I actually had the opposite experience, so I don't think private therapy is necessarily better. I think it's just a matter of finding the right fit.
Even though my son qualified for OT and ST through EI based on his needs, we had to pay 100% based on our income (up to 5% of our gross annual, and then they'd cover). So I figured if we were paying anyway, I'd take him to the best clinic in town and not limit myself to the EI therapists. Well, it was at the best of times acceptable and at the worst of times (which was pretty much all the time with the OT) completely counterproductive. Once he started with the school when he turned three, and I saw how good things could be, I dropped the private therapists like hot potatoes. The therapists through the school are awesome.
I think of you have the means to afford some private ST, it's worth checking out. But don't assume just because you're paying that they are going to be better. If it's possible, do a little research first, maybe get some recommendations, and talk to the therapists first about their methods and style. One good thing about paying though is it probably changes the dynamic a bit and makes it easier to express expectations.
My DD had private speech therapy and our insurance paid for most of it. Check your plan and see what is covered, or see if you can do with pre-tax dollars through a health savings account.
We had a good experience, but even though we went private, we still had a long wait to get started.
but everything has pros and cons
We do private and EI but are transitioning to school based services since he turns 3 next month. My private therapist is better then our EI one and the SLP at the speech playgroup he also attends. Everyone has a different style and technique but he has by far has made the greatest progress with her. When we went private, she has just had a family stop services and didn't have a waiting list then so we got right in with her one open slot, now she has a waiting list. I've been wanting to switch our time slot since we started with her in Sept and haven't been able to yet. My insurance does not cover it so it is $70.00 a week out of pocket but has been worth it.
We've had private speech and we've had speech therapists at school. Some years the school therapist is far better than the private speech therapist. We have a great SLP this year at school so we completely dropped the private speech.
We have done both and still do. We loved the speech therapist through EI BUT with budget cuts our son was only give 2 hours a week when he really needed a lot more. So we went to the local university that has a speech therapy department and the students work with my son and are overseen by the head therapists. It has worked out wonderfully! And it's only 150$ for 3 months of therapy.
Cassie, mom to Alex(7), Aidan(5), Andrew(4)
I saw your posting and felt an obligation to comment. I am a Speech Therapist and a mother. I work full-time in the public school system and I also work at a skilled nursing facility. Unfortunately your story is not un-common. Like with any profession, a degree does not make you "good" at what you do. If you are looking for a qualified speech therapist you want someone who is Nationally certified. You can do this by going to the American Speech and Hearing Association website (www.asha.com) and search for providers. They should always have a masters degree and "CCC" after their name. Another option is to investigate local colleges and see if they have a graduate program in "Speech Pathology" or "Communication Disorders". Often times they have an on-campus clinic where graduate students provide services under the supervision of certified clinician's. The fees are as low as $15.00/ week. The services are typically exceptional. You can also speak with your local public school. Often times the therapists also provide private services outside of school (I do this as well). Ask to speak with other clients. You want to look for someone who is up-to-date on current research and methadology. While public schools don't pay a ton of money they still offer great therapists. You need to find someone who does it for the right reasons. This is a second career for me and I love what I do. I wish you the best of luck in your search.
I hope you find what you are looking for to help your little one!
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