Your speech-language pathologist will want a history of the difficulty you or your loved one is having. Of course, the necessary details will vary based on the issue for which you are seeking help. If feeding is a concern, the speech-language pathologist may ask you to keep a log of meals consumed (what, when, and how much you or your loved one ate). If speech or language development is a concern, the speech-language pathologist will want to know information, such as how many words a child is saying, how well the child understands others, and whether other developmental milestones have been met (pay close attention in the days and weeks that precede the appointment). You may be asked to fill out paperwork documenting such information ahead of time. Make the effort to complete this as thoroughly as possible.
Many first-time patients are surprised by the extent of an evaluation, which often looks at a whole host of skills that may not seem related to the issue of concern. Understand that many developmental and other health issues may be related to communication difficulties. The speech-language pathologist needs to get a complete picture in order to determine a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Speech-language pathology services are not universally covered by insurance. Coverage may depend on the specific condition, the course of treatment, the age of the patient, the insurance and/or the service provider, and many other factors. It is best to do your homework ahead of time so you can plan appropriately for how you will pay for these services. This will likely be a determining factor in your provider selection. If you do not have coverage for these services, ASHA has identified various funding resources that are available to consumers.
In the midst of an evaluation, you may forget some of the questions you have for the speech-language pathologist. Try to think of all of your questions in advance and bring them with you. These may include questions about diagnosis, course of treatment, expected length of treatment, location of services (may include your house, a child's day care or school, or private office), how you will determine success and/or what the realistic expectations should be, and what your role will be in treatment (if it is for a child/loved one), among others.