What is it like to work with me?
To get started, you can call me for a free phone consultation. I will address your concerns about a possible communication problem affecting your child or yourself. Then, after a thorough discussion, if it is appropriate, I will schedule an appointment for a detailed one-hour diagnostic screening of that individual. I will first ask questions in advance about your child’s (or adult family member’s) interests and hobbies, to incorporate these into our meeting. This greatly aids in a person’s comfort and willingness to speak, so that our screening will provide an accurate picture. The screening will help give more details on a possible communication problem and its nature.
At the end of the diagnostic screening, I will give my findings and recommendations. I might recommend that a deeper, full evaluation is needed, or that the child (or adult) should be periodically screened for development and progress, or that communication skills are within normal limits at this time. I also have a vast array of resources to share, if other kinds of treatment seem indicated. These include other professionals, various appropriate agencies, and literature.
Evaluation – Many children need a complete speech and language evaluation. I can provide this. The evaluation is very thorough. A full evaluation of speech and language skills is typically done over two sessions, with another meeting or phone consultation with a parent to obtain background information. Typically, the first session involves more play and conversation, and informal observation of a child’s speech skills, so he/she becomes more comfortable. Some formal testing is also done in the first session, and much more of it is given during the second session. Language evaluations assess language comprehension (receptive language), and language form (sentence structure and grammar), vocabulary, and use, which are all part of expressive language. Pronunciation (articulation) is also assessed, with a formal test and in spontaneous speech. I thoroughly check a child’s oral-motor skills (mouth structure, strength and movement patterns) and eating skills. With a young child, I also observe and screen his/her play skills. With all clients, I observe overall social interaction skills.
Some children and adolescents are seen for just an articulation or stuttering evaluation. These typically are conducted during one session.
Following the evaluation, I will meet with the parents on a separate date, to share my findings and recommendations.
Anecdotes of Sessions
In keeping with my philosophy that treatment should be enjoyable, I try to follow each client’s unique interests, and incorporate these into sessions. Examples of activities used in sessions might include:
1. Looking out the window, and commenting about the varied tall buildings, and on the planes, helicopters or blimps he/she sees go by.
2. Playing basketball together (in the appropriate setting). Before making each throw, the child needs to copy my slow rate of speech in phrases.
3. Playing a guitar and singing together (for a child who loves to play instruments).
4. Making a book together about baseball facts or basketball facts (for a child who is very interested in these), incorporating the child’s speech sounds to practice as we plan the words in the book.
5. Having a child describe family trips or events, looking at photos, souvenirs, and brochures together.
6. For a teen-ager with language and writing problems, reading Shakespeare plays together, analyzing them to develop good comprehension, then writing about them.
7. For an adult with apraxia (following a stroke), having him practice clearly saying long words related to his profession, then rehearsing a real speech he is giving, practicing his hard sounds and phrasing, to say it effectively.
Susan Mason, M.S., CCC-SLP
Phone: (212) 691-1806