When a child has a speech or language development issue, private speech therapists have the potential to work wonders. Particularly when identified and addressed at the earliest possible stage, the vast majority of common problems and disorders can be treated very effectively. But at the same time, all of this is 100% dependent on whether or not the right speech therapist is chosen in the first place.
This is something that can be easier said than done, when you consider the fact that there are literally thousands of speech therapists available all gunning for the same business. And of course, every single one of them will tell you that they are the perfect person for the job. As such, it’s your job to work out which ones make the grade for your own child’s case, along with those you’d be wise to walk away from.
So with this in mind, what follows is a brief overview of just a few tips for ensuring you select the very best private speech therapist for your child:
Areas of Expertise
First of all, it’s a good idea to show a preference to those who specialise in specific areas, as opposed to those who generalise a little too much. For example, if your child has been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, it simply makes sense to work with the therapist with unrivalled experience in this particular area. Likewise, if it has come to your attention that your child appears to be struggling with a stammer, there are plenty of specialists out there who focus on stammer treatment. While it’s not to say that you cannot work with a therapist with multiple competences, it is nonetheless important to ensure that your particular field is one in which they have outstanding experience and expertise. If unsure, don’t be afraid to ask for evidence of their background.
Experience and background
Speaking of which, you might also want to think about checking exactly how long they have been doing what they do. While it’s true to say that experience alone does not breed professionalism or expertise, it is nonetheless an important component in the overall package. After all, a freshly-qualified newcomer with little practical experience is unlikely to offer the same quality of service as a dedicated industry veteran with decades of experience behind them. They’ll usually make it clear with regard to how long they’ve been in business and exactly what kind of experience they have. But if this isn’t the case, feel free to ask and accept nothing other than a clear and spiel-free answer.
Location and Convenience
The very worst thing any parent can do when it comes to speech and language treatment courses is to any way make the process an unpleasant chore. It needs to be kept as convenient, pleasant and positive as possible at all times, in order for your child to gain the maximum possible benefit. This in turn means that you need to be mindful when it comes to the physical location of the therapist’s office, not to mention how convenient or otherwise it is for you to get there. If it is an absolute nightmare for you to travel where you need to be, you are inherently going to view the entire process as something inconvenient and unpleasant. So while it’s of crucial importance to ensure that the therapist you choose is the best available to you, they also need to be comprehensively accessible at the same time.
Feedback and Recommendations
Generally speaking, speech and language therapists with a glowing track record and plenty of feedback from past and present clients cannot wait to show them off to newcomers. There’s really nothing more reassuring than seeing the genuine, impartial and fully transparent recommendations of other parents just like you. It’s comparatively rare these days to find a speech and language therapist for which there isn’t plenty of feedback doing the rounds online. So before making a final decision, take the time to find out what others just like you have had to say about them and their services.
Your Gut Feeling
Last but not least, try to remember that if you do not have total confidence in and respect for your chosen therapist, it will be fundamentally impossible to get the most out of their services. As such, if for whatever the reason your gut tells you that this isn’t the service provider for you, you need no additional justification to walk away. Many speech and language therapists have their own unique styles and approaches to the provision of therapy – some of which you’ll click with, others you’ll find not entirely to your liking. Given the importance of what’s at stake, it simply makes sense to continue the search until you find a therapist you are truly happy with.