During your first appointment with a speech and language therapist (SALT), they will ask you lots of questions which makes up part of your child’s case history. The reason for some of these questions is obvious but others are not always that clear. Here is a quick guide to some of those that are harder to interpret.
Case History 1. Does she have any difficulties with eating or drinking?
This is a very important question and it gives the SALT lots of information about your child.
- The muscles involved in eating such as lips, jaw tongue are also involved in speech. If there is a difficulty with eating it might help to work out what is happening with your child’s speech
- If your child is VERY particular about what they eat this could be an indication of tactile defensiveness.
- If your child is choking, regurgitating, vomiting of gagging whilst eating this could be an indication of swallowing difficulties and it is important to see your GP about this and ask for a referral to ENT
Case History 2. When was her last hearing test?
- In the UK, all children are given a hearing test within the first 4 weeks of their life. This is called the Newborn Hearing Screening and you can find more information about it from the National Deaf Children’s Society . Children can develop or acquire a hearing loss later on so it is important to check your child’s hearing as they grow up.
- Your SALT will recommend going for an audiology check-up. If your child has not had one since their initial hearing screen and is presenting with speech and language difficulties it is a very standard procedure.
Case History 3. Does she get lots of colds?
- If your child is susceptible to colds they might be suffering from middle ear infections such as glue ear. Children under five are the largest group affected by glue ear though for some it can persist into adolescence.
- The middle ear behind the eardrum is normally filled with air. When a child is suffering from glue ear this cavity fills up with sticky fluid. This results in a temporary hearing loss (a bit like listening underwater ) which in turn can affect speech and language development. Look here for more information about glue ear
Case History 4. What toys does she like to play with?
This question is asked for several reasons:
- Your SALT is constantly assessing what is important to your child and how they are going to engage them in play based activities.
- The SALT will also be thinking about your child’s level of play. The type of toys they play with and the way they play with them can be an indication of their developmental level.
- For more information about levels of play check out this article from Socially Speaking.
Have you experienced any other questions you are not sure why they have asked, or you can’t seem to explain? Leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them for you