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  • Speech and Language Therapy for Children

    Experts in the Schools or Private settings?

    Pediatric Speech Diagnosis

    Our expert speech pathologists are proactive.  They will go much more in depth when working with your child than school-based or other publicly-funded providers are allowed to.

    Why?  The answer is, we are private providers so nobody tells us what we can or cannot assess or treat.  We mean nothing disparaging about therapists in schools.  They work HARD.  They have BIG workloads.  They are CREATIVE.  They are INNOVATIVE.  We are glad they do what they do, it’s essential.  We collaborate with school-based SLPs all the time.  However, we don’t want parents to fall for the common  misperception about speech therapy in the schools.  School-based therapists are typically required to “qualify” a child under pre-determined guidelines that they did not make themselves.  They are not as easily able to open up a therapy session to you or other concerned caregivers so you can learn how to support your child at home.  At times the therapists are unable to be as comprehensive with the goals as they would like to be.  They may be limited by time in therapy, by having to group children, or by the fact that some of the needed goals fall outside of the criteria.  Both federal and state guidelines determine who meets the required criteria for “eligibility” for services in schools, rather than what that individual child may need. 

    Some therapists even believe that if they tell you about a concern they observe that it implies that the school is now “liable” or “responsible” for providing the therapy, so they are not always comfortable being forthcoming with what other care your child may benefit from.   Most speech, language or swallowing skills determined to interfere with academic skills are typically covered, while the rest may be deemed “medical” and be referred back for private provider (insurance-covered) care.  Unfortunately, too many insurance reviewers look at a child’s age as the criteria. If they see a child is over the age of 3, they say the services are covered in the schools and so insurance will deny as “not medically necessary”.   Too many families bounce back and forth in this zone.  When you call us, our therapists ask if you’ve had your child evaluated in the schools. If you say no, we advise you to pursue it.  It’s a free evaluation and if your child qualifies, he/she deserves the benefit of public services.  Another little-known fact:  Most public schools provide evaluations for children ages 2;6 and older, and treatment services for ages 3-21.

    Our only qualifying criteria are these: there is a measurable problem in communication or swallowing, there is adequate support for follow through with our recommendations, and there is a reasonable expectation that improvements can be made via our evaluation process and treatment methods. We offer therapy to supplement your child’s school services, to pick up where the school and insurance services don’t meet, and we can provide care in any setting important to your child.  You can participate, grandparents can.  Any concerned caregiver can be a part of our dynamic therapy process.  We can attend school-based IEP meetings, we can facilitate communication during peer-play.  There are lots of branches of communication we can address.  If you child has been made eligible for school-based care, we urge you to stay connected.  We think that private care has a role as the supplemental care provider.   If your child doesn’t recieve school based care and you have concerns about that, contact us today!

    Is it Too Early to Evaluate?

    A child of any age can be evaluated, from birth on.  In addition to typical speech and oral-motor skills, there are known pre-speech behaviors which must occur before a child begins to speak. Some of these include babbling, jargon, turn taking, imitation, and other social-pragmatic skills.  That’s why advice to “wait” can be harmful.  Even some pediatricians say “wait”.  We say “why wait?”  It’s precious development time you can’t get back.  Some children are considered “at risk” for speech/language problems due to an underlying diagnosis. These children should be evaluated at the time of the diagnosis and monitored regularly per the Speech/Language Pathologist’s instructions.

    The earlier a child can be identified as needing support, the better the outcomes. Some pediatricians advise a parent to “wait till 24 months” (when a child should have two-word sentences already well established) but this can be valuable time lost in speech and language acquistion and brain development. Contact us, we have expert experience with infants and toddlers.

    Pediatric Speech Assessment Diagnoses & Intervention Services

    We provide expert assessment, diagnosis and intervention services for pediatrics (ages infant to 21) with a variety of needs including: speech disorders, motor speech (apraxia), articulation and phonology, voice disorders, language comprehension disorder and/or language expression disorder, cognitive-communication disorders resulting from brain injury, developmental delay, Autism spectrum disorders, swallowing disorders, and social-communicative (pragmatic) disorders.

    “I used to feel so guilty for my son’s lack of development. I’ve learned to be more accepting of my child’s differences and to celebrate the small victories. We both understand the whole behavior situation better because we take turns in his speech therapy sessions.”
    – Parents of 2 1/2 year old boy with developmental concerns after two and a half months of speech and language therapy