How to Prepare for a Speech-Language Pathology Session

Speech@NYU professor Alicia Morrison takes a collaborative approach with parents during a child’s first visit so that parents can anticipate what comes next.

What to Expect

  1. A parent or guardian completes a case history form that details background information about the child’s medical history.
  2. Parents fill out a communication rating scale to explain how they feel about their child’s communication.
  3. The speech-language pathologist meets with the child for an evaluation.

What the Evaluation Assesses

Receptive communication: understanding words and languageExpressive communication: use of spoken language to convey intention, thoughts, needs, and wantsPlay interactions: joint interactions with familiar and unfamiliar people and objectsAugmentative and alternative communication: all forms of communication that are used to express intention, thoughts, needs, and wantsPragmatic skills: how a person communicates functionally and sociallyFluency: the rhythm, speed, and repetitive sounds of speechVoice: characteristics of voice, such as quality, loudness, and intonation

Quote from Professor Alicia Morrison, MA, CCC-SLP-TSSLD

“A team approach should be developed very early on. It’s not just what’s happening in the therapy room: It’s about what’s happening all around the child and their environment.”

What to Bring

  • the contact information for and feedback from the physician who referred the child
  • a toy or object that provides comfort to the child
  • a list of words or sounds that the child produces frequently
  • an audio or video recording of the child speaking
  • a list of common scenarios in which the child is trying to communicate, accompanied by typical responses from the parent or guardian
  • a snack and a drink preferred by the child for feeding and swallowing evaluation
  • specific questions for the SLP to answer

Next Steps


The trajectory of speech-therapy interventions depends on the child’s development. There’s no exact amount of time that applies to every client.


Speech-language pathologists take time to analyze information gleaned from the evaluation and will contact parents once the analysis is complete.


Parents and guardians can expect to walk away from the first session with strategies for communicating effectively at home.