What to expect: Your first visit to a speech-language pathologist

Published Date:

Has your pediatrician recently referred your child for a speech-language evaluation?

Perhaps your child was recently diagnosed with a hearing impairment, or developmental difference, or maybe your child receives services at school through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and needs additional support. 

Whatever your reasons for seeking a speech-language evaluation, it's helpful to be prepared for the first appointment. Knowing what to expect can ease any jitters and ensures the visit will be productive and make the most of your time.

Here are three things to know when scheduling an appointment.

1. We will need a referral. 

Remember: To have your child assessed by a speech-language pathologist, you'll need to get an order from your primary care doctor, advanced practice provider, or a specialist. So be sure to talk to your child's health care provider about a referral first

2. We allocate plenty of time to focus on your child.

You and your child can expect up to 90 minutes of private, one-on-one attention during your first visit. This gives us plenty of time to start getting to know each other and collect as much information as we can to develop a customized treatment plan.

The comprehensive evaluation begins with an initial intake questionnaire. This questionnaire is a great chance to discuss your child's medical and behavioral history, their current functioning, and your primary concerns. 

Depending on the reasons for your child's speech therapy referral, a variety of developmental areas may be evaluated using age-appropriate assessments, including play-based assessments. You'll be surprised by how much we can get done while still having fun!

3. We develop a comprehensive plan of care.

Our priority is to help every child feel successful in their attempts at communication. The foundation of this work is a customized plan of care that addresses each child's unique needs, accentuates their existing strengths and moves them toward their goals—whatever those goals may be!

Shortly after the initial evaluation, you can expect to receive a full report outlining recommendations and goals for future treatment. Your child's treatment plan will be fully customized and responsive to their ongoing progress and development, so we can maximize the impact of care every step of the way. 

You can also expect home program activities to help your child start working toward their goals at home as well, ensuring maximum success.

Are you looking for a speech-language pathologist?

If you are looking for a speech-language pathologist for your child, find one today at

More from SIU Blog


FAQs about an OB-GYN visit

The SIU Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology team is honored to care for women of all ages, and this May, we are celebrating Women’s Health Month with our patients, colleagues and the community. Our
teen texting

Nurturing mental wellness in a social media world: 5 essential tips for parents

In 2023, the Surgeon General issued an advisory that sounded the alarm on social media and the mental well-being of our children. According to Dr. Vivek Murthy, children say social media makes them feel worse about themselves and their friends, and yet they can’t put it down.
Telehealth Tech

5 tips to keep your virtual health info safe and private

Patient Safety Awareness Week is celebrated each March to shine a spotlight on the importance of patient safety in health care. The use of telehealth has become increasingly popular, offering