One experience in a Speech Therapy Evaluation
What to expect in a modern adult speech therapy evaluation?
Reminder: I encourage you to continue to see incremental improvements in this journey. Your evaluation and journey towards the best version of yourself can be fun. I hope you find a matching person to help you be an effective communicator. If this is what you have determined will be the best course towards your goals, I encourage you to dive in, give it your all once you are confident in the approach you are taking.
Evaluation duration will take several hours. It is important to get all your questions answered. At the end, when the therapist allows for questions, it would be a good idea to ask anything that you prepared for the evaluation or any questions you have to make sure their approach aligns with your goals. Every therapist might have their own style or different form to use in the evaluation. Therefore, they should be able to let you know their approach to therapy and why they use that particular assessment.
Some type of assessments will likely be filled out based on your feelings toward certain situations or topics around speech. They will evoke some type of emotion or feeling. It is important to answer open and honestly in order to have the best opportunity for the therapist to create a plan that will fit your needs best.
If you do not get an assessment where there are different questions about your relationship with stuttering communication, we suggest you might want to re-consider the therapist you choose, or ask the question.
In my written assessment that I filled out in the evaluation, there were 3 components: expectation, struggle, and avoidance questions.
I was given a certain scenario what were my feelings or normal actions toward expecting to stutter
I was asked my feelings or behavior around a certain type of communication struggle
Discussed events or situations that I might try to avoid because of my stutter for many reasons.
A requirement for coverage is needed that can impact the evaluator and person who stutters. Some speech language pathologists find it unfavorable to be required by the insurance companies to put a number on the level of disfluency a person might have based on their speech on a certain day. At this time, it does seem difficult to have an insurer cover speech without some number as an evaluation. It is important though as a person who stutters to not internalize this number evaluation as what level stuttering should or will affect your ability to communicate. We know that stuttering is a complex and multifaceted condition for a person that an evaluation is tough to pin down on one given day or time. I find it comforting and reassuring when a therapist provides this recognition in the evaluation so it might not affect one’s thinking after the evaluation.
Doug’s experience: I was told I had a moderate to mild stutter when I was growing up. I have held this thought ever since that evaluation because as a kid I did not have all the experience to backup one way or the other the severity of my stutter. The ideology reflected in the decisions I made as a young person. The requirement only used for the insurance component can put strain on therapist that are working to address the psychological aspects of stuttering. A therapist and person who stutters might know that the person who stutters does not need to have someone tell them they stutter. The therapist might think it is mild by definition, but the person who stutters might find it severe to their life, or vice versa. Nevertheless, the severity of stuttering gets sent as part of the evaluation for insurance to help coverage determination. The number also is sent to the Provider who wrote a prescription for speech therapy to add to the patient’s chart.
Exercise and Goals
● Every speech therapist will have different tools or techniques to complete their evaluation, but below is one example that provides thought provoking questions while helping establish needs, wants, and goals from a person who stutters.
● Do not be surprised when in the evaluation that one will participate in an exercise that will get conversations going about communication hopes. The more someone can share in the beginning, open and honestly, the more the therapist will be able to use their expertise to deliver a plan for success and know how to best work with a person who stutters.
● One example, on a scale of one being the lowest point and ten being the highest, tell me how you are if you imagine yourself at the absolute worst. Then, tell me how you are if you could imagine yourself at the absolute best.
Goals: You should come up with some goals together that are aligned. The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) should be able to help you write these with the experience they have from making goals with others. Remember to be intentional on what you want with your communication. Goals are something you will be working on the next couple of months. I encourage you to try to make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time frame)