If your child attends a preschool or daycare, you most likely have received a form in their backpack for a speech screening. Usually a local speech therapist is going to provide the screening at your child’s school for a small fee. It sounds easy enough, so should your child be screened? If you are not sure, you can ask yourself these questions to help make the decision:
- Is my child understood by people outside of our family?
- Does my child use a variety of words to communicate?
- Can my child answer questions using words?
- Does my child initiate interaction with other children?
- Is my child frustrated with any of the things above?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the last thing that you can ask yourself is “What will it hurt to have my child screened?”. The answer to that should be “ABSOLUTELY NOTHING”!
If you have a suspicion that your child’s speech or language my be delayed in any way, it won’t hurt anything to have a speech therapist screen his or her speech. What you can gain from a speech screening could far outweigh the small fee (and in some cases it can be free).
What can you learn from your child’s speech screening?
The first thing that you can learn is that no concern is too small. Many parents just like to know if their child is “on track” with their speech and language development. A screening is a quick and easy way to ease your concerns without having to go through a full speech and language evaluation.
Secondly, if your concern is warranted, then you have taken the first steps towards getting your child the help that he or she may need. A screening can give you a glimpse at some of the language issues or speech sounds that your child may have difficulty with. What more, you will be able to find out what the next steps are in the process of having your child evaluated by a speech therapist.
Lastly, you get to make a connection with a speech therapist which can be a very valuable benefit. A speech therapist that screens your child can provide you with great information about your child’s specific speech and language skills. The therapist can tell you how many words your child should be using, if he or she should be trying to combine words into sentences and what sounds he or she should or should not be saying at their age.
If your child’s school or daycare is offering speech screenings…
then you should ask who will be conducting the screenings. At a minimum, your child’s receptive and expressive language skills (including vocabulary, grammar, ability to follow verbal directions and answer questions) as well as speech sound analysis should be a part of the screening. Some therapists offer hearing screenings in addition to the speech screening. It is very helpful if your child’s teacher can provide information about his or her communication skills in the classroom as well.
What do you do with the results of the screening?
Most importantly, when you receive the results of your child’s speech screening, make a point to ask any questions that you may have. The therapist may provide a phone consultation for you to be able understand the findings of the screening and what they mean for your child. It is important that you understand what the issues may be and how they may impact your child’s continued development. If the recommendation of the screening is for a full speech and language evaluation, talk with the therapist about the process and what steps need to be taken next.
Let the screening be your jump start to helping your child be the best that they can be!
If you are interested in having your child’s speech screened or you think that your child’s school or daycare could benefit from a school wide speech screening, you can contact Robyn or Brook to set that up. We will come to your child’s school or daycare to provide the service. And remember, no question or concern is too small!
Robyn Drothler and Brook Todd are both speech therapists with separate companies. Connect with them and learn more.