Information on your specialist speech and language assessment appointment for complex developmental disorder

What to expect at your child's assessment appointment

The speech and language therapist will discuss your child’s development and your current concerns in some detail. This will include a history of their early communication development. You may not wish to talk about these things in front of your child. If this is the case, please bring someone with you who will be able to look after your child whilst you talk to the therapist in private. Alternatively, it may be possible to arrange a further telephone consultation with the therapist to discuss these details.

The therapist will complete picture or toy tests and chat to or play with your child. With older children and young people there will more emphasis on talking, conversation and using questionnaires.

The whole appointment may last up to two hours. If you do have other children, please make alternative arrangements for them to be looked after or collected from school if necessary in order to ensure that the appointment is not interrupted unnecessarily.

Speech and language therapy appointments

“I felt very comfortable and felt the assessment on my son was very well done”

How to prepare for your child’s specialist appointment?

Before their appointment, it would be helpful if you could think about:

  • anything unusual you remember from when your child was a baby
  • the way your child communicated before they could talk
  • how your child is using gestures, facial expressions and theirbody language.

To prepare your child for their appointment, you may like to use the story board on the back of this leaflet to help explain what is going to happen.

We recognise that you and your child may be apprehensive about the assessment appointment but please be assured our therapists are highly trained and experienced in working with children of all ages. They will work with you and your child to help support your child’s difficulties.

What happens next?

The speech and language therapist will write a report and send this to you together with some advice and recommendations to help you support your child. We will provide you with two copies of the report and recommendations so that you may pass one to your child’s school or pre-school if you would like to.

The therapist will also send a copy of the report to your child’s lead clinician, usually a paediatrician or psychiatrist. Our report will be considered alongside assessments undertaken by other professionals before a conclusion is reached. You will be contacted by the lead clinician to arrange a meeting to share the overall outcome of the assessments that have taken place, which may include a diagnosis, and details of next steps and support.

If your child has additional speech, language or fluency difficulties, unrelated to any complex developmental disorder, further support from the speech and language therapy service may be offered. The therapist will discuss this with you.

Failure to attend/cancellation policy

Appointments for specialist assessment with a speech and language therapist are in high demand. If you are not able to attend, you must let us know as soon as possible so that we can offer the appointment time to someone else. The number to call if you have any queries will be on your appointment letter.

Please be aware that if you cancel or fail to attend your appointment this will result in a further wait time.

Useful websites:

Communication Trust

The National Autistic Society

Autism Wessex

Autism Speaks


“ Great summary review to parents and suggestions to support at home”

Speech and language therapy service (Children & young people’s)