Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

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:

questions

  1. 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?
  2. How much apraxia experience do you have?
  3. Out of your caseload, what percentage are apraxic kids?
  4. What ages have you worked with?
  5. 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?”
  6. 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.
  7. How will you monitor my child’s progress? I love that my SLP keeps track of Jake’s correct and incorrect words each week.
  8. Do you assign homework that I can do with my child on a daily basis? 
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

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7 thoughts on “Questions to Ask a SLP Before Beginning Therapy

  1. Barbara says:

    I want to thank you for your blog. My nonverbal son is 3 1/2 and my heart aches for him. He does everything a 3 year old should do and understands everything, he just struggles to talk. Right now, we’re waiting for the insurance to come through so we can do private speech therapy as well as the school.

    We went through the early intervention program and he was placed in a half-day speech preschool. All the children in the class talk but have minor speech issues like stuttering and mild phonological disorders. I don’t think the teacher has seen anyone like my son before. The teacher is a speech therapist and does ‘group therapy’. Yesterday she mentioned getting an assisted speech device to help him communicate. I was hoping that she would actually work with him in his speech but she told me those devices help apraxic children talk. I’m so confused. Although my son loves going to school I feel like he’s not getting the individual help he needs. I feel like the teacher is ‘giving up’ on him and making it easier for herself by using this device with my son.

    I asked the school if they would pull him aside for individual therapy and they told me that they only offer group therapy. It’s as if they were saying ‘this is what we have, you signed the IEP so take it’.

    So for now, I’m waiting for that approval to go through with the insurance and collecting some funds. I was thinking of pulling him out of that classroom but I have to make sure I have a back up plan first.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Wow, thanks for sharing your story. So, your son is the same age as Jake! That’s interesting that he’s in a half-day speech preschool. Our school system doesn’t offer anything like that. I’ve actually just gotten my way with our public school surprisingly enough and next week Jake will begin individual therapy through them 1 day a week for 30 mins. I could have done 2 sessions, but our schedule is pretty tight. That will make 3 total sessions a week, however, and I am pleased with that. Long story, but they redistricted us to a new school in December with a new SLP and now after I spoke my mind, they’re sending me back to his original SLP. It can be so frustrating dealing with the public school system sometimes. You may want to check into getting grants for private therapy. I’ve never used them, but have heard of people getting them for speech.

      It’s interesting that his school recommended a speech assisted device to help him talk b/c yesterday I read 2 blog posts saying they’ve just been given that recommendation also. I’ve seen those apps, but didn’t know they were for apraxia kids. I, like you, would have the same first impression. My first reaction would be that the teacher is taking the easy way out and that he would start to rely on that to talk instead of being forced to practice sounds every moment of every day. I’m obviously not a SLP and this thing called apraxia really does puzzle me, so who knows? Check out http://www.sportymummy.blogspot.com for a post about the speech assisted app. People also had good input in the comments section. Our SLP is the president of my state’s Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has not mentioned anything like that to me. Best of luck!

      1. Barbara says:

        Well I don’t mind using something that will help my son communicate. Supposedly, those apps are used with children that are autistic or have other issues. It really helps to increase their receptive language skills, a problem that apraxic children really don’t have.

        My big problem is: what happens to the therapy? A group of kids are in a circle practicing sounds and when it’s Max’s turn he uses the device since the therapist doesn’t want to do the extra effort to get the words out of him. I find that awkward. I believe that for a case like my son, it’s like using diapers. At home I have to manipulate his mouth for a couple of days to get him to say something. I’ve been wanting to try using the Kaufman cards. Every time I mention apraxia to anyone they don’t understand as it’s such a rare disorder.

      2. tstarmom says:

        I understand and agree with you 100 percent. I’m sure you can tell by reading my posts that I LOVE Kaufman cards. I don’t have a set here at home, but I may get some. They’re so expensive! They are worth the money absolutely for therapy, but I just worry Jake wouldn’t focus on them at home. My husband has an iPad, so I’m also looking at an app for apraxia kids that I could do basic sounds/words like Kaufman and it also shows hand prompts. Hand prompts have really helped Jake get certain sounds out.

  2. Jenn says:

    This was so helpful! We definitely need to make a change as far as therapists go, and this will definitely help with that process!

  3. Samantha says:

    I just wanted to say -I think this a great list. I have a suggestion to add: Ask if they cancel their appointments a lot! After going through 3 therapists with my daughter I learned a few things for my son (who has apraxia). I would ask them how frequently they need to cancel, change or reschedule appointments. My daughter’s SLP#3 was great EXCEPT she would cancel a lot at the last minute. She was so much better than the first 2 that I was worried about finding another good one if I changed. Turns out that SLP #4 was the BEST, super smart, reliable and my son loved but she retired. Looking for #5!!

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