10 Questions to Ask Your Speech-Language Pathologist About Cerebral Palsy

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If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, chances are your doctor has recommended that you meet with a number of specialists. These specialists are trained to help your child attain the greatest level of function possible, and they’re a tremendous asset. But you may be a little overwhelmed by the process. How can you get the most information and gather the greatest support for your little one?

Need for Speech Therapy Varies

Although many children with cerebral palsy are able to speak clearly, some develop speech that is difficult to understand. Others have no intelligible speech. It may be helpful to meet with a speech-language pathologist (SLP), commonly referred to as a speech therapist, early on—even before your child begins to speak—to determine his or her needs. Working with an SLP can help your child communicate more clearly and learn ways to compensate for speech difficulties. The SLP also can provide ways for parents and siblings to help and support the child both at home and at school.

Take an Active Role

As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you are a big part of your child’s speech therapy. Taking an active role in therapy will help you reinforce speech and language skills at home. You’ll also learn how to better communicate with your child and teach those skills to others. Here are 10 questions to ask your SLP:

  1. Do you think my child will benefit from speech therapy?

  2. Is he or she ready to begin therapy?

  3. If so, what goals should we have for my child’s therapy, in your program and in our home?

  4. What steps will we take to accomplish those goals?

  5. Can you help resolve feeding/drinking/swallowing issues?

  6. Is hearing loss affecting my child’s speech development?

  7. Could my child benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which would include many different ways to communicate, in addition to speech?

  8. Could my child benefit from a communication device?

  9. Can you recommend an AAC specialist who can help me evaluate different communication devices? Is this something you specialize in?

  10. How can I learn about federally mandated programs and therapies available for my child through the school system?
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Sep 10
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