Children's Assessments

Childrenís Assessments
 
Assessments for children and young people up to the age of eighteen from the UK are funded by Action for Stammering Children (ASC). ASC also funds a 6-month review which may be offered after the assessment.
 
You will be sent paper and online assessments to be completed before the appointment, which saves time during your face to face assessment.
 
We are able to provide professionally-trained interpreters for adults and children who are unable to participate in the assessment in English.
 
Triage service
 
This is offered to parents of children and young people from Camden and Islington, who will be contacted by a therapist by telephone to discuss the referral and the assessment process. This will take approximately thirty minutes.
 
Split assessments
 
The assessment takes place in 2 parts. Generally speaking you will work with the same specialist MPC therapist for both sessions.
 
In the first appointment one of the MPC therapists will work with your son or daughter to complete an assessment. This takes about two hours.
 
The second appointment is a parent session which takes approximately three hours. Where the family comprises two parents living together we require both parents to attend. Where parents have separated but are both equally involved and both have parental rights and responsibilities we can offer separate sessions.
 
After the assessment we will send you a clinical report that outlines the decisions that were made together. This will be sent to parents first to agree before the report is distributed to other professionals working with the child.
 
Assessment in one session
 
If you have a local speech and language therapist they will have been invited to attend the Consultation as well. If they are not able to attend we will liaise with them by phone and they may take part in the consultation through video-conferencing.
 
Your appointment will last a whole morning or afternoon.
 
When you arrive you will meet your two specialist MPC therapists who will work with you for the session. One will work with parents and one with the child or young person.
 
After the consultation we will send you a clinical report that outlines the decisions that were made together. This will come to parents first to agree before distribution.

FAQs about the assessment

Why is the appointment so long?

It takes about 2 hours to complete a case history with parents and the same amount of time for the child or young person to complete their assessment. There is a break in the middle which lasts for about 20 minutes so that the two MPC therapists and your local therapist can confer. Then there is a final conversation for parents with their therapist to talk about stammering in general and answer any questions, go through the assessment results, and to discuss the main things which seem to contribute to the child or young person's vulnerability to stammering. Older children and young people also have time to talk about these issues with their therapist. There is also time to discuss recommendations and agree a plan that everyone is happy with. This section takes about an hour.

What happens in my son or daughter's session?

The therapist working with your son or daughter will
  • assess their fluency by recording a speech sample and analysing this
  • go through a structured conversation with your son or daughter about their speech, in order to gain a sense of the degree to which stammering impacts on their everyday confidence in communicating and on their life in general
  • look at questionnaires that have been completed
  • complete a screening assessment for language skills if this has not been done beforehand

The therapist will also be gauging your son or daughter's interest in therapy, talking about stammering at a level that is appropriate to their age and awareness of stammering and, sometimes, trying out some basic therapy techniques.

What happens in the parent session?

The therapist will ask you about different aspects of your son or daughter's life. This includes their stammer but also school life, friends, family life, health etc. Stammering is complex and many things can contribute to either making a child vulnerable to stammering or exacerbating a vulnerability. We know parents don't cause stammering, but we do want to make the most of your expertise which is why we ask both parents to be there whenever possible.
 
You will have time to ask questions about stammering generally, hear about the assessment results, share your conclusions with the therapist and make a decision together about what you would like to do next.

How are decisions made?

Our staff will work with you, your son or daughter, and your local therapist to help you decide what you would like to do next. We offer suggestions and recommendations based on our time with you and our expertise in stammering and we then invite you to consider what you would like to do. With our teenage clients we encourage them to be active in this decision making process and we explain this at the beginning of the session. Sometimes people make decisions while they are here, while sometimes people take more time to think things over.

What if my son or daughter does not stammer much on the day?

That doesn't matter. We know that stammering varies and that we may or may not see the stammer the way you do elsewhere or at other times. However, you will be able to tell us about how it can be at other times.

What if one of us (parents) cannot attend on the day?

Please do call us to talk about this as soon as you know there is a problem. We place great emphasis on meeting with both parents where this is the structure of the family and will want to arrange an alternative appointment time where you will both be able to attend. If there is a last minute problem we will be able to assess your son or daughter but not complete the consultation fully until you have both attended your parent session.

We (parents) have separated - is it still important that we both attend?

Where both parents continue to be actively involved then it is ideal that both are involved in the MPC assessment process, however we are happy to offer each parent their own session. Occasionally, separated or divorced parents decide to attend together but many prefer to have separate sessions and it is a good idea to talk to one of the MPC therapists about this before making plans.

What about therapy - where will that happen?

This varies. Sometimes our role is to make recommendations which are carried out by a local therapist. Sometimes families come to us for therapy. This decision is made collaboratively between MPC staff and the local therapy service, taking into account the child, young personís and the parentsí preference. For this to happen funding agreements between the Michael Palin Centre and the family's local NHS commissioners need to be agreed, or therapy can be funded privately.

Working on it!