When it comes to speech therapy services, the difference between school-based and private therapy may be confusing. Some parents wonder, why would my child need private therapy if they are getting school therapy- or vice versa.
It is important to understand the difference and importance of each service delivery.
School-based speech therapy includes the following:
- Individualized Education Plan (IEP) – If your child is receiving speech and/or language services at school, they are on an IEP. In order to qualify for an IEP, a student must be demonstrating a deficit or disorder significant enough to have an impact on their academic learning. The special education team can include the following people depending on services considered necessary: special education teachers, a psychologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, school administration, general education teachers, speech language pathologist, and the parents. In order for a child to qualify for speech/language services, they need to have a certain score during evaluation as well as demonstrating an academic impact.
- Group Therapy – Typically in the school setting, your child will get speech services in a group setting. There are some instances where children are serviced individually depending on their severity and/or behaviors.
- Direct versus Indirect Therapy – Direct therapy includes direct contact with the student to focus on goals. Indirect therapy (or consult) includes monitoring a child to make sure they are progressing academically. They may or may not have goals in this situation. The SLP will typically work with the child’s teacher to help them implement speech/language enriched activities in the classroom.
Private Practice-based therapy includes the following:
- Private facility – Private practice therapy is carried out at a private clinic or outpatient setting.
- Qualifications – Children who do not qualify at school, as well as children who do qualify at school, may qualify in a private clinic. A private clinic is beneficial for both groups, but particularly it helps students who may “fall through the cracks” in the school setting if they have low scores, but not quite low enough.
- Individual therapy – Typically, private therapy is carried out as direct therapy with one-on-one contact with the child. This is beneficial in that the therapist is able to target more goals and is able to get more out of one session.
- Caregivers have direct contact with therapist after each session – A huge benefit of private-based therapy is that caregivers have direct contact with the therapist after each session. A lot of the times, caregivers are also in the treatment room, depending on the child. This helps the caregivers learn to generalize the skills to the home setting.