by Stacie Fox, MS CCC-SLP
School-based vs. Private Speech Therapy Services: Why would I want private speech therapy services for my child
when my child gets school-based speech therapy services?
Often times I hear this question from parents and caregivers, and while the decision to obtain private speech therapy services is an individual one for each family, it is important to point out what is involved with each type of service delivery when it comes to school and private based speech therapy services.
School based speech therapy is delivered at a child’s school in which the school based speech language pathologist (SLP) sees the child based on the legal document referred to as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). In order to qualify for speech and language services, and have an IEP, the deficit or disorder must be found to be significant enough by the IEP team to impact the child in the educational realm. The school based SLP is part of the team along with the parent and other professionals to determine the amount and type of services that the child may receive. In general, school based speech therapy tends to include two main types of service: direct and indirect. Direct services may include working with the child alone, in small groups (i.e. 2-4 children with differing goals), in the classroom, or a combination of these options. Indirect services usually involve the school SLP monitoring a child to make sure they are making gains, or consulting with teachers to assist with strategies to help the child succeed in the classroom. Parents can make an appointment to meet with the school based SLP, as well as attend any IEP meetings, which are held annually at the very least. The amount and type of services stated in the IEP may change as a child’s skills improve, or if their deficits no longer impact their education.
Private speech therapy is conducted at a private facility in which direct therapy services are utilized. This entails direct one to one therapy with the clinician and the child. The sessions specifically target the child’s therapy goals in a way that is most effective for their engagement and learning. Caregivers also have direct contact with the therapist after each session and are given guidance on what they can do to help in the home environment. The therapist, child and caregiver all work together as a team in assisting the child in meeting their established therapy goals. In addition, private therapy services are available for children of any age, and the therapy may target skills that are not included in school-based therapy due to educational or developmental norm restrictions. The private practitioner can also offer earlier remediation for speech and language skills in order to avoid the development of negative patterns, such as with speech sound production and stuttering disorders. Furthermore, private speech therapy assists with helping children succeed in their speech and language skills who do not qualify for services and tend to “fall through the cracks” in the school system. Most private practices do accept insurance or offer a reduced rate for self-pay patients in order for families to obtain the help they need for their children.
For more information contact Fox Therapy Center at 540-446-2654 or visit our website at: www.foxtherapycenter.com