Q: What is an assessment for?
A: An assessment allows the speech-language pathologist to describe your child’s strengths and weaknesses and to compare their performance to that of other children of their age or grade level. An assessment also permits the speech-language pathologist to determine if therapy is indicated and to identify the therapeutic approaches that would help your child perform better.
Q: Can’t I just describe my child’s difficulties to the speech-language pathologist and show her my child’s report card instead of having an assessment?
A: The speech-language pathologist will spend time asking you questions about how your child communicates and performs at home and at school. However, it is also important to know what the child can do using more objective measures.
Q: What do you mean by objective measures?
A: During the assessment your child will be asked to participate in many different ways, such as answering questions, naming or pointing to pictures, following directions, telling or re-telling short stories, saying sounds, reading words, writing sentences etc. Some of these activities will be videotaped.
The speech-language pathologist will then compare your child’s performance with that of a large group of other children their age. This tells us more accurately at which age, grade or developmental level your child usually performs. So when the speech-language pathologist reports to you about the results of the assessment, it is not just her opinion. The assessment results in objective test scores and information to explain your child’s performance and compare him or her to other children their age.
Q: How long will I have to wait for my child to get assessed?
A: We are typically able to schedule an assessment appointment right away. Clinicians at the Montreal Fluency Centre keep a regular assessment time available in order to offer this service in a timely manner.
Q: How much time does an assessment take?
A: The length of the assessment depends on the child’s needs and age. You and your child will meet with the speech-language pathologist anywhere from 1-5 hours. You could be asked to come to the clinic more than once to ensure your child is rested and ready to do their best each time.
Q: Why are assessments more expensive than the hourly rate?
A: Assessments take more of the speech-language pathologist’s time than just the time spent with you and your child. The tests need to be scored and analyzed. Often what your child says during play and story-telling needs to be carefully written down from the video tape so that their spontaneous language can be analyzed. The speech-language pathologist may also need to spend time calling or meeting with teachers, resource teachers, aides, or daycare providers. After all this information is collected, a complete report will be written. This report will provide the evidence required to set treatment goals, make recommendations for home and school and measure the effectiveness of treatment. The total cost of the assessment reflects the time required to do all of these tasks.
Q: Can I get any help to pay for the assessment?
A: The Montreal Fluency Centre is pleased to offer financial assistance to help reduce the costs of assessment and treatment. Any family is welcome to apply for financial assistance by asking our Intake Coordinator for a bursary application. She can be reached at (514) 489-4320, ext 237. Families who qualify may be eligible for a reduction of up to 50% of the assessment fee.
Q: Why does a report have to be written?
A: By professional law protecting the public, a speech-language pathologist is obliged to produce a written account of any assessment conducted. In addition to this professional obligation, at the Montreal Fluency Centre we believe that such documentation provides valuable information to parents and educators about the child’s current skills, where the child requires support, the type of support which would be most useful and how to objectively measure a child’s progress.
Q: If my child has received a speech-language pathology assessment somewhere else, can they start treatment at the Montreal Fluency Centre?
A: If your child has been assessed by a qualified speech-language pathologist within the past 12 months, and you can provide a written report containing objective test scores and/or developmental information, your child may be eligible to start treatment right away. If you contact us more than 12 months after the assessment occurred, the assessment information may no longer be an accurate reflection of your child’s skill levels and needs, and a new assessment will be required. For school-aged children, we may be able to begin treatment based on assessments that are up to 2 years old, depending on the academic profile and needs of the child. In some cases, your child may need a particular assessment or screening in order to determine if they are suitable for a specialized group program.
Q: My child has already had a psychological assessment, so why do I need an assessment by a speech-language pathologist?
A: Psychologists and speech-language pathologists often collaborate to offer the best service to some children. However, their areas of expertise are different. A psychologist will perform some tests looking at children’s verbal skills, but it is not in their scope of practice to assess the child’s language skills in detail. The speech-language pathologist is the professional specifically trained to evaluate all aspects of your child’s speech and/or language ability. A psychologist may refer children for a speech and language assessment if their testing indicates that language problems may be at the root of a child’s academic or social problems. In turn, the speech-language pathologist may recommend a psychological assessment if they suspect a child’s problem may be broader than just speech and/or language.
Q: Does every speech-language pathologist at the Montreal Fluency Centre do an assessment in the same way?
A: At the Montreal Fluency Centre we have spent years developing our assessment protocols and procedures. For each kind of assessment, the tests, activities, procedures for analysis and report formats are well-established and described. Each speech-language pathologist using an assessment protocol is clinically informed and trained in its use. In addition, as a clinic, we research new assessment tools and techniques on an ongoing basis, and work to improve our reports and written recommendations so that we can continue to offer the best services to children and their families.
Q: Can any child with a communication problem be assessed at the Montreal Fluency Centre?
A: Most children with communication problems can be evaluated at the Montreal Fluency Centre. However, in some cases it is not appropriate for us to do the assessment. The code of professional ethics for speech-language pathologists states that a clinician should not offer professional services outside of their scope of practice or expertise. Sometimes a child’s particular needs are outside of the scope of practice of the clinicians at the Montreal Fluency Centre. However, anyone is welcome to call and obtain an appointment to speak with a speech-language pathologist. We are happy to try to help clarify if we can be of service to you and your child. In some cases, a speech-language pathologist will review the existing information on a child with the relevant clinical team in order to make a decision about whether we are able to offer the services your child requires. In every case, we will do our best to refer you to the most appropriate agency if we cannot assess your child at the Montreal Fluency Centre.
Q: If my child is assessed at the Montreal Fluency Centre and they need therapy, how long will it take for therapy to start?
A: We are typically able to start therapy right away. There may be a longer wait time depending on your scheduling flexibility and the availabilities of the most appropriate clinicians for your child’s needs.
Q: How can I arrange an assessment?
A: You can set up an assessment by Opening a file or emailing our Intake Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org She will ask you a series of questions to help determine which kind of assessment is appropriate for your child. She will also be able to answer any questions you may have, as well as offer you an assessment appointment time.
You can download the above Assessment FAQs here.