All certified speech-language pathologists must have a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, be licensed, and meet the requirements of the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association (ASHA. So, whether your child receives care at school, a private setting or both, he or she will receive professional care. Thus, many parents ask, “Why should we consider private, medically based speech-language pathology (SLP) instead of free services offered at school? The answer really depends on your child’s individual speech-language needs and parent preferences. Here’s a quick look at the major differences.

CRITERIASCHOOL THERAPY SETTINGPRIVATE THERAPY SETTING
SLP QualificationMust have a disability that affects academic and social well-being and demonstrates need for services based on state test scores, teacher observation, and parent/student consultationsNo qualification although student should show need for therapy; focus on developing strong communications skills in all areas of life
DocumentationInitial evaluation with progress reports at each grading period; reevaluation every three yearsInitial evaluation with progress reports provided at least every three months with reevaluation every 6-12 months
Parent MeetingsUsually reviews are conducted every 12 months, and parents can discuss progress during scheduled conferencesReviews usually held at end of each session with notes to summarize progress and focus of next visit
PersonalizationSessions vary based on availability of therapist, student needs, and school schedule; some individual sessions as well as group sessionsSessions usually conducted one-on-one with social group interaction if warranted
SessionsUsually 1-3 times per week, 15-30 minutes per session; students usually pulled out of classBased on child’s needs, but typically 1-3 times per week, 30-60 minutes per session; therapy usually conducted in office, at child’s home, or other setting that benefits the child
AvailabilityOnly during school year; not available during school holidays or summer Available as needed
CostFree in public schoolsFee-for-service; sessions may be fully or partially covered by insurance

Some parents find that school therapy is sufficient. However, many notice faster results when a child works with a private speech-language pathologist or a combination of both school and private therapy. To decide which is right for your family, consider the following questions.

  1. Is your child ineligible for speech-language pathology at school?
  2. Has your child’s progress been insufficient with school-based therapy?
  3. Do your child’s needs surpass the limitations of the school’s SLP program?
  4. Is your child distracted by a school setting and would benefit from therapy in another setting?
  5. Does your child respond better to individualized treatment?
  6. Is your child embarrassed to leave class or cannot afford to miss classroom instruction?
  7. Would you prefer speech therapy be private rather than part of your child’s school record?
  8. Would you like more SLP communication, progress reports and updates?
  9. Would you like therapy to continue year-round without interruption?
  10. Would you prefer to select your child’s therapist based on qualifications or specialty?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, your child may benefit from working with a therapist at LKN Speech-Language Pathology. We welcome students of all ages, including students who are already receiving speech therapy at school but need a boost. To schedule an evaluation, call 704-614-0338 or email us.