Get an Evaluation
Knowing where to get an evaluation depends on two factors:
Here’s a useful chart for the Dallas-Fort Worth Texas area:
|Age Range||Free Evaluation||Insurance or Private Pay|
|0-3 Years Old||Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)||UT Dallas Callier Center, Children’s Hospitals, Private Practice, Easter Seals, University Clinics|
|3+ Years Old||National Childfind Public School District||UT Dallas Callier Center, (All Above) Specialized Schools for Children with Differences|
Tips for Referrals in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Area
• Call children’s hospitals and ask for a list of places and professionals.
• Scottish Rite’s Children’s Hospital has a clinic that evaluates reading and learning disorders. Their services are free if the child’s application is accepted (usually requires a referral from a pediatrician and the child having no other concomitant disorders). The waiting list can be long.
• Referrals may be required by managed health care and private insurance plans. In the public schools there is a process for referring to the SLP.
• Check out ASHA’s “Find A Professional” site.
Do I need a Referral?
You can seek the evaluation of an SLP directly. You will have to follow requirements set by agencies or insurance companies if you are seeking funding or reimbursement for these services. Early intervention is an important factor in the most positive outcomes. Taking a “wait-and-see” approach may delay essential intervention. It is a common misconception that a child needs to be two years old before a speech-language evaluation can occur. Communication (eye contact, gestures, and sounds) are forms of communication that develop before talking and can be evaluated early.
What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) are professionals with graduate level degrees in assessing and treating individuals with communication and swallowing disorders. SLPs may work in schools, medical facilities, clinics, or private practices. SLPs may work individually or as part of a team. Many communication and swallowing disorders are complex and overlap other medical or learning issues, therefore, a team of professionals may collaborate to assess and treat a patient.
The American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional organization of SLPs and Audiologists. They provide information to the public as well as professionals.
What is a Communication Disorder?
A communication disorder is an impairment in an individuals speech, language (oral or written), or hearing. Speech disorders can include errors in pronouncing sounds (articulation), difficulties with fluency, or problems with the voice. Language disorders include problems with verbal or written expression (language that your child produces) or problems with the language your child understands when spoken to or when reading (receptive language).
Speech Language Pathologists Treat Swallowing?
Many individuals and professionals alike are unfamiliar with the fact that SLPs are the professionals who treat swallowing disorders (dysphagia) and feeding disorders. SLPs treat both functional swallowing disorders and sensory based feeding issues (or aversive feeding disorders). Children who have sensory integration dysfunction with secondary feeding issues may also work with an Occupational Therapist (OT) on feeding.