Back to School with a New Speech Therapist

Posted on 22. Aug, 2012 by in Main Blog, Speech Therapy

 

Back to School with a New Speech Therapist

Summer is coming to a close, and we are all gearing up to go back to school.  What do you do about private services and/or transitioning back to school based services?  My opinion?  Private services offer more individualized and impactful one on one time. Don’t get me wrong, speech therapy intervention in the schools is worthwhile and can, and will, make a difference.  I say keep them both around throughout the school year.

Having worked in the schools myself, and still do on a contractual basis, I am the same therapist no matter what the location, but I see that my techniques make more of a difference in the private sector with full attention and direct access to parents.  Schools have the advantage of seeing a child in their school environment and how the child interacts with peers.  School based services and private interventions are two different animals, whether we like to admit it or not.  If you and your child require extra support, keep the momentum going year round.  With my private clients, I will sometimes suggest every-other-week therapy sessions to bolster what they are doing at school, while taking less time out of your hectic after school schedules.

Regardless of whether or not you continue with private therapy year-round, there are a few rules of thumb that should always be followed at summer’s end…

Have your therapists talk to each other!  Facilitating open communication between all of the professionals involved in your son or daughter’s care is essential.  This may involve signing a ‘Release of Information’ form at both your school and private provider’s office.  This will allow information to be shared as needed and allow for a better continuum of care, with no extra work on your part.

Encourage therapists to work on and determine functional goals.  Working with families, teachers, intervention specialists, counselors, etc., to determine what your real life needs are will generate more functional therapy goals.  This will make speech therapy more worthwhile and relevant…  Why would it matter if your child could provide an antonym for a given word in 80% of trials if he can’t be understood or have the social skills to make friends?

This is the perfect time for progress reporting or updated annual evaluations.  While the schools offer re-evaluations every three years, your private clinic will offer them annually.  And, (depending on your carrier) insurance will actually pay for them once per year!  Some insurance carriers also require them to continue with private therapies and to authorize further visits.  At least ask for an end of summer progress report to be handed off to your school’s intervention team and school’s Speech Language Pathologist to let them know what ground was covered throughout the summer.

The end-of-summer transition doesn’t need to be a hassle.  It can actually be a helpful and welcomed change!

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