Talking Matters Assessment

Do you want to learn more about your child's communication skills, development, their strengths and weakness and what you can do to help them develop their potential? We can provide an assessment of your child's skills in the areas of communication, physical development, their well-being, behaviour and daily living skills.

All that is needed is a phone call, fax, email or letter providing contact details to the office at Talking Matters. Our receptionist will contact parents to arrange an appointment time and ask some initial questions to determine the parent's general concerns, and how much time is likely to be needed to complete the assessment.

Parents will be asked to fill in a form with some background information which will be emailed to them in a 'Welcome Pack' so they can complete the forms and bring them to the first appointment. Parents are also asked to send in any previous reports from people involved in the child's care at least several days before the appointment if possible.

The amount of time needed for the assessment will vary depending on the age of the child and the areas of difficulty. The time needed for assessment is generally 2 hours. In some cases appointments will be spread over 2 sessions for the child's comfort.

What will happen during the assessment?

During the appointment a number of things will happen. Firstly the clinician will review any information the parents have brought along such as reports from other professionals such as doctors, speech pathologists, psychologists, occupational therapists or teachers. Parents will have the opportunity to explain their concerns and what they have observed about their child's communication and learning. Then the clinician may ask parents some questions so they can better understand the child's skills and challenges. The child usually has a toy or activity provided during this first part of the session. This time also helps the child to feel comfortable enough to settle into some more structured activities after the parent interview.

Children who are capable then typically complete a formal assessment which is chosen based on the information provided to the clinician. There are different tests that will be used depending on what the concerns are. Formal assessments provide scores and a way to measure abilities in the tested areas. Formal assessments follow strict guidelines about how the tasks are to be completed so that the child's results can be compared with the results of same aged peers. The child is given encouragement and short breaks when needed until the activities are completed.

Sometimes children are not able to complete a formal assessment and an informal assessment is completed. This happens most often when children are not yet developmentally able to complete the formal assessment. In these cases the child is provided with a range of toys or activities and the clinician will collect information in a range of ways. They may observe the child playing and interacting with their family, may interact with the child if they child is comfortable to do so, and the clinician will also collect information from the child's parent. The information collected is then compared to developmental information about what is expected in a child of this specific age.

Parents usually stay in the room for both types of assessment and see for themselves how their child managed the activities. At the end of the session the clinician typically will provide some feedback to families about how they feel the child went even though formal tests often need to be scored after the session. Often parents are concerned about their child's ability to concentrate to complete an assessment. Clinicians are skilled at working with a variety of children and have a range of strategies they use to help make the process as successful as it can be. Parents can feel confident that the speech pathologist, occupational therapist or psychologist can manage the situation and will work with parents to make the experience as positive as possible for all concerned.

What will happen after the assessment?

When the assessment is completed the family and clinician will discuss whether a full written report is required and will outline options and costs of the various options. The reports take some time to prepare with most reports being provided 2 weeks after the assessment is completed. If the child requires therapy, options will be discussed with parents so they can decide what will work best for their child and family. Regular feedback and suggestions for practice at home will be provided while the child is receiving therapy. Therapy sessions are designed to be fun and engaging as children learn the best when they are motivated to participate.

If you would like further information or to make a booking, please contact us by phoning (08) 8255 7137 or send us an email enquiry to arrange an appointment. We are also happy to answer any further questions you may have about booking an assessment.