Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect at my initial appointment?
The initial appointment will take between one to two hours depending on ares of concern. It will include a formal (standardized testing) and informal assessment of your child’s skills in the areas of play, receptive language, expressive language and oral speech. It will also include assessment of their oral mechanism and feeding if necessary. I will then discuss my findings and recommendations for your child at that time. Should speech therapy be recommended, we will do our best to find the most desirable time for the speech therapy sessions. A formal report will be completed over the next two weeks following the initial evaluation. In that time, goals will be agreed upon as well as necessary time and frequency of therapy.
How can I best prepare my child for their evaluation?
I adore working with children, and my primary goal is making evaluation fun, rewarding, and exciting for your child. I want all families to feel welcomed and comfortable. As you prepare your child for your visit, I suggest the following:
Do not tell your child it will be like a doctor’s office or getting a check-up.
Explain they will meet a new grown up friend who will have toys, books, puzzles and games to play. It is going to be really fun!
Some children enjoy showing favorite toys or books, and I encourage doing so.
I strongly discourage having siblings present, as this is time devoted specifically for your child with the appointment.
Remember that the objective is to create as natural a setting as possible so that the assessment will be accurate and realistic. If speech therapy is recommended and you decide to begin, my hope is the child will be eager to return because the first meeting has been a positive and enjoyable experience.
What happens in a speech therapy session?
Pediatric speech therapy consists of one-on-one sessions with Marci Adilman. The individually designed sessions are 30, 45, or 60 minutes depending on the needs of the child and the family. They are created with your child's specific needs, age and interests in mind. They often look like play and are generally very fun for the child. At the end of the session you will be given an update and homework will be given at the discretion of the therapist and depending on the needs of the child. Very young children may need the parent to be in the treatment session while older children benefit from working independently. Parents are an integral part of the speech therapy process. If there are ever any questions as to why I am doing something with your child, please ask.
How can we get the most out of our speech-language therapy sessions?
There are several components which are critical for creating a successful experience for you and your child. I will devote my time and efforts to creating a unique, personalized speech and language treatment program for your child. In order to achieve the maximum progress in the least amount of time, maintaining consistent attendance with minimal missed sessions is essential.
How often will my child need to come to therapy?
Based on the diagnosis and therapy goals, twice weekly sessions are usually recommended for the child, regardless of age. Remember, speech therapy is very different from other lessons or other activities in which your child may be participating. Speech therapy is based on principles of cognitive development and motor learning and skills learned in one session provide the foundation for the next session. Therefore consistent and frequent sessions are required for success.
1. As parents you are your child’s main advocate. Listen to your instincts as you are the best judge of your child’s needs in all areas including academic, social, health and any special needs.
2. If your child does need speech and language therapy, this is not a reflection of something you have not done for them. Some parents feel they should be able to correct speech or help children develop their areas of speech deficiency. Remember speech pathologists have a Masters Degree in communication disorders as well as years of professional development, and have the specific training to plan and carry out appropriate therapy programs for your child.
3. I consider parents our “partners" in the speech therapy process. Ongoing communication between us is extremely important, and parents can make all the difference in the rate of progress in speech therapy.
4. Children need to develop social communication skills. This includes the ability to talk and interact with other children in all types of situations. This is one of the most valuable gifts you can give your child, the ability to develop friendships (see #1, below). This is not just a “nice” thing to do. These skills will prepare the child for managing relationships throughout childhood and into adulthood. Playing with other children is extremely important from an early age.
5. The most effective way of helping a child feel competent or feel “good about themselves” is not by repeatedly telling them how great they are, but by allowing the child to feel a sense of mastery and competence. Provide activities in which they can gradually learn and develop skills (music, sports, scouting, etc.)
6. Babies and toddlers need to play and move. Movement is critical for fine and gross motor development. Play is the primary way babies and young children learn self-control and social skills including friendship, mutual responsiveness and playfulness (see #2, below).
7. Screen time is not advisable for children under the age of 2 years, and limited screen time should be considered for 2 to 5 year olds (see #3, below). Children advance in learning through social interaction, exploratory and repetitive play and task mastery.
8. A final word on children and technology: Who doesn’t love their smart phone, iPAD or other wonder gadgets? And we all know there are amazing apps for learning and game playing; however, is technology an advisable way for young children to learn? The human baby still develops through the same stages we know to be true and there is no evidence to support accelerated learning and development through technology. If your child only has so many waking hours in a day, you should be just as selective about how your children spend their time as you are about what they eat, where they go to school, what religion they are taught, with whom they socialize and your family values in general. There is plenty of time for technology, but there is no time to make up for opportunities which may be missed engaging with other children, learning social nuances, and developing confidence. Make informed choices in the area of technology as you do in other areas as well.
Hint: #1 Once you give a fretful child your smart phone, the "genie is out of the bottle." Always have small toys, books, snacks and other items to entertain/teach your child (just as you did before technology).
Hint: #2 Model good technology courtesy and behavior. Stay off your phone/texting while you are with your children.
(1) Medina, John. Brain Rules for Baby, Pear Press, Seattle Washington, 2010, www.brainrules.net,
(2) Navaez, Darcia PhD, "Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Babies": Psychology Today online, 12/08/2013 in Moral Landscapes
(3) "Managing Media: We Need a Plan", American Academy of Pediatrics offers guidance on managing children's and adolescents' media use. American Academy of Pediatrics, 10/28/2013