If you are considering a speech evaluation for your child who stutters, you might be curious about what a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) will do during a stuttering evaluation so you can prepare yourself and your child beforehand.
Here are some things you can expect, including what the SLP will be assessing and some questions they might ask.
The SLP may begin by asking parents questions about medical and developmental history. You will likely fill out paperwork ahead of time that addresses the majority of those questions. Be prepared to answer questions about your child’s stuttering (age of onset, if the child is aware of the stuttering, if the child reacts negatively to the stuttering, types of stuttering, etc.)
The SLP will interact with your child and observe their speech and language skills. They may have the child read a passage and assess their speech in a variety of activities. If the child is younger the assessment may be mostly play based and if they are older they might ask your child some questions that require extended responses to get a language sample of their speech. The SLP might ask the older child questions about how they feel about their speech to evaluate their attitudes and emotions about stuttering.
It also may be helpful to come with a recorded speech sample for the SLP to view. It is not uncommon for the child to be very shy during the evaluation and provide limited speech for the SLP to assess. In cases like these, it can be helpful if a parent is prepared with a video or audio sample.
Overall, the SLP is trying to obtain a language sample of your child’s speech so they can determine the percent of words or syllables stuttered. They also want to identify the types of dysfluencies your child exhibits (sound or word repetitions, blocks, prolongations) and also if there are any secondary characteristics present (does your child look away, clench their jaw, tap their feet, etc. during moments of stuttering). All of this information will be complied during the evaluation and the SLP will then make the recommendation whether or not your child should proceed with speech therapy.
-Carrie Ravine, Speech Therapist