Discussing Diagnosis with Parents and Kids

By Pam Marshalla

Talking to Parents - Speech TherapyQ: I have a five-year-old male client who slurs and I think this is mild dysarthria. Do you tell parents the diagnosis? Do you tell them that this is a lifelong problem?

I usually don’t bring up dysarthria with a little guy who only slurs unless I need to assign a code for insurance, if the parents are pushing for a label, or if the parents already are bringing up apraxia or some other label as a possibility.

Mild dysarthria isn’t necessarily a lifelong issue, so I don’t say that. I usually tell all parents––regardless of the diagnosis––that the child himself will show us how well he will do in therapy, that these things cannot usually be predicted because it depends upon him, and that time will tell.

I know that’s a non-answer, but it seems to me to be the best and most realistic way to answer these questions about prognosis.

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