People often ask us why parents would enroll their child in private speech therapy sessions when speech therapy is available at school, at no cost. But nearly all children who receive private speech therapy also receive services at school. In fact, school-based SLPs often recommend parents seek additional speech services outside of school. Here's why:
Eligibility for services. Private speech therapy services are available for children of any age, with any type or degree of communication impairment. We are able to treat children who may not meet eligibility criteria at school due to developmental norms or district policies.
Session length and frequency. In a private clinic setting, the frequency and length of speech therapy sessions are determined by the child’s parents and the SLP. At school, the amount of speech therapy a student receives may be restricted due to class schedule, SLP caseload, and school district policy.
Group vs. individual instruction. At school, most children receive speech therapy in groups of 3-5 students. While it is sometimes preferable to deliver speech therapy to groups (e..g, working on social skills), children may receive less individualized instruction when the SLP is working with multiple students at once. SLPs in private clinics work with children one-on-one, allowing them to develop individualized treatment plans that are tailored to the child’s area of need and learning style.
Scheduling flexibility. Speech therapy sessions at school must be scheduled during school hours, meaning that the child will miss out on classroom activities to attend pull-out speech sessions. School-based SLPs do not schedule treatment during math or reading instruction, but sometimes are forced to schedule speech sessions during P.E., writing, music, or library. In a private clinic setting, parents are not only able to choose the frequency and duration of treatment sessions, but also a schedule outside of school hours. We are able to work with children after school, over the summer, and, in some cases, on Saturdays.
Parent involvement. In our private clinic, parents consult with their child’s SLP immediately prior to or following therapy sessions, so the parent and SLP can exchange information about current progress, concerns, and strategies to use at home. This collaboration promotes the child’s improvement at home and in other settings outside the speech clinic.
We are happy to collaborate with school-based teams on goal-setting, intervention approaches, and developing IEPs/IFSPs. Give us a call if you are interested in supplementing your child's speech therapy at school with private services. We look forward to helping your child meet his or her communication goals!!