February 2023 - West Texas Rehab

My child was just diagnosed with a speech/language impairment, now what?

by Anna Nguyen, SLP

As a therapist, my day-to-day is pretty routine. Do therapy. Drink coffee. Document. Drink more coffee. Do an evaluation. As a parent, bringing your child in for an evaluation is anything but routine. I imagine there is a flood of emotions. “Is it because I put them in daycare too early?” or “Is it because I didn’t put them in daycare?” And even “Is it because 2 languages are spoken at home?”

Rest assured. None of these things are the reason. As much as I would love to think I know everything in the world, there is not always a hard and fast reason for why some children’s language develops slowly or differently than others. Sometimes it just happens.

When your child is evaluated for therapy, there will be a lot of questions we might ask. It is OK if you do not know all of the answers. Say that with me again. IT IS OK to not know all of the answers. The SLP will then make recommendations for therapy, re-evaluation, home program, or discharge.

Now let’s say your child was just recommended to receive therapy for language skills. We expect you and your family to be active partners in this process with us. We cannot fix your child. We can help your child gain new skills. But it is YOUR job to give your child experience and practice with these skills. Here are a few ways to help be a partner in your child’s road to successful communication:

1) Read with your child every day. Read interactively, do not just recite the words. Point things out in the book. Ask questions. If your child points to a picture, explain that picture to them.

2) Play with your child every day. The most important thing a child can do is play. This is where they learn vocabulary, social skills, and problem solving. You being a play partner opens up a new world full of new actions, words, and lessons.

3) Expand on what your child is saying. If you are trying to get your child to use sentences rather than just single words and your child sees a dog and says “dog” this is a perfect opportunity to fill in their gaps! “Oh look at that dog run! He is fast! Hi dog!” For older children, talk about what you know about a dog. “Our dog is brown but that dog is ____”

4) If you have a question, ask. Your SLP is your partner. Never be afraid to ask for our advice on anything. We are both working toward the same goal–increasing your child’s communication!

More about Anna…

Anna Nguyen is a speech language pathologist in San Angelo. She was born and raised in Abilene and attended Abilene Christian University for her B.S. in Communication Disorders and Psychology. She continued on to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to get her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. She has been at West Texas Rehab since 2015 and loves the patients and coworkers she sees each day. “I began to grow my knowledge with feeding disorders and feeding therapy and loved it!

I had my sweet baby boy, Oliver, in 2021 and struggled with breastfeeding. I joined different Facebook groups to get advice and, after a while, found myself trying to share my journey in order to help others be successful. It was during this

time that I realized that I had a passion for breastfeeding.” Anna explains. After completing coursework, clinical competencies, and the certification exam, she received her certification as a Certified Lactation Counselor in August 2022. “I have months of personal experience with exclusive pumping, milk storage, and weaning. I am also confident in my ability to help parents of preterm infants or infants born with differing abilities be successful in their pumping or breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding not only allows a unique bond to form between the nursing parent and the child, but it also benefits both the nursing parent and the baby! I am excited to share my passion and expertise with parents wishing to pursue their breastfeeding journey!” Anna exclaims.