When seeing an SLP, one can expect the following to occur over a series of appointments:
Prior to or during the first visit, the client may be asked to complete any required paperwork. The SLP will ask questions to obtain information regarding the client’s medical history, developmental milestones, as well as strengths and concerns regarding communication or feeding/swallowing skills.
If a person is identified as being at risk for a communication or swallowing problem, assessment/evaluation will be completed prior to determining a diagnosis. Assessment may be formal, using standardized testing tools, or informal, which could include observing the client and/or interacting with them during conversations, play, etc., depending upon their age.
Upon completion of the assessment/evaluation, the SLP will formulate a diagnosis and work with the client, as required, to develop a care plan and treatment goals. Further SLP appointments will focus on working toward achievement of the treatment goals.
As a means of determining the need for more in-depth assessment/evaluation, screening activities may be completed by the SLP, by an assistant under the SLP’s supervision, or by another professional. Screening is typically short in duration and may consist of completing a questionnaire.
Increasingly, in educational settings, SLPs may also be found working collaboratively with teachers and other staff, providing them with universal communication strategies that will benefit many children in the classroom.