Your child is likely to start by seeing a doctor trained in the general care and treatment of children (pediatrician) or a doctor trained in treating children with neurological conditions (pediatric neurologist). Your child will then be referred to a specialist in speech and language conditions (speech-language pathologist).
Because appointments have limited time, and because there's often a lot to talk about, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your child's appointment. Here's some information to help you and your child get ready, and what to expect from your child's doctor and speech-language pathologist.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Bring a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that your child is taking.
- Write down questions to ask your child's doctor and speech-language pathologist.
- Bring a copy of a recent progress report and individual education plan from your child's speech-language pathologist if your child has previously been seen by a speech-language pathologist.
Your time with your child's doctor or speech-language pathologist is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. For childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), some basic questions to ask the speech-language pathologist include:
- Does my child have CAS, or any other speech or language problems?
- What is CAS?
- How is CAS different from other types of speech disorders?
- Is my child's condition going to improve?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What can I do at home to help my child?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your child's doctor or speech-language pathologist, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your child's speech-language pathologist
Your child's speech-language pathologist is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to ask questions about your child's diagnosis and recommended treatment. Your child's speech-language pathologist may ask:
- When did you first have concerns about your child's speech development?
- Did your child babble? For example, did your child produce cooing sounds and then produce syllables, such as "ba-ba-ba" or "da-da-da"? If so, when did that start?
- When did your child say his or her first word?
- When did your child have five words in his or her vocabulary that he or she would use frequently?
- How many words does your child currently have in his or her vocabulary that would be understandable to most people?
- In what other ways does your child communicate? For example, does your child point, make gestures, make signs or act things out?
- Has anyone in your family had speech or language difficulties?
- Has your child had ear infections? About how many ear infections has he or she had?
- When was your child's hearing tested? Was any hearing loss detected?