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Speech Language Pathology FAQ’s

What is speech-language pathology? What do you treat?

 Speech and language pathology is the study of communication and its disorders. Communication has many aspects, including the use of language, understanding of language, and sounds of language production. Speech-language pathologists treat a variety of disorders, including expressive (use) and receptive (understanding) disorders, disorders of speech sounds, stuttering, social language/pragmatic disorders, and cognitive disorders as they relate to language. We work with a variety of clients, including individuals with specific medical diagnoses (e.g., Autism, degenerative diseases, traumatic brain injuries), children who need help with their speech and language development, and individuals who need rehabilitative services following injury or stroke.

What is speech-language pathology? What should I do if I suspect that an individual has a speech/language disorder?

First, you should discuss concerns with your primary care physician. For children, your pediatrician may be able to determine if your child is meeting developmental milestones. Typically, children will say their first word at 12-15 months and start combining words around two years of age, although this varies from individual to individual. In terms of speech sounds, you should be able to understand at least half of what your child says by age 2 and most of what he or she says by age 4. If you have concerns that your child has not reached these milestones or he/she is showing frustration with communication, a speech and language evaluation may be needed. For adults, if you feel you are having trouble effectively communicating or understanding others, a speech and language evaluation may help determine the reason for these difficulties. For all individuals, having your hearing screened or evaluated is an integral part of the evaluation process.

What will happen when I contact Northeast Hearing & Speech (NHS)?

If you wish to schedule an evaluation:

  • You will be asked the age of the individual to be evaluated, your concerns, name of primary care physician, and your insurance information.
  • You will also be asked if the individual has had a speech and language evaluation in the past or if he or she has participated in speech and.language therapy. If the answer is yes, you will either be asked to bring in previous evaluations and/or you will be placed on our list for therapy (depending on the evaluation information that you will provide).
  • If there are evaluation openings with a therapist at NHS when you call, you will be offered a time to come in for the evaluation. If there are no openings at that time or if you are unable to accept any of the times offered, you will be put on a waiting list for an evaluation. You will be contacted when another time is available.
  • If the evaluation appointment is made at least 5-7 days in advance, you will be sent paperwork to complete ahead of time and bring to the evaluation. This paperwork includes a case history, HIPAA notification, and a client data sheet. If the evaluation is within 3-5 days of booking, you will be asked to arrive 15-30 minutes.prior to your scheduled time to complete the paperwork. If you have other evaluations or.materials that may be important (speech and language, hearing, occupational therapy cognitive), you will be.asked to bring these to the evaluation.

If you wish to schedule therapy:
If a clinician has an opening that will work with your availability, therapy may begin within a week. However, if your availability is limited and/or our clinicians do not have openings for therapy, you may be placed on a waitlist. We are unable to determine how long the wait will be before we are able to schedule you for therapy. This is due to the fact that clients are seen for varying lengths of time and it is difficult to predict when clinician time will become available. If you were evaluated outside of NHS, you will be asked to provide our office with the most recent evaluation and any progress notes that are available prior to your first session. Also, you will be asked to provide your insurance information, contact information, and availability for therapy.

What occurs during an evaluation?

On the day of your evaluation, you will be seen by an ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologist. This person will discuss your speech and language concerns and tailor the evaluation specifically to these concerns. This may include an interview with you, standardized testing, observation, and/or a review of other reports. At the end of the evaluation, the clinician will discuss his/her findings with you and determine the best course of action. This may include re-evaluation, therapy, or referral to other community resources.

What occurs during therapy?

Therapy is highly individualized and tailored to the communication needs of the client. Therapy may occur on a consultative basis or via direct services. Direct services are typically provided in 30 minute sessions, one to three times per week. Our clinic provides services within our clinic setting as well as in community-based settings such as daycares, preschools, specialized educational settings, and school-based settings. Your clinician will discuss the therapeutic plan with you and provide written plans and updates regarding these services.

Will insurance cover speech and language evaluations and therapy?

Some insurance companies will cover evaluations and therapy; however, each plan is different. Check your insurance policy and bring that information with you to your appointment. Most policies require a physician’s referral. Northeast Hearing and Speech also works with community and state/federal programs that may be funding sources for evaluations and therapy. We are contract providers for Child Development Services, the State of Maine’s early intervention system responsible for providing children aged birth to five years with support and intervention services. If services are not covered by one of these funding sources, our agency has a sliding fee scale (applications are available upon request).

Have a question we didn’t answer? Please feel free to contact us today with any questions. We look forward to seeing you at your appointment!