Parents often wonder what they can do to help their child improve their speech and language skills. Many families seek additional private speech therapy to supplement school-based treatment.
While added speech therapy may be an advantage, it depends on the unique needs of your child. School-based speech therapy and private speech therapy differ in many ways. Before determining if your child would benefit from additional speech and language therapy, it is essential to know the difference between the two.
Needs and Qualifications for Speech Therapy
The school’s Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) will consider the following when determining if a child qualifies for school-based therapy:
- standardized testing results
- how the child communicates in the classroom
- if the child exhibits communication deficits that adversely affect academic performance
Private speech therapy qualifications are not based solely on academic need, but also how it affects the child’s life in the home, community, school, or medically.
Frequency, Location, Duration, and Setting
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is an education-based program that helps determine the rate and length of each speech therapy session. IEP is reviewed annually by the SLP in collaboration with the child’s teachers and parents.
Private therapy, on the other hand, is based on the child’s individual needs and is often conducted in 30, 45, or 60-minute sessions.
Services generally consist of individual or small groups and take place in the classroom or a designated speech room. However, private speech therapy is usually in a one-on-one setting to decrease distractions. Private speech therapy can also take place within the community when a child needs additional help to carry-over their learned skills.
When Should I Seek Additional Speech Therapy?
Your child may benefit from private speech and language therapy if:
- He or she does not qualify for school-based speech therapy because his/her disorder does not affect her academically
- You have on-going concerns regarding your child’s articulation, use of language, comprehension of language, social skills, voice, or fluency.
- He or she performs better in a one-on-one setting with fewer distractions
- He or she doesn’t receive services over long breaks, such as summer break or winter break.
- You see a regression in skills and goals during long school breaks.
- You would like to be more involved in the therapy sessions so you can implement the learned skills and cues at home.
- You would like your child to receive more frequent or more prolonged therapy sessions.
- Your child’s speech-language disorder would benefit from a specialized therapy technique that is provided only by specially-trained SLPs
If you decide to seek private speech therapy in addition to school-based therapy, both SLPs must have permission to converse with each other. This will allow for the two to collaborate on therapy techniques and goals that will best serve your child.
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