, walk, talk or make noises, eat etc…)?
- How does the child interact and communicate with others at home?
- Is there any family history of a speech, language or hearing problem?
- Does your child experience frustration due to the inability to communicate?
- What have you tried at home to help your child with their communication skills?
- What are your concerns about your child?
The speech therapist will then evaluate the child using techniques based upon their age. This may include observing them during play or interacting with others. For older children, a more formal test may be conducted in order to evaluate their abilities. The therapist is looking for the child’s ability to understand and use language and their ability to speak clearly and use language that is appropriate for their age.
After the evaluation is complete, the therapist will determine whether further speech or language therapy is necessary. A treatment plan will be developed and additional appointments will be scheduled for the patient. In some cases, we will refer you to other community resources if necessary. We can also work closely with your child’s school speech programs and will help you in evaluating financial assistance for services not covered by insurance.
ongoing speech therapy
For patients who need ongoing speech therapy, the therapist will develop functional goals alongside the parent using evidence-based therapy methods. We will modify these goals as needed throughout the therapy process. If your child is receiving therapy services at their school, we can coordinate with the school therapist on the child’s goals. As the parent or guardian you can also request for us to give input into your child’s IEP or IFSP.
At Dayton Children’s we believe that the parent or guardian is a critical member of the child’s care team. It is important that they work with the child on their speech goals at home between their appointments. The therapist will ensure that they have the knowledge and resources to do so.
During your appointment the therapists may use a variety of strategies, including:
- Language intervention activities: The therapist will interact with a child by playing and talking, using pictures, books, objects, or ongoing events to stimulate language development.
- Articulation therapy: Articulation, or sound production, exercises involve having the therapist model correct sounds and syllables for a child, often during play activities. The therapist will physically show the child how to make certain sounds, such as the "r" sound, and may demonstrate how to move the tongue to produce specific sounds.
- Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy: The therapist will use a variety of oral exercises — including facial massage and various tongue, lip, and jaw exercises — to strengthen the muscles of the mouth. The therapist also may work with different food textures and temperatures to increase a child's oral awareness during eating and swallowing.