Can I claim back my speech and language therapy expenses?

Perhaps! You will be provided with a receipt following any appointment with Claire O’Loughlin who is fully registered with private health insurance providers.  Private speech and language therapy may be covered on your health insurance plan, please check this with your health insurance provider. You may also be entitled to claim back your speech and language therapy expenses using the MED1 form, if you are currently paying income tax. For more information on claiming medical expenses relief please see http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it6.html

Do you offer home/school visits?

Yes. Our clinic is based in Ennis but we regularly attend nursing homes, schools and private homes throughout the County Clare, Limerick and Galway area.  There is no additional cost for the assessment/therapy session. However, we do ask for reimbursement of our mileage expenses which are based on the Civil Service kilometric rates for cars as on March 5th 2009. For more information regarding these rates, please visit http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it51.html

I have been told that my child’s speech is “unintelligible”. What does this mean?

The term ‘speech’ refers to an individual’s production of words. The term ‘intelligibility’ refers to a person’s ability to be clearly understood by others, that is if a child’s speech is described as ‘unintelligible’, this means that others do not clearly understand what the child is saying.

My child’s speech isn’t clear. Will she grow out of it? At what age should she have a speech assessment?

As a child develops their speech, they typically make ‘errors’ as they learn new sounds and words, for instance in typical speech development, children may substitute a /r/ sound with a /w/ sound and say “wabbit” for “rabbit”. However, children typically ‘correct’ such errors by the time they reach a certain age. As in the example, children generally produce the /r/ sound correctly and no longer substitute it with another sound by six years of age.
The purpose of a speech assessment is to establish whether or not the individual is demonstrating difficulty producing words, to identify the potential cause of their difficulties and to determine if speech therapy would be beneficial in addressing such difficulties. For a child, an assessment is carried out to establish whether or not a child is demonstrating age-appropriate, typical speech errors or producing errors which are either delayed for their age or errors which are not found in typical speech development.

What can I expect to happen at my son’s speech assessment?

As part of a speech assessment, the speech and language therapist may conduct an oromotor assessment to examine the movement of the muscles of the mouth and face in order to identify any difficulty which may be impacting on an individual’s speech. The therapist may conduct an articulation assessment. 'Articulation' refers to an individual’s ability to produce an individual speech sound. For instance, a person may present with a lisp and, as a result, have difficulty producing a /s/ or /z/ sound. The clinician may conduct a phonological assessment. 'Phonology' refers to an individual’s ability to produce sounds in words. For instance, a person may be able to produce a sound on its own, but when saying words, they may substitute or omit sounds, such as saying “eb” for “web”, saying “tea” for “key” or “cool” for “school”.

What is the difference between ‘receptive’ and ‘expressive’ language?

The term 'language' is used to describe an individual’s ability to understand and interpret messages communicated by others and their ability to convey information to others, both verbally (i.e. spoken) and non-verbally (i.e. through facial expression, body language, gesture and so on).
‘Receptive language’ refers to the ability to understand what others say. Children may have difficulty listening to, remembering and/or comprehending spoken language. In everyday situations, the child may struggle to follow long instructions or grasp the concept of an activity or the topic of a conversation. They may lose interest in play or conversation because they can’t ‘follow’ what’s happening. Some children are very good at masking their receptive language difficulties by using visual clues or humour in their environment to work out what is being said. Receptive language difficulties make it difficult to respond to others appropriately.
‘Expressive language’ refers to an individual’s ability to communicate messages to others, through oral (i.e. spoken) and written expression. Children may have a limited vocabulary, difficulty using grammar, describing or explaining events, asking/answering questions, telling/retelling stories or participating in a conversation.

What is “pragmatic language”?

'Pragmatic language' refers to an individual’s knowledge and use of language in social situations (i.e. their social communication skills). A person with pragmatic language difficulties may have difficulty understanding the ‘rules’ of communication, for instance how to use eye contact and facial expression or taking turns in conversations. They may also have difficulty adapting their communication for the listener, such as providing context regarding a comment or story, or talking differently to a baby than one would to their teacher or principal. Pragmatic language difficulties may also impact on a person’s ability to greet others, identify problems and potential solutions in everyday situations, identify the perspective and emotions of others, understand jokes, idioms, sarcasm and so on.