9 things you need to know about speech therapy

9 things you need to know about speech therapy

If you are reading this, you probably have some questions about speech therapy. Well, then, read on!

  1. An assessment is a necessary first step. A Speech-Language Pathologist needs to spend time with you and your child to get a good idea of what’s going on and how he or she can help. It doesn’t have to be done by the therapist giving treatment, but it needs to be done before therapy begins. Sure, Johnny is mixing up his g and d sounds, but he may also be doing other things that a professional can detect. An SLP needs to make specific goals, and an assessment helps prioritize these goals. If your child comes to us already having had an assessment by another SLP, that’s great! Depending on how recent the assessment, we can get started on therapy even sooner!
  2. It works. Whether it is speech clarity, vocabulary, grammar, understanding, attention or stuttering, therapy has been shown in piles of studies to have a great positive impact. But it takes a few other ingredients for this to happen, discussed below.banner2
  3. The earlier the child starts, the faster and better the outcomes. This is why it is so important to start as soon as a problem is suspected. There is no such thing as too soon or too late to benefit from an assessment (and therapy, if necessary). Some think it is OK to “wait and see.” This option should never be entertained. Here is a link to an article that tells the story of two different paths. Nobody knows which child will take which path, so why take the risk?
  4. Parents/caregivers need to be committed. Everyone has to be on board and be able to commit to treatment. If an important person in the child’s life isn’t convinced of the need for therapy, therapy will be less effective. This is because good therapy teaches caregivers to address speech or language concerns outside of the clinic, the places where children spend the most time.
  5. Attendance has to be consistent. Attendance at therapy needs to be consistent for benefits to be seen and to enable the therapist to adjust activities and goals based on progress, plateau, or decline. Missing appointments or choosing follow-up appointments that are irregular will not yield the fastest or best outcomes, and may not yield any change in the child at all.
  6. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work and time to get best results. In most cases it takes months to correct a concern (with regular attendance). It sometimes takes weeks of hard work just to see a small change.
  7. It may require day time or Saturday appointments. Your child’s development is important to you and your SLP. Even though after school may be the best time in terms of family scheduling, kids tend to be quite tired at this time. From our experience, when young kids are tired, they become disinterested and inattentive, and therefore may not get the same benefits from therapy. Consider that your child may have to miss a small part of a school day or a Saturday to attend therapy.
  8. It may cost you money. Although benefits providers give most families a set amount to spend on private Speech-Language services, benefits almost always run out before the desired outcome is achieved. When making your decision, it is important to keep in mind the strong possibility that you will pay out of pocket for a part of your child’s treatment. Your out-of-pocket expenses are tax-deductible.
  9. You don’t need a doctor’s referral for assessment/therapy. The only exception is if your insurance company requires one to reimburse you. Otherwise, if you have concerns with your child’s speech or language, YOU get to decide what to do about it!

Hopefully, these tidbits help your decision. To make the referral process easier, you can fill out this secure referral form and we’ll be in touch within one business day. Otherwise, please call 519-680-3770 to set up your appointments.

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Ontario Speech & Language Services