The Initial Evaluation: Getting to Know Your Child
An evaluation consists of a parent interview, observation of your child, and direct interaction and testing. This process takes approximately two hours and will include an audiology test to rule out hearing problems, unless your child has already had a recent hearing test.
During this evaluation, one of our speech-language pathologists will carefully observe your child’s behavior and play to observe any patterns that may emerge. We will assess your child’s overall communication abilities, including non-verbal communication (gestures, pointing), language (vocabulary, ability to follow directions, word combinations, sentence structure) and speech skills (articulation of sounds, how well he or she can be understood).
When we meet with you and your child, our goal is to determine whether your child’s communication skills are developing typically. If not, we will determine whether he or she is experiencing a speech problem, a language problem or a combination of both. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
- Speech is the verbal means of communication and includes articulation, voice and fluency. When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder.
- Language is the socially shared rules including what words mean, how to make new words and what word combinations are best in specific situations. When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder.
The more we learn, the more we can help
Throughout this entire process, our team is gathering all the information we can, whether it is in formal testing or while watching your child play and interact. Our job is to learn as much as we can about your child in order to support his or her needs effectively.
If additional medical attention is needed
If your child needs further evaluation, our team may suggest that he or she be referred to a medical specialist, neurologist, developmental pediatrician, or psychologist. If your child is referred, The Emerge Center will be happy – with your permission – to coordinate care with your child’s medical professionals.
Federal assistance for children under three years of age
If your child is under three years of age, he or she may be referred to the state’s EarlySteps program, which provides early intervention services for those children who qualify until they reach three years of age. Some or all of the costs associated with the treatment will be covered by EarlySteps, which provides therapies in the home or daycare settings. The Emerge Center will be happy to assist you with the referral process.
Scheduling A Speech-Language Evaluation
To schedule an evaluation for your child, please have your child’s physician fax a referral to us at (225) 343-4233. Once we receive the referral, you will receive a call from our Intake Coordinator who will gather basic information from you prior to scheduling an evaluation.
If a speech-language evaluation has been performed within the last three months by a licensed speech-language therapist, a physician referral will still be required, but we may not need to repeat the evaluation. Please fax or mail a copy of the evaluation to:
The Emerge Center
Attention: Speech-Language Services
7784 Innovation Park Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70820
A member of our team will review the evaluation, then follow up with you to discuss next steps in scheduling any appropriate services.