What is an evaluation?
An evaluation is comprehensive medical assessment used to evaluate a child for a specific condition or concern. Components of a hearing, speech or learning evaluation may include:
- Relevant medical history
- Pertinent testing
- Questions regarding your specific concerns
Depending on the nature of your child’s evaluation, they meet one-on-one with a specialist or may meet with a several specialists who are part of a multidisciplinary team. Our specialists will answer questions you may have and provide recommendations based on the evaluation.
Preparing your child for an evaluation
On the day of the evaluation, be sure your child is well-rested and well-fed. We have a variety of appointment times available and suggest that you choose one that does not interfere with your child's regular naptime. For school-aged children, please choose an appointment time when they are most alert.
How you explain to your child why they are coming for an evaluation depends upon their age, as well as their understanding of what is happening. For a younger child, you can tell them that they are going to meet a friend who will talk and play with both of you. For an older child, use clear, simple terms to describe your appointment such as "You are going to meet with a speech therapist to see how you are talking and/or learning."
There are a variety of hearing tests that can be scheduled, depending on the age of the child, referral information and specific concerns. When you call to schedule an appointment, our staff will provide you with details about what to expect in your child’s appointment. If you have any concerns about discussing the evaluation appointment with your child, please call us and we can help you. We suggest you write your questions down ahead of time so you'll be sure to ask them all. You may also contact us after the evaluation to ask any additional questions that come up following your visit.
Hearing (audiology) evaluations
Each appointment is made depending on the referral, as well as the child's age and specific concerns. Following the evaluation, test results, observations and recommendations will be discussed with you. The audiology scheduling staff will provide you with the information you need when your child’s appointment is scheduled.
There are a variety of diagnostic hearing tests that can be scheduled for children at Children's Hospital Colorado in the Department of Audiology Services, including:
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Evaluation / Auditory Evoked Potentials Evaluation (AEP)
- Newborn Hearing Screening
- Behavioral Hearing Evaluations
- Otoacoustic Emissions Testing
- Auditory Processing Evaluation
- Cochlear Implant Candidacy Evaluation
Speech pathology evaluations
Most speech and language evaluations can take up to 1½ - 2½ hours. During the evaluation, your child will meet with a specialist in speech and language disorders. The assessment itself is individualized and may involve play-based or tabletop activities depending upon the age of your child and the type of evaluation scheduled.
Following the evaluation, test results, observations and recommendations will be discussed with you. Educational materials will also be provided at the time of the evaluation or included with the report when it is mailed to you.
Common speech pathology evaluations include:
- Augmentative Communication Evaluation
- Cleft Palate Evaluation/Consultation
- Diagnostic Speech and Language Evaluation
- Feeding Disorders Evaluation
- Modified Barium Swallow Study Evaluation
- Voice/Vocal Cord Dysfunction Evaluation
Learning evaluations may take up to four hours. During this evaluation, you will meet with a specialist in learning disorders. The assessment itself is individualized. Common diagnostic evaluations include testing for dyslexia, learning disabilities and other specific learning needs.
After your child’s visit
You will receive a report about your child's visit to Children's Hospital Colorado. We will also send a report to your child's primary care provider so she or he can remain informed about the results of your child's evaluation as well as our recommended interventions.
Additional visits with hearing, speech and learning may be scheduled to complete further testing. You and your child may have the opportunity to enroll in a variety of therapy or parent education programs offered at Children's Colorado. These programs occur throughout the year and are designed to meet the various developmental ages and stages of your child and his or her needs.
Even if you don't enroll your child in any programs at Children's Colorado, you are welcome to visit the Family Health Library for general information about child development, parenting, and medical diagnoses in children.