Saturday, July 13, 2013

S.L.P. F.A.Q.

"How long will my child be in speech?" 
"What do you do again?"
"Can we double up therapy time to speed up progress?" 
Good morning everyone! I wanted to write a post on frequently asked questions to an SLP for one major reason... they are frequently asked! This post is not just for speeches, but for teachers and parents as well. The questions I am going to address are ones that myself and many other SLPs get asked frequently. Chances are, if you are reading this as a parent or teacher, you have the same question. Hopefully this post will clear a few things up!
"What do you do again?"
My job is a speech language pathologist, not the "speech lady" or "speech teacher" (although that is what my pay stub says!) Part of my job is to help students that have trouble with articulation, or producing sounds. I also work with students that have language disorders and difficulty with age appropriate skills.  I help those that have voice disorders and difficulty with feeding and swallowing. I do more than help kids that have trouble with their /r/ sounds, I help children communicate. 

"What is the difference in speech and language therapy?"
A speech disorder refers to trouble producing speech sounds, or articulation. For example, a student may produce the word rainbow as "wainbow" or cat as "dat." Most children make some mistakes when they are young and learning letter names and sounds. It becomes an issue when it the speech error persists past a certain age. If you have concerns regarding your child or student's articulation of sounds, you are concerned with their speech. You may notice their speech affects their reading, writing, and or spelling.  These are all good reasons to seek out the professional opinion of a speech language pathologist. A language disorder has nothing to do with the way a student produces speech sounds when communicating. If a child has a language disorder, they have difficulty demonstrating age appropriate skills. This may include, but is not limited to, vocabulary, following directions, comprehension of verbal and/or written information, understanding questions, answering questions, and expressing their ideas clearly. 

"My 3 year old cannot say his /r/ sounds should I be worried?"
Like all child development, speech sounds develop in a certain order. Certain sounds develop at a certain age, and it isn't usually something to be worried about unless it persists past a certain age. For example, the /r/ sound should be developed by age 6. So if a 3 year old cannot produce the /r/ sound, it is not something to be concerned with at this time. However, I will say the early intervention has proven to be successful but that is based on a personal decision between you and your therapist. 
Below is a speech sound development chart that I found on the Mommy Speech Therapy blog that may be helpful for questions like this. 

"What classwork and school subjects will my student miss while in therapy?"
In my district, we have "no touch" times. This means that therapists are not allowed to take students out of certain subjects for therapy. This includes reading, math, and specials (PE, music, art, etc.) While this does not leave therapists with much window of pull out time, this ensures that your child will not miss these subjects. The other option, is inclusion therapy. With this model, the therapist goes into the classroom to work with your child.

"Can you work with my child before/after school instead of during the day?"
No. I have asked this question to my supervisor before because my caseload was growing and I was told no. Students need to be seen during school hours only (bell to bell). In addition, a teacher's time before and after school is precious conference, IEP writing, and planning time. 

"My child qualifies for speech at a private clinic and my doctor write me a prescription for speech. When can he start receiving therapy at school?"
School based therapy and private practice therapy often have very different qualification procedures. Even if your pediatrician has written a prescription for therapy, that doest guarantee services. The school district needs to see if your child qualifies based on their own criteria. In my district, a student needs to receive a certain score on a standardized test and demonstrate that their speech/ language disorder is affecting them academically. The state will not allow students to be pulled out of class for therapy if their speech/language disorder is not affecting them in the classroom. 


"How long will my child be in speech?"
This is probably the most frequently asked question that an SLP is asked. The answer, unfortunately,  is not a clear one. Each child is different and each child's rate of success is different. There are, however,  some factors that I have learned that do contribute to a faster success rate. One is coming to therapy on a regular basis. Frequent absences do not help your child's progress in speech. When working in the schools, I always tried to communicate with parents what days/time their child would be coming to speech. With this information,  hopefully parents would take this into consideration when scheduling activities and/or doctors appointments. Another success factor is completing homework and practicing skills at home. When a child only practices skills in the speech room, they usually stay in the speech room. Kind of like, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" but not as fun. I have often conferenced with teachers to find that my "90% accuracy" in the speech room kiddo does not carry over any skills into the classroom or home. 

Please feel free to post any questions you frequently get asked or questions you are curious about! Have a wonderful weekend!

3 comments:

  1. Great list! I just cannot believe that you are not allowed to take kids out of reading, math, OR specials!! That must make scheduling a nightmare!! I feel for you!

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    1. We are unable to take kids from literacy, or math times either. Each class has an hr block dedicated to each of these subjects. I am able to push in during these times though (thankfully!). We also have 30 minute RTI blocks for both literacy and math, and I am not allowed to use that as service time AT ALL. When I went through classroom schedules for next year, I have one 30 min block in each class that I can use for pull out next year! Definitely challenging! I will be doing a LOT more push in Tx for sure :)

      Great post Kristin! Thank you so much for posting this! :)

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  2. Love this post-so much useful information! So true how public education has different qualifiers for therapy than private practice. Thanks for sharing!
    Allison's Speech Peeps

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