You’ve realized that your child’s speech isn’t as developed as it should be. There are a variety of reasons for children to need speech therapy. They may have significantly delayed speech, difficulty making certain sounds, or other problems. If you decide that speech therapy is right for your child, then the next step is to pick the right speech therapist for your child.
Here are some tips for picking the right speech therapist for you and your child. These have been learned through experience as my daughter has seen multiple speech therapists for the past two years.
Do Your Research
Find out about several potential speech therapists in advance. Make sure to find out what their experience and specialties are. If, for example, they specialize in helping older children with stutters, then they may not be the best choice for your speech delayed toddler. Look for someone with extra experience that will help them to meet the specific needs of your child. Also be sure to check with previous patients. Look online and see if you can find any reviews about them.
No matter how much you like a speech therapist, if their prices are way out of your budget and/or they are located extremely far away, then they probably aren’t a practical choice. Unfortunately, you need to be the parent and consider the practical issues surrounding your child in speech therapy. Find out how much they charge (and what is included in that price), how often and at what times they have appointments available, etc.
Coordinate With School/Preschool
One of the reasons that we are so happy with my daughter’s current speech therapist is that this therapist has an excellent relationship with my daughter’s school. She knows many of the teachers and all of the special needs/language coordinators and administrators at the school. Furthermore, she communicates regularly with the school to set targets and practice activities so that my daughter’s speech therapy can be reinforced in her weekly sessions, in school, and at home. Find out about whether there are specific therapists that work with your child’s school, or if a separate therapist is willing to coordinate with the school.
It is important to meet with the speech therapist before committing to them. Each child is different. No matter how good a therapist seems in theory, you need to make sure that they are the right match for you and your child. Make sure that your child is comfortable with them, and that they will work well with your child. It may be that this therapist is particularly patient and gentle, and so will work well with a particularly shy child. Or they may be funny and able to hold the attention of easily distracted children. Make sure that there is a good relationship between your family and your potential speech therapist.
Don’t be afraid to contact a potential speech therapist and ask them questions. Ask them what kind of activities they use in speech, for example. You can make sure that their approach will be the best one for the needs of your child.