Your First Visit With Us

Taking the first step.

Take The First Step

When you decide to pursue services through Speak Freely Therapy Services, the first step for us is gathering information.

When you decide to pursue services through Speak Freely Therapy Services, the first step for us is gathering information.

If you contact us via an e-mail or voice mail message, we will call you for more background information. Our questions will include things like: how old is the client? Does he/she have a diagnosis? What are your main concerns? What types of activities does he/she like to do during a typical day? How do you think that he/she will respond to the assessment session? What other professionals have you worked with?

We have included a number of forms used for consent and gathering information that you can complete at the first visit or in advance by downloading them here.

We will discuss the best way to serve you. For young children, we will need to decide whether a home visit or clinic visit is the better option for the assessment. For older children and adults, it is usually helpful to speak with educators, support staff and/or employers.

Our assessment approach is quite structured. The sequence of activities will be outlined visually (in words or pictures depending on the age of the client). Each activity is selected to evaluate several skills. There is usually a combination of seated work as well as opportunities to move. At the end of the session, there is usually time for the client to do an individual task while we discuss next steps with the caregiver.

During an Assessment

Here is an example of what could happen during an assessment for your child:

You arrive at the clinic with your child. There may be a short wait in the lobby, where there is a drawing table, as well as books and toys.

The therapist will come to greet you and you will go to the assessment room together. Parents are usually in the room for the first session, although if you prefer, you can be out of the room.

While you are completing Intake forms, the therapist will review the visual schedule with your child.

Depending on the identified areas of need, the assessment activities will include fine motor tasks (such as cutting, drawing, beading), gross motor tasks (such as jumping, throwing, balancing), and language tasks such as following instructions, labelling items within games, telling stories from pictures. Older children may be asked to do more complex tasks such as writing stories, describing and explaining with more advanced language, problem-solving and reasoning activities.

It is not uncommon for children to be shy or disruptive in a new setting. Please don’t be embarrassed or stressed by this behaviour; our team is well-versed in working with young children and based on a combination of your advice and our experience, we will handle the situation.

When the structured activities are completed, the therapist will provide your child with an activity that he/she can do independently while you discuss how the session went as well as next steps. We are able to gather valuable information from observing your child during free-play. If you feel more comfortable, discussion about the session  can occur later when your child is not present, via phone or e-mail.

If you require a written report, the timelines and cost for the document will be discussed.

If therapy sessions are recommended, they can be scheduled immediately following the assessment session or at a later date. We never want parents to feel pressured to make decisions before they have had time to review all the information.


“Joyce Hignett and her staff are knowledgeable and thorough. They know when to push and when to let up. My child gets the full undivided attention of his therapist when he is at Speak Freely and I find he learns more in his one hour session than I ever expected. My child has been with Speak Freely Therapy Services since opening.”

– parent

“There are no ulterior motives at Speak Freely Therapy Services. These are dedicated professionals who give 100% of themselves with the best interest of your child in mind. Highly expert, friendly, compassionate, with a high degree of integrity: I trust them. Our son has been a regular there for over a year and the gains are amazing. He has grown so much with their help. We’ve used both the OT and speech services and highly, highly recommend.”

– JJ, parent and teacher

“As an educational consultant who has worked with Joyce Hignett over a period of years, I have become aware of her dedication and determination to provide the most comprehensive and effective strategies possible in order to improve the speech/communication issues of her clients. I have been particularly impressed with her very direct, practical approach and that she understands the importance of providing a functional, meaningful context for communication as an integral part of her service.”

– LN, teacher and independent consultant

Our Office

149 Welham Road, Unit 19
Barrie, ON L4N 8Y3

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