Should I Supplement School-Based Therapy with Private Therapy?
There are a number of special services that are available to children through their school and speech therapy is one of them. Some children are able to make great progress with speech therapy at school. However, there are some significant differences in what the types of speech therapies can offer, and some children may need to supplement school therapy with private speech therapy sessions.
School-based speech therapy is meant to provide support to your child in an academic environment. Therapy goals will address speech and language skills that are directly related to academic areas and that directly impact their ability to access or participate in their curriculum. This can include areas like articulation, which can impact reading and spelling, and language, which can impact vocabulary and writing. Private speech therapy differs in that it is designed to support your child’s success in the home environment and everyday life. Goals are generated based on what is important to the family and child, and what will help them in day-to-day life.
One major difference between school-based therapy and private therapy is the ways in which children qualify for services. A child can begin receiving private speech therapy services whenever an evaluation shows that any aspect of the child’s communication development is below age-level expectations. Speech therapists in schools are required to follow state-mandated eligibility guidelines when qualifying children for services. In order to qualify for school-based speech therapy services, the evaluation must prove that the child’s communication needs are directly affecting the child’s educational performance and their ability to succeed in the classroom. It is important for parents to understand that even if a child is demonstrating deficits in communication, it’s possible for the student to be found ineligible for school-based services because they do not meet the eligibility criteria for school-based services, whereas private speech therapy services can be initiated at that time based on therapist recommendation.
Even if your child qualifies for school-based speech therapy services, we recommend supplementing school-based therapy with private therapy services. Here are just a few reasons why:
More therapy means more opportunities for your child to practice and improve on their skills. Sometimes, working on a skill once, maybe twice, a week is not enough for some children. Supplementing school-based therapy with private therapy services allows your child to have more frequent and consistent therapy across the week, which can lead to faster progress.
In a school setting, children often receive group speech therapy sessions with other children, and these services take place during the school day. Private speech therapy offers a more focused and personalized approach through 1:1 therapy services where the child has the therapist’s full and undivided attention.
Private therapy can offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling and location. School-based therapy sessions are scheduled during school hours, which means that your child will miss classroom instruction and time with their peers. Private speech therapy services are scheduled at a time that is convenient for the child and their family and, depending on the services you search for, can be provided in the home, in a clinic, or another mutual location.
Finally, private speech therapy offers continuous interaction with your child’s speech-language pathologist. A private speech therapist may be more easily accessible to discuss treatment plans, progress, and strategies. There is also often time to speak to a private speech therapist at the end of the session and even opportunities to sit in on the session. These benefits may allow for more carryover and ideas to help your child at home.
While school-based therapy is an excellent resource for children to help improve their communication skills, private therapy offers several advantages that can enhance and complement the services provided by your child’s school. By supplementing school-based therapy with private therapy, you are more likely to see faster progress and better outcomes.
Whether your child is already receiving school-based speech therapy services or not, we are here to help. If you have concerns about your child’s speech or language skills, we can complete an evaluation to identify your child’s strengths and needs and develop an individualized plan of care. Contact us to schedule an evaluation.