Why is Private Speech Therapy Important for Children with More Complicated Conditions Such as Autism or Apraxia? – Ask Sarah Series
Why is it important to also have a private speech therapist? Isn’t the speech therapy my child is getting at school [the regional center / the early intervention program] enough?
I believe that, when feasible, parents of a child who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum or with another developmental disorder or who have a motor-planning issue such as an apraxia of speech should also have a private speech–language pathologist to supplement the speech therapy their child is receiving from their their school system or early intervention program (such as California’s Regional Centers). Children with these condition generally need as much therapy as possible, as soon as possible.
As a parent, it can be very helpful to have at least one professional and subject matter expert with whom you speak on regular basis about your child’s speech and language needs. Unfortunately, many school speech therapists are overwhelmed, with a caseload of some many children that there simply isn’t enough time to give each child the therapy they would receive in a more-perfect world. I should know, my first speech pathology job was in a public school system in the Chicago suburbs. I remember my clients and colleagues from Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 fondly, and received a lot of great support and training, but experienced first-hand the difficulties of trying to give the best possible services with a large caseload of children.
Another reason I think it’s important for parents, when feasible, to also have a private speech-language pathologist seeing their child is because it very helpful to have regular opportunities to observe your child’s speech therapy sessions, and that is often very difficult to do at school. It’s important for you to have the opportunity to watch your child receive speech therapy so that you can then carry over what your therapist is doing into your home. If there isn’t carry over in your home, your child’s progress will probably be slower. So when you’re looking for a private speech therapist for your child, ask whether they are open to helping you carry over their lessons into your home.
I find that the two main obstacles to private speech therapy are cost and finding a qualified therapist who can work with your schedule.
In my next two posts, we’ll discuss both the cost issue and some ways to find a private speech-language pathologist for your child.