What’s Critical When Looking for Speech Therapy
From Colorado Springs, CO

Ask a Speech Therapist

Rikki DeGrove
By: Sprout Therapy Services,

Everyone wants what is best for their child, but when it comes to choosing a speech-language pathologist and facility/clinic for them, determining the best can be tricky.

Your pediatrician referred you somewhere for speech therapy, but how do you know it is good choice? How do you know their therapists are experienced and effective? Doctors offices sometimes refer based on whomever was top-of-mind or because they take your insurance, but there are other critical factors to consider.

A great speech pathology experience comes down to two main factors: 1) The facility/clinic, 2) The therapist.

The Facility/Clinic

How are you treated by the office staff? You might love the therapists, but dealing with a moody receptionist every time you call could get old. If it’s a small clinic with no office staff, does the therapist do a good job scheduling appointments, answering the phone/text, etc?

Is there a focus on your child’s needs? Do you feel the facility/clinic is there to meet your child’s needs, or simply get them into therapy? Now, getting your child into therapy ASAP might be what they need, but does the facility/clinic make an effort to focus on all their needs? Even referring to other therapists or facilities when appropriate?

Do they help you understand the cost and any challenges you might face with insurance? Are they clear about out-of-pocket costs you might be responsible for, or simply leave you in the dark and mail you a big invoice months later? Health insurance coverage for speech therapy is often confusing and problematic. But, a good facility/clinic will keep you apprised of any insurance problems and any unexpected out-of-pocket costs you might be responsible for.

The Speech-Language Pathologist

What credentials does your therapist hold? First and foremost, make sure to only work with a Speech-Language Pathologist who is licensed by the state and holds the ASHA (American Speech-Language Hearing Association) Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). This ensures your therapist has been properly educated and meets the standards of the state and national association.

Do you know which therapist your child will see? Think about it: the speech-language pathologist will be, in most situations, the sole person evaluating, planning and implementing the treatment they believe will help your child. Not every child needs the most experienced therapists in their city. For common issues, a newer therapist might be appropriate. More complex challenges might call for a therapist with experience and competency in a particular area. Either way, the facility/clinic should, at minimum, share a little about the therapist your child will be seeing and you should feel free to ask questions about them.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself After you Call a Clinic.

We all have to be careful not to judge a book by its cover. One, or even two, calls to a clinic/facility will not provide you every insight you need judge what your speech pathology experience will be like. Still, we believe the following 5 questions can go a long way in helping you evaluate:

After talking to a clinic/facility, ask yourself:

1. Did the they explain things well on the phone and answer all your questions?

2. Did the they take a few minutes on the phone to understand you or your doctor’s concerns, or only rush to set up an evaluation?

3. Did the they gather basic information about your health insurance? Also, did they follow up with requirements of your insurance, like pre-authorization and/or a doctor referral?

4. Did the they clearly explain any out-of-pocket costs you will or might face?

5. Did they share, even a little bit, about the therapist your child will see?

Speech therapy is an important service for many children, and is typically a positive (and even fun!) experience. A great clinic or therapist will strive to provide excellent care for your child!