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Children's Stammering Therapy: Your First Visit

Find out what to expect if you're taking your child to see a speech and language therapist.

Have you booked a speech & language therapy appointment for your child? If you have, you might be wondering what's involved. Here we tell you what's likely to happen and give you some suggestions for things to do before you go.

Putting you at ease

Your first speech & language therapy session may be in a clinic, school, nursery or even your home. Wherever it's held, therapists want to make you and your child feel comfortable. They know that not all children are confident talking with new people in an unfamiliar place. In the session there will usually be toys or games for your child to play with to help them feel more relaxed. They also know that parents are often worried, so they'll aim to put you at ease too.

Speech & Language Therapist Jenny Packer from Essex NHS Trust makes this suggestion: 

"Before the appointment, it can help to tell your child you are going to meet someone who knows a lot about talking. And that they will have toys to play with. You could ask your child to choose a favourite cuddly toy to take to show them."

During the Session

The first session with a speech & language therapist is all about finding out about you and your child. They may ask you questions while your child plays with toys or games. Overall, they want to find out how stammering links with other aspects of your child's development. 

Then they'll chat with your child. While they're doing this, they'll review your child's speech and language skills. They'll do this through observation, conversation, formal assessment and play. This gives them the chance to listen to your child's speech in a range of different situations. For instance, reading or describing a picture. Or asking about something which happened in the past. 

They'll also want to find out what your child thinks about their speech. They may ask if there is anything they are worried about or want help with. If appropriate, they may also talk to your child about what they would like to work on in any therapy sessions. 

End of the first session

The therapist will then: 

  • explain to you what they've noticed about your child's communication 
  • talk through the different factors that are impacting on their stammer 
  • give you ideas about helping to make it easier to talk at home
  • tell you if speech & language therapy input is recommended
  • answer any questions you might have.

If your child was seen in school or nursery, you may not have been in the session. If not, then the therapist should speak to you afterwards so that you can find out the next steps. They may also talk with staff who work with your child to find out more about what they are like when in school/nursery.

If you'd like to chat with us about any of the above, call our free helpline on 0808 802 0002. Or start a webchat

For more details about what children's speech & language therapy covers, see Children's Stammering Options Explained.

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