Parents have a few options when it comes to getting speech therapy for their child. Depending on your child’s needs, services may be provided by your local Early Intervention program, your public school, by a private practice, or a combination of EI/public school and a private practice. At Wee Speak, I have found that parents choose to come to our private practice for their child’s speech and language needs for these top 3 reasons:
1. Your child did not qualify for EI/public school services
In the state of Pennsylvania, the Early Intervention Program requires that a child from birth-5 years old must have a 25% delay in one or more areas of development or have a known physical or mental condition that has a high probability for developmental delays (such as Autism or Down Syndrome) in order to qualify for services. Many children do not meet this criteria, but they do present with developmental delays.
If your child is evaluated by your local early intervention system and they found a 20% delay in expressive language, your child would not qualify for their services. Similarly, if your child’s school district determines that your child does not qualify for speech services at school, it means your child is not demonstrating an educational need at that time. So what do you do? You know that your child would benefit from speech therapy to improve his/her speech and language skills. Luckily, there are other options!
Private speech therapy treats the same disorders as EI and the school districts, but based on medical necessity and academic success. Private speech therapy is not bound by any state or school district standard, therefore they can treat your child whether there is a mild or severe delay.
2. Benefits of a private practice setting for speech therapy
In a private practice, therapy is typically provided on a on a 1:1 basis, unless a group session is specifically stated in the goals. Since sessions are typically individual, the therapist can customize the materials and session plan for each child. Additionally, private therapy sessions also allow the child to have many more opportunities to practice the targeted skills.
Since school sessions are likely in groups, a child who is working on the production of the /k/ sound might produce this sound 10 times during a thirty minute session, while the other two students in the group also get 10 productions of their targeted sound. However, during a private speech session, that same child would have at least 30 productions of the targeted sound in thirty minutes.
Another benefit of a private practice setting is the ability to give feedback to parents and caregivers after the sessions. The private therapist can give feedback to parents immediately after the session and discuss the home practice activities with them. This is much more difficult for the school therapists to do.
3. Private speech therapy enhances early intervention/school services
For children who require more frequent and intense services in order to make progress toward their goals, private therapy services are sometimes necessary to supplement the EI or school services. For other children, it benefits them if their school therapist works on one area of need while their private therapist works on another. Collaboration between the two therapists is also beneficial to the child’s success. Other children progress faster when they work on the same goals in school and then also with their private therapist. Additional sessions during the week also allows the child to have more time to understand concepts and to target their goals.
Each of the services discussed above are beneficial to your child. It’s truly a wonderful thing to have several options in order to make sure your child receives the maximum benefit possible and reaches his/her speech and language goals as quickly as possible.
As always, if you have any questions about the services available to your child, please reach out to us!