What Does a Private Speech Therapy Session Look Like?
Kristin Park, MS CCC-SLP
It is very normal to have tons of questions when your child first qualifies for speech therapy services. The paperwork, scheduling, and evaluation process alone can be enough to overwhelm parents. Often, more questions come to mind long after the intake session has ended. Below is some information to answer some of the more frequently asked questions regarding speech therapy at Premiere Speech and Hearing
As you read on, it is important to remember:
- There is no universal therapy approach
- There is no universal therapy schedule
- There is no universal Speech-Language Pathologist!
- No two therapy sessions will look identical, even if two children have the same general needs/goals. There are many, many factors that play a role in your child’s therapy design.
Who Provides Speech Therapy At Premiere?
A certified, licensed, and credentialed Speech-Language Pathologist will deliver speech and language therapy services. You can check out our staff any time on our website under the “About → Our Staff” tab.
Where Does Therapy Take Place?
Therapy takes place in our office. Beyond our waiting room, we have private therapy rooms equipped with toys and materials for speech therapy sessions.
What Is The Frequency Of Speech Therapy Sessions?
Many factors determine how often your child will have speech therapy sessions including:
- Age of child
- Severity of the speech/language delay/disorder
- Type of speech/language delay/disorder
- Any co-existing issues/disorders (such as ADHD, Autism, physical disabilities, etc)
Generally speaking, children at Premiere Speech and Hearing receive speech therapy anywhere between twice a month to twice a week.
How Long Are The Sessions?
At Premiere, sessions are generally 30 minutes at a time, with some exceptions. Exceptions may include times when a child is not feeling well and needs to end the session early, or perhaps not tolerating therapy on a particularly difficult day. Through our years of experience working with children, we have found that 30 minutes is the ideal length for a speech therapy session. This provides sufficient time for teaching and practicing skills, while also ensuring adequate attention and participation from the child
Will My Child Have Individual Sessions? What Are Speech Consultations?
Children will typically receive speech therapy in the following ways:
- Individual sessions: This is when your child receives therapy 1:1 with an SLP and no other children are there. This is a common setup for most early intervention and private practice services.
- Consultation services: This is a type of indirect service model where the SLP does not work directly with your child, but rather consults with the professionals who DO work with the child and discuss/teach those professionals the ways to work with your child to help him succeed (this is important for generalization of skills). This may occur when a child is ready to transition out of individual, direct services.
Can I Observe/Participate In The Sessions?
This is addressed on a case-by-case basis in our office. Most of the time, parents can observe a session here and there to watch, learn and use the strategies your child is being taught in the session. Depending on the age of the child, sessions are often conducted with just the child and the therapist in the room. This tends to minimize distractions and allow the therapist to fully immerse the child in the therapeutic process. We encourage all parents to talk to your child’s SLP to find out how you can be involved in your child’s sessions.
How Do You Come Up With Goals?
Your child’s SLP will determine goals for your child’s speech and language needs. You, as parents, will have an opportunity to discuss these goals and agree to a plan of treatment. Goals are based on many factors including:
- Your child’s present levels of functioning in all areas of development
- Your child’s specific type of speech/language impairment
- The severity of that impairment
- Any co-existing issues your child has
Expected time frames for mastery of goals depends on the child’s specific needs, but generally they are written in intervals of 3, 6, or 12 months. This may differ from other speech therapy settings. For example, in the school setting, goals are written as part of the Individualized Education Plan and are written for yearly intervals.
Does Premiere Do Progress Reports? How Often?
This will depend on the therapist your child works with. Usually, progress summaries can be written every 3 to 6 months or so. At this point, goals can be added, modified, or discontinued based on the progress. For some insurance plans, progress reports need to be written every X number of sessions in order to be approved for additional sessions.
What Do Speech Therapy Sessions Actually LOOK Like?
Like everything else, the sessions themselves will look different depending on all the variables already discussed. However, here are some basic things you may see in a session:
- Sessions will typically have a beginning, middle and an end.
- Sessions may start with a review of the last session or review of homework.
- There will be activities set up and often these are play-based (especially for younger children).
- The SLP will work with the child on their goals in various ways through the play-based activities.
- At the end, concepts worked on may be reviewed and homework may be assigned OR if the child is very young, session goals and homework will be addressed with the parent.
- Some speech sessions will require the parent to be very involved and hands-on. This is especially true for younger children.
What Does Speech Therapy Homework Entail?
Most of the time, there will be some kind of homework/home practice for either your child or for you. Especially for younger children, it is critical for parents and family to be involved in the home practice. Your child’s success is very dependent upon the adults in their life helping them learn and use language. For older children, there most likely will be some kind of home practice on a weekly basis. Home practice is very important for your child’s progress!
How Long Will My Child Need Speech Therapy?
This is another answer that depends on all the variables already discussed. There is not a universal therapy schedule or duration. All children learn at different paces. Not all speech or language disorders can be corrected at the same pace. In general, speech therapy is not a “quick fix”. Our goal at Premiere is to identify the child’s needs, teach new skills, and ensure generalization of skills across all communication settings in a child’s life. We aim to make lifelong changes. As a frame of reference, mild speech/language issues may be resolved in 6-12 months, whereas children with more severe disabilities may need therapy for several years.
Yen, K. (2013, July 3). Retrieved from http://www.playingwithwords365.com/what-you-can-expect-from-speech-therapy-a-guide-for-parents-part-five-the-ins-and-outs-of-speech-therapy/