How you can help with your child’s Assessment
|Whether it is a Speech, Occupational or Joint SLT/OT Assessment you are coming for, the CATTS Assessments use Standardised Tools to help paint an overall picture to serve as a basis for therapy.
As such, often during the administration of the assessment itself, though you may want to help or assist your child with the task, we would ask that you please do not. The Assessment is not a method to ‘catch them out’, but purely to evaluate their skills, compared to worldwide norms. This allows the therapy team to identify where best to focus first, and to allow measures to show improvement.
There are several things however, which you can do to assist your child, the therapist, and you, when coming for assessment. These tips are written with CATTS assessments in mind, however it holds true for any therapy service.
Though we try to accommodate a time that suits both the parent, and the therapists, often, on the day, it can be a nervous experience for you and your child. Especially if this is your first time coming for therapy. To help ease things for you, some parents have found the following tips useful. (Please use your own judgement based on your child’s age and personality on what may work best for them.)
- In the days before the first session, talk to your child about what will be happening. It helps to frame it in their viewpoint. A lot of times, from the child’s point of view, they go into room where a nice man or woman plays games with them, and asks them to run, jump, etc. It can be fun.
- Usually, with the CATTS method, you will know the name of the therapist you will be seeing. Please use it with your child in conversation, e.g. “On Tuesday afternoon, you will go and play with Jennifer. You will have lots of fun.”
- Use photos. Our Meet the Team section has a picture of each therapist. Please feel free to print off your therapist’s picture to show your child in advance, so they will see a familiar face when they arrive.
- If you are unfamiliar with the venue, please check out our locations link to ensure you know how to get there easily on the day. If you have a question, or are unsure, please contact your therapist beforehand.
- Finally, try to make sure that you are prepared. Read up on some of the Useful Information on this site, or check some of the tips and techniques from our Facebook Page, or Pinterest, or browse some of the information on the National organisation such as AOTI or IASLT. The more comfortable you are with everything, the more your child will pick up on your cue, and follow suit.
On the day
- For each of our Locations we have a link to the Googlemap to show you how to get there. If you are attending a Closer to Home clinic, the chances are that you know the lay of the land better than us, so you will know how much time to give yourself to ensure that you can arrive relaxed, and unhurried.
- Though you may feel the tests are too simple, or too advanced for your child’s abilities, please don’t help them. Should the therapist require your assistance in administering a part of the assessment, they will ask. We very much believe that parents and carers are the key to successful intervention and therapy, however the assessment phase is the notable exception to this rule.
- Try not to be overwhelmed. Especially if you are new to therapy, you may find that there are a lot of forms, and questions to fill out. This does depend on which assessments are being done, and also on the age of your child. It is necessary in order to help paint a full picture.
- Be aware that sometimes the therapist may be 100% focused on your child during the assessment. This is a time for them to get to know your child a little, and your child get to know them. There are often subtle cues, or teaching moments which the therapist is watching out for. If you have asked them a question and didn’t get a response at the time, please ask at the end of the session as they simply may not have heard you.
- Pair the visit with something you know is fun. This can be anything from stopping at a shop for an ice-cream (for them and you!) on the way back from the session, to allowing them watch their favourite TV show when they get home. It doesn’t have to be big, just something small you know goes down a treat.
Please remember that the above are tips and guidelines only. Each child is different, and every parent’s schedule is different. If you know you will be rushing to and from the session due to work commitments etc, please try adjust accordingly. Successful paediatric therapy is a partnership between the therapist, your child, and you.