If your child needs speech therapy, you may be wondering about your options. Should your child receive speech therapy at school or in private sessions? What’s the difference? How much will private speech therapy cost?
Read on to learn why so many families choose private speech therapy, how to find a private speech therapist, and what to expect.
3 reasons to choose private speech therapy for your child
1 One-on-one attention
One of the biggest benefits of private speech therapy is that your child receives one-on-one attention from their speech therapist. In school settings, children often receive speech therapy in groups. Naturally, this can make it difficult for the speech therapist to focus on each child’s individual needs.
Let’s say a child receives 30 minutes of school speech therapy per session, with three other children in the group. Splitting 30 minutes of the speech therapist’s attention among four kids (who may all be working on different things) doesn’t leave a lot of time for dedicated practice for each child. This is why a child’s progress may be slower in a group setting, compared to individual therapy.
In private speech therapy, everything that’s done during the session is individualized for your child’s needs and preferences.
In private speech therapy, your child will get direct attention. Everything that’s done during the session is individualized for your child’s needs and preferences, even down to the game they choose to play!
2 Parent and caregiver involvement
Another major advantage to private speech therapy is that parents and caregivers can talk often with their child’s speech therapist. It's easier to stay updated on what your child is learning. Plus, you'll learn how to practice speech and language with your child at home, which helps them make faster progress.
Practicing speech and language with your child at home helps them make faster progress.
Whether private speech therapy is in-person or online, you can talk to the speech therapist at the beginning and end of each session. You can share any updates on your child and ask any questions you have. Likewise, at the end of the session, the speech therapist can tell you how it went, how your child is progressing, and what they should be practicing at home.
With online speech therapy, you can attend the session alongside your child. This is highly recommended for children of all ages, but especially younger ones. You can see the speech therapist in action and learn how to work on the same skills at home, between sessions. Your child sees their speech therapist once or twice a week, but they're with you every day! There are so many daily opportunities for you to help them with their speech and language.
3 Choice of speech therapist
Another benefit of private speech therapy is that families have a say in choosing their child’s speech therapist.
You can start by doing some research on speech therapists near you. Talk with family and friends who’ve had speech therapy, and read online reviews. Your pediatrician is another helpful resource. They should have a list of speech therapy practices they recommend to patients.
If you’re able to use health insurance to cover speech therapy, certain speech therapy providers and clinics are “in-network” with your insurance. So it’s also helpful to call your health plan.
Keep in mind that your speech therapist doesn’t need to work in your area. Online speech therapy is a popular option for families looking for private speech therapy. If you’ve ever used Zoom, FaceTime, or any other type of video chat software, speech therapy delivered online is no different. On your screen is a certified and experienced speech-language pathologist who will work with you and your child to improve their communication skills. Most online speech therapists offer sessions at flexible times, such as after school and weekends. Plus, there’s never a commute!
Once you find a speech therapy practice, ask them about speech therapists that have experience in your child’s area of need. Keeping your availability in mind, the office will work to find the best fit for you and your child.
How to get started with speech therapy: Insurance vs. private pay
You may be curious about how to start private speech therapy. We’ve covered some steps above for finding the right speech therapist for your child. Many times, a written script is needed from a pediatrician before a child can have a speech therapy evaluation. That’s another reason that talking with your pediatrician is a good first step.
How much does speech therapy cost? Does insurance cover speech therapy? No matter where you choose to go for private speech therapy, there will be payment questions to discuss. Many private speech therapy providers take a range of health insurance. It’s worth it to discuss all your options with the company you choose.
There are pros and cons to using insurance or paying for speech therapy yourself. The greatest benefit to using health insurance, of course, is that it saves you money. Every health plan will vary in terms of how much of the cost is covered, how long speech therapy is covered, and which speech therapists are in-network with the insurance company. However, for many families, the cost savings makes this the best option.
One of the biggest pros to “private pay” for speech therapy–which means paying for the entire cost yourself–is the freedom that comes with it. In order for insurance companies to cover speech therapy, they must decide that treatment is medically necessary. There are many areas of speech therapy that may not qualify under the definition of “medical necessity.” Perhaps a child needs to work on phonological skills that are related to academic success. Or maybe an adult wants to improve their professional speaking skills to help advance their career.
If you don’t use insurance to cover speech therapy, your treatment is between you and your speech therapist. You don’t have to wait for insurance to approve therapy, try to make sense of bills, or fight denials of coverage.
What to expect in private speech therapy
Your child’s first speech therapy appointment will likely be an evaluation. The speech therapist will assess your child’s current strengths and weaknesses in communication. If speech therapy is needed, they will create a tailor-made treatment plan specific to your child’s needs, including a range of goals to target across sessions.
Your speech therapist will make speech therapy fun by using games, crafts, books, and activities to keep your child motivated as they work toward their goals. They will also explain how you can help your child practice their new skills at home. Your speech therapist should act as your partner, welcoming your feedback and any questions you have.
If you’re considering private speech therapy, you have lots of options. We’d love to hear from you! Contact us for a free consultation to ask your questions and explore next steps. At Expressable, we’re the experts in communication, but you’re the expert on your child. Let’s help your child learn and grow together.