Finding the right SLP is KEY to beginning your fight with this disorder.
I know that finding the best speech therapy for your child isn’t easy. Certain criteria make it easier or more difficult for all of us. Where we live, money, insurance, marital status, and careers all tilt the scales. But, one common thread that we all share is that we are mothers who desperately love our children and want nothing but the very best for them.
Many of us already have a therapist who is meeting all of our goals and expectations, but some people are just starting the journey. Iwas quite green when I first started talking to SLPs, but after we had four in one year, I gained some experience in this area.
In the beginning, I didn’t have a clue what to ask! Besides the obvious questions, you can probably get answered on the internet, like how much education and experience they have, I asked these basic questions the last time I went on my search and found success:
- What kind of testing do you do? I already had a formal evaluation from my public school SLP when I sought additional private therapy sessions. Therefore, I asked if I needed to have another test done. My current private SLP said yes. At that point, after almost a year of getting the run-around from everyone, I welcomed another expert opinion. After all, if they don’t do their own evaluation and agree to start therapy ASAP, steer clear. How can they begin treating something if they don’t know what they’re up against?
- How much apraxia experience do you have?
- Out of your caseload, what percentage are apraxic kids?
- What ages have you worked with?
- What kind of therapy will we be doing? I asked this question to my group of SLP candidates and waited for their response before I specifically asked, “Do you work with Kaufman cards?”, “Are you trained in PROMPT?”, and “Do you use hand cues?”
- What do you typically do in a therapy session? I wanted someone who would recognize that my child wasn’t being stimulated and therefore, move to another activity if one wasn’t working.
- How will you monitor my child’s progress? I love that my SLP keeps track of Jake’s correct and incorrect words each week.
- Do you assign homework that I can do with my child on a daily basis?
- My child is also in public school therapy. It is important to me that both therapists coordinate their efforts. Would you be willing to consult with our public school therapist and let her know what your game plan is?
- Do you have any openings for weekly sessions? What kind of times do you have available? I never realized how tight SLPs schedules are until I started trying to work therapy times into my already busy schedule.
- Last, but not least – Money! – What is the cost for the evaluation and for 30 minute sessions? Based on my experience, most evaluations are about $200 and sessions $65.
I hope these questions help you and pray that you find a SLP that is a good fit for you and your child. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that SLPs are like us moms – no two are made alike. They have different personalities, different approaches, some use a stern voice, some talk baby talk, some spend half the session talking about themselves, some are strict, and some are lenient. Your goal should be to find someone who has experience with apraxia, who also connects well with you and your child. You should also see results and feel comfortable enough with them to talk to them if you don’t.
For a list of SLPs in your area, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website by clicking here.