(I wrote the post below in June 2017, and it’s been sitting in my drafts ever since, until today!)
This is the follow up to my post ‘Mummy Musings’. If you missed it, catch up here first.
After some tardiness from the nursery and a rescheduled appointment, Nathaniel recently had an initial assessment with a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT).
There was a mix up with our appointment on the day. While waiting, I took the opportunity to feed Maia and Papa Nate gave Nate his phone to watch Paw Patrol, his favourite show.
When we entered the assessment room, the SLT asked Nate to sit on the mat and Papa Nate asked for the phone. He refused both requests. Papa Nate knelt down to Nate’s level and said firmly: “Nathaniel, you need to sit on the mat now and listen to the lady. When she finishes with you, I will give you the phone.” He reluctantly complied and the SLT took over.
The format of the assessment
The SLT sat on a mat with a box next to her. From it, she brought out toy versions of a banana, a cup, an egg and a spoon. She laid them on the floor and asked Nathaniel to point to the items as she called them.
“Which one is the banana?”
Next, she picked up a teddy bear and a doll baby. She asked him to point to the teddy bear’s eyes and the baby’s ears then feet.
The SLT then brought out some A5 sized cards which had pictures of people doing different things. She asked Nathaniel to point to the person who was sleeping; drinking; drawing and jumping.
The SLT put the cards away and brought out more toys. This time, she brought out an apple, a car, a bed. She asked:
“Which one is for driving; eating; sleeping?”
A small chair and stool-like table were then introduced along with two different sized plates, and a smaller sized egg. The SLT put the teddy bear on the chair and held the baby. She then asked a series of questions including:
“Can you put the apple under the chair?”
“Can you put the bed on the table.”
“Can you give the big egg to the teddy bear?”
“Can you put the small egg on the small plate?”
“Can you give the apple to the bear and the banana to the baby?”
“Can you make the bear jump?”
“Can you make the baby dance?”
After this, the SLT wanted to watch how Nathaniel engaged in independent play then she asked Papa Nate and I some questions about his developmental and communication milestones. (I was a bit surprised that I didn’t remember his first word or when he said it.)
Nathaniel showed understanding of what was being asked of him. He picked up the relevant items without hesitation and followed the SLT’s instructions. It was only when it came to putting items “under the chair” that he didn’t seem to follow. He either placed them on or under the table instead. At all times, the SLT praised and encouraged him.
My thoughts during the assessment
I was thankful that Maia had fallen asleep just before the assessment started. This meant I could be in the room to observe what was happening.
When the initial questions were being asked to check his understanding, I exchanged “are you serious?” looks with his dad.
As it progressed and he gave correct answers, I wondered when it would get harder. Then, when he confidently placed an apple on the table instead of “under the chair”, I wondered what the SLT was writing on her notes when she picked up her pen afterwards.
When asked, I told the SLT that I did not have any concerns as I understand my son when he speaks, and I know that children develop at different stages. I explained how the referral came about, and the reservations I had about it. However, I informed the SLT that I had since questioned whether I could be doing anything differently, and was open to recommendations the SLT may have for us.
Papa Nate agreed with me but said he felt the clarity of some of Nate’s words could be better, and that he sometimes muddled mummy with daddy (and vice versa), before correcting himself.
The SLT’s conclusion
From Nathaniel’s responses, the SLT said she did not have any concerns about his development. She said all his responses were “age appropriate”. She wasn’t concerned that he didn’t put things “under the chair” as she was testing him above his age.
The SLT commended Papa Nate for the way he had dealt with Nate at the beginning of the assessment in relation to the phone. She said the clear explanation was the best approach to take, and that she had seen many parents who would have just snatched the phone from their child.
The SLT said we should keep doing what we are doing. In response to my question about any tips she could give, she suggested extending sentences (see pictures below), and restricting screen time during set activities.
The SLT confirmed that she would write a report which would be very brief as she had no concerns. In view of this, no follow up is required so she will discharge Nate from the service.
Below are the materials we took following the assessment.
Thanks for stopping by.