Yesterday, I bundled Little A in his buggy and headed to the local health clinic where we were going to be meeting A's new speech and language therapist for the first time. I was pretty nervous about the whole prospect to be honest. I wondered how A would react, if the therapist would be kind and reassuring or a bit stern and unfriendly making both myself and A completely anxious. I literally had no idea what to expect from this appointment but I really needn't have worried quite so much!
Our therapist was absolutely lovely and incredibly friendly and natural with A who wasn't bothered by his surroundings at all, he just sat with the toys in the room as I went through some questions with the therapist. This is what happened, in no particular order (incase anyone reading is facing an upcoming assessment and is as clueless as I was!)
First off, you consent to your child being observed in that session and any further sessions, plus you will be asked if you consent to the therapist discussing your child if there are other concerns raised (so health visitors for example) and lastly, a consent to your child being observed in their nursery or school setting if they are in one.
A check of personal details (address, contact numbers and child's date of birth)
If they attend school or not or are due to start (A starts pre school in September)
What playgroups they attend, if any
What my concerns are (and then any following questions were tailored to my answer which was that I thought he was behind, he doesn't use sentences, we don't have conversations and he isn't able to tell me what's wrong/what he wants/if he's unwell I have no idea if there are no other symptoms etc)
Any concerns with their behaviour?
Is general health ok? Had a hearing test? Any other concerns?
Do they use bottles or dummies?
Those are the questions I remember most clearly. As I said, based on your responses you'll get other questions asked to give the therapist a clearer idea of your worries.
With questions out of the way Little A and I were left to play while the therapist listed any words or sentences she could make out. She didn't write much down I can tell you! This lasted about 10 minutes when she then joined in playing along too and interacting with A. It was concluded that A definitely doesn't appear to have any problems with his hearing, and that he clearly wanted to communicate with me but was lacking the words he needed in order to talk to me properly. She was encouraged by his positivity and enthusiasm so this was brilliant news.
After half an hour of play and observing A, I came away with some ideas and future appointments. He'll be assessed in August before school and the therapist has said she will write a report to his nursery to give them a heads up so they know he's being assessed and having some extra help, something they'll be used to. She'll observe him in school when he's settled in properly I suspect. We've been told to carry on as normal but to give him choices rather than asking him questions he can only say yes or no to. To help with any frustrations, we've been advised that learning some sign language with him would be really helpful in the mean time.
I feel really positive and happy with the outcome of our assessment. I was worried I would be made to feel guilty for doing certain things that could've hampered his development. Don't you love mum guilt? Yes he's behind but he'll be chatting with the rest of them in no time I suspect!
Right, pass me the remote, I've got some Mr Tumble to watch.