An assessment session will typically last between 30 minutes and an hour. A Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) will usually start by talking to you about your child’s early history and development and gathering some information about your concerns. The assessment they do will look at how well your child’s speech and language skills are developing compared to what we would expect for a child of their age.

Depending on the age of your child and the type of difficulty that they have they will do a number of different tasks and activities. For some children, particularly younger ones, the assessment may be done through the SLT or parent playing alongside your child, or watching them play. This is known as ‘informal’ assessment. They will be looking at the way your child understands language, how well they are talking and which sounds they are able to use in their speech.

Sometimes an SLT will carry out a ‘formal’ assessment. This means they work with your child using a number of published assessments, many of which are standardised. Standardised tests mean that they are able to give your child a score comparing them to other children of the same age. Doing this lets them see if a child is developing, as they should be, or if their speech and language is delayed.

The SLT will then tell you how they think your child is doing, and whether they feel your child needs to get some extra help with their speech and language development. They will usually write a report about the assessment.