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  • Michelle Layman, MA, CCC-SLP

My Child Receives Services at School. Do They Need Private Speech/LanguageTherapy, Too?

As summer is winding down and school is beginning, you may be asking yourself, "Is Speech/Language Therapy through my child's school enough?" The answer to this question depends upon your individual child and what you would like from therapy.

School Speech/Language Therapy differs from Private Speech/Language Therapy in several ways. I will lay out some of these differences that affect parents' decisions of whether or not to pursue clinical Speech/Language Therapy.

1. Qualification. When the School is deciding whether or not your child qualifies for school therapy, they are looking at your child's skills through an educational lens. They will provide Speech/Language Therapy if there are deficits that affect the child's education. If the child is making good grades and the Speech/Language deficits that are found do not hinder the child from succeeding in the school setting, then Speech/Language Therapy will not need to be offered. If services are offered, the number of sessions per week are determined by school schedule, therapist caseloads, and individual school policy.

In the private setting, if a child shows significant deficits in Speech and/or Language skills, the child will be able to receive services whether their educational skills are lacking or not. In the clinical setting, the number of sessions per week depend upon whether the child is private pay or if they use insurance to help pay for the costs of the session. If the child is private pay, the number of sessions per week are determined by the therapist and the family. If insurance is paying, then the number of sessions per week are ultimately decided by the insurance company.

2. Session Size. It is typical to have group therapy when having Speech/Language Therapy within the public schools. Groups can be any number in size, though they tend to have 3-5 students in each session. The majority of Speech and/or Language Therapy in the private, clinical setting is one-on-one. The child benefits from having the attention of the Speech/Language Therapist on them during the entire session.

3. Parent Involvement and Carry Over. When children are seen during the school day, parent involvement is limited due to the nature of School. When a child is seen in a private clinic, the parent can be as involved a great deal! At times, you may be asked to sit in on the session to learn how to implement the therapy at home. The therapist will make it a point at each session to give you ideas that will help your child carry over what is learned during the sessions. This happens even when the parent isn't able to be present in the therapy session.

4. Therapy Time. In the school setting, sessions must be held during school hours. This means that the child misses school time in order to participate in Speech/Language Therapy. In the clinic setting, children are able to have sessions scheduled after school hours.

5. Feeding and Swallowing Therapy. It is very rare for schools to provide Feeding or Swallowing Therapies. As school therapy is educationally based, the schools do not often need to provide Feeding or Swallowing Therapy. Within a private clinic, Feeding and Swallowing Therapy is common.

If you would like to see your child receive more Speech/Language Therapy than they are already receiving in the schools, please call us today! We would be happy to complete an evaluation and help you make the right decision for your child! At Serenity Pediatric Therapies, we provide Speech, Language, Feeding, and Swallowing Therapy for children ages birth to 18 years!

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