Speech and Language Services

What to Expect

Clinic Visit

  • Things to do before your appointment

    For speech and language appointments: 

    • Before you schedule an appointment, please fill out our intake questionnaire and send us your child’s school, medical and therapy records. This helps us decide which speech-language pathologist would be best to see your child. After we review the information, we will call you to schedule.
    • If you have specific questions about your child’s condition or treatment, write them down and bring them with you.
    • Learn more about what to do before your appointment

    For feeding and swallowing appointments: 

    • Before you schedule an appointment, please send us any feeding evaluations and therapy records you have for your child. This helps us plan an evaluation to meet your child’s needs. After we review the information, we will call you to schedule your visit.
    • Be prepared to describe your child’s normal eating and drinking habits, routines and schedules when you come to the appointment.
    • Make sure your child is hungry at the time of the appointment. 

    For velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD) evaluations: 

  • Who does Speech and Language Services see?

    We see babies, children, teens and young adults up to age 21 who have conditions that affect their ability to communicate or swallow.

  • Who will see my child?

    Your child will see a speech-language pathologist who has extensive training and experience in the specific needs and concerns that apply to your child.

  • What happens during a clinic visit?
    • You and your child will meet with a speech-language pathologist to share your concerns about your child.
    • The speech-language pathologist will evaluate your child. The tests your child might need will depend on their concerns and condition.
    • At the end of your visit, the speech-language pathologist will explain what they found and what they recommend.
    • Depending on your child’s needs, we might recommend follow-up visits with providers from other clinics.
  • How long is a speech and language visit?

    The scheduler will tell you what to expect when you make the appointment. 

    • Most evaluations are 1 or 2 hours. The expected amount of time will be confirmed by the scheduler. 
    • Evaluations that can take up to three hours include autism, cognitive-communication, language and literacy and some appointments when the child speaks more than one language and there is a language concern.
    • Feeding and swallowing evaluations are 75 minutes.
  • What to bring
    • If your child is having a feeding and swallowing evaluation:
      • Bring a familiar cup, bottle or any other special feeding items your child uses at home.
      • Bring examples of familiar food and drink so we can see what your child typically eats at home.
      • If your child has trouble with certain foods or textures, bring samples of these.
    • If your child is having an AAC evaluation, bring your child’s current communication system.
    • If your child typically sits in a wheelchair, bring your child to the visit in that chair.
  • What can I expect as a parent/caregiver?
    • You will leave your visit with a better understanding of your child’s communication or swallowing disorder.
    • We will recommend activities or strategies you can use at home to improve your child’s communication or swallowing.
    • If we recommend speech and language therapy, we will explain the type of treatment and how to arrange it.
  • After the appointment

    We will make sure you leave the appointment with detailed instructions about what is to happen next and try to answer all of your questions. We will provide you with phone numbers to call us if you have questions after you leave. We will also send you a report that you can share with your child’s doctor and school. The report from the appointment will be available on the Patient Portal.

  • What if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment?

    Call the clinic you are scheduled to visit as soon as you know you cannot keep your appointment. This allows us to use the appointment to see another child who needs our care.

  • Preparing your child
    • If there is anything specific you should do to prepare your child for the type of visit you are having, the scheduler will tell you when you make the appointment.
    • Learn more about preparing your child for a clinic visit.
  • Directions and parking
    • Find your location in our map and directions section.
    • Arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment to allow time for registration.

More information

For more information on visiting Seattle Children’s clinics, please see Your Child’s Clinic Visit.