Parents have several options when searching for speech-language services for their child. Access to services can vary widely depending upon where you live, who will pay for the service, and the age of your child. Links at the end of this post can help you get started on your search.
Some countries provide therapy services to children through public agencies or schools. These programs may be for infants, preschool and/or school-age children.
low- or no-cost
usually available within driving distance or may be provided in your home
often have waiting lists for evaluation or therapy
may have limited time or number of sessions
Speech-language pathologists in training need to complete hundreds of hours of supervised clinical work. To meet some of this need, each university program has a clinic where clinical instructors and professors direct therapy carried out by students working toward their degree. Parents usually are able to observe therapy and many programs involve parents in therapy to some degree. Some programs specialize in NDBI.
close attention to research and best practices
available only at certain universities
may limit the number of children seen and/or have waiting lists
Health Care Providers
Hospitals and clinics usually have therapy services, either on site or at an affiliated location. When your doctor makes a referral, this is the most likely place they refer to. Children are seen in the clinic setting, sometimes with parent involvement or observation.
may be near your home
some clinics specialize in pediatric (child) disorders
affiliated clinics may not be near small towns or rural areas
may have long waits for evaluation or therapy
Many speech-language pathologists have their own practice, sometimes associated with occupational or physical therapists. Children are usually seen in the clinic, but some therapists do home-based therapy, especially for children under 3. Some therapists only take payments directly from the parent, who can then submit the bill to their insurance for reimbursement.
usually have experience and specialized training with child language
cost similar to health care providers
usually available only in population centers
Telepractice provides online speech-language therapy services, so eliminates the problems of distance and finding an SLP that’s is a good fit for your child. Therapists use a secure, confidential teleconferencing system to provide face-to-face consultation, evaluation and therapy. The number of SLPs who offer telepractice increases every year. Payment for services is arranged directly between the therapist and family.
available in all locations
many languages spoken
match therapist specialty to child need
requires access to reliable broadband internet service