What is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is an healthcare profession. It is part of healthcare jobs.
Its function is to prevent, evaluate and handle difficulties or troubles in the areas of:
• spoken and written languages, communication
• oro-myo-facial functions,
• other cognitive activities, among which the ones linked to phonation, speaking, spoken and written languages, mathematic cognition.
When to ask for a speech therapy assessment ?
• If your child was formerly under medical monitoring, and his difficulties persist,
• If the teacher reports it or if the parents themselves observe difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, articulation, comprehension, graphics, logic and reasoning, attention, memory or if the development of his language is delayed,
• That only parents understand the child or that his voice is scratched or that his swallowing is not functional (often leading to wearing braces).
Parents can contact the speech therapist for a speech and language assessment. This request for an assessment must be made by the parents themselves and requires their presence.
Check-up and follow-up implementation
An initial assessment is made by the speech therapist based on clinical observations and specific tests. Its duration depends on the explored areas, it is divided into two parts:
• an interview with the child and his family as a first step,
• tests with the child as a second step.
A written report is provided to parents within a few weeks. The decision to set up a speech therapy follow-up is made in consultation between the parents, the child and the speech therapist.
Out-of-school time sessions are preferred for pupils from CP, but are not mandatory (time-table constraints).
Parents can attend some sessions if they wish. Interviews (on request) provide an opportunity to review and inform on the follow-up.
For the youngest, parental guidance-like sessions are based on triangular work between the child, the speech therapist and the parents. By bringing advice and language stimulation attitudes, they may help to avoid future speech therapy care.
Parents will be asked to use direct contact for any information and to remember to inform the speech therapist in case of absence from the sessions.
The speech therapy handling duration may be variable according to the treated pathology: from some sessions, to several years, mentioning the significant influence of child’s and entourage’s motivation, the frequency of sessions, and regularity.
Handling and reimbursement rates are different according to insurances and the subscribed contracts. Parents are kindly requested to get information about reimbursement terms from their provider.
A medical prescription is often asked for. It may be done in any hospital, according to parents’ choice.
Elsa Le Coq et Jennifer Masri