Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any other questions that need answers, please do not hesitate to contact Mayra Cramer at (844) 773-2249 or (844) SPEACHY.
At what age can a speech language pathologist begin working with a child?
Newborns with pre-diagnosed congenital problems may have communication-related needs from birth, and a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is part of a neonatal multidisciplinary team. We often work with infants and toddlers at an early age (12-24 months) in areas such as swallowing and feeding, hearing and listening, oral-motor and speech, and attention and socialization.
How do I know if my child has a speech or language delay?
You don’t necessarily know for sure. A speech-language pathologist can help you answer this question. Some red flags that might lead you to seek a consult or screening are:
- The child’s skills are immature compared to others in his playgroup or preschool.
- Family members or friends alert you to differences that they observe.
- The child’s developmental pattern is unusual compared to others his age.
- There is a family history of speech, language, or learning problems.
- There have been health issues, such as ear infections, which can impact communication.
Where can I get more information on what a speech therapist can do for my child?
Two good references/websites to begin with are: www.CSHA.org (California Speech-Language-Hearing Association) and www.asha.org (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). For further websites, please check the Resources page.
How do I know if a speech language pathologist is qualified?
A fully-qualified speech-language pathologist must have a master’s degree from an accredited program, maintain a California speech pathology license, and hold a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Speech language pathology assistants (SLPA) must hold a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology or Communicative Disorders from an accredited educational institution OR hold an Associate of Arts or Sciences Degree in Speech-Language Pathology Assistant from a Board approved SLPA program. SLPA’s must also maintain a California speech language pathology assistant license. Many of our staff also have experience and advanced training in specialty areas.
What is the difference between a speech language pathologist and a speech language pathology assistant?
California approved a program to train SLPAs in order to help SLPs do their jobs. Just as dentists have assistants, SLPs now have SLPAs. The SLPA does not have to be directly observed during every treatment session by the supervising SLP. The SLP may opt to occasionally sit in on a treatment session to observe progress and make changes to treatment plans when needed. SLPA’s can:
- Perform screening tests
- Provide therapy following a written plan established by the SLP
- Help with scheduling patients, ordering supplies and filing information
- Help with research activities
- Give diagnostic tests or interpret results
- Write or change the treatment plan established by the SLP
- Counsel patients and families relative to speech-language disorders
- Provide treatment without having access to his/her supervisor
- Provide swallowing therapy
How soon can we start? Do you have a waiting list?
Our team of talented clinicians has different specializations and different schedules to accommodate children immediately. We often do not have a waiting list at all, however our clinic coordinators can identify which speech-language pathologist is available and appropriate for a new client. Most clients are seen 2-4 weeks after the paperwork has been completed. There is sometimes a waiting period if a new children’s group is being formed, but we may see the new child individually in the interim.
Does insurance cover the cost of therapy?
Speachy is a private pay, fee-for-service agency. Our clients are directly billed for services each month and keep their accounts current. Payments may be made by check or credit card. Some clients submit their paid invoices to insurance carriers for personal reimbursement. Our billing forms have been designed to streamline this process. Insurance plans differ widely regarding speech-language therapy authorization, length of coverage, and extent of reimbursement. All require a doctor’s referral, but this does not guarantee coverage. Please refer to the “If you plan to seek reimbursement” form for more details.
What should I tell my child before we come see you?
Depending on your child’s age and temperament, you know them best, it is best to explain the visit in clear, concise, and non-judgmental terms. For example, They are going to see a person who knows a lot about sounds and speech and you will get your sounds/speech checked. You can reassure your child that it will not hurt and there are no shots involved at all.
What should the kids call the therapist?
Typically we call our therapists “Teacher Mayra etc”. If you would like them to call us by another term such as “Ms. Sonia” That is all right as well. We rarely use last names and often, especially with older children, go by our first names only.
Should I stay in the room or go outside?
We find that as soon as your child is comfortable and engaged with his or her therapist, it is best to not be in the therapy room. If you would like to observe a session, we have adjacent spaces available to you. Gaining your child’s trust in him- or herself and with the therapist is the primary goal at the onset of each and every session, and we find that is more easily achieved when the parent plays a passive role. Guardians are free to run errands during the session but please be back on time to pick up and meet with the therapist and also please make sure the therapist has your cell phone number in the event of an emergency.
It looks like play, when do you fill me in?
The sessions you observe will have a play based component with the therapy built in. Children of all ages learn best when they are in the “flow” of play and work. Your therapist will fill you in at the end of your 45-minute session on what was done in the session. She will give you a handout with that day’s goals and any homework for carryover. Please be considerate of their time. We allot 5 minutes for debrief. You may schedule additional time with your therapist for the beginning of the following session if you have more questions.
We scheduled a consultation but we want a follow up written report?
The initial consultation does not include a report. If you would like a follow up report there are additional fees. Please refer to the fee page. If your therapist requests that your child should have a more thorough evaluation at the time of the screening, the fee of the screening will be deducted from the cost of the evaluation.
Can I bring my other children to the evaluation or to therapy?
We ask that other children not come to the evaluation. Children who are not clients may not enter the therapy rooms at any time. We ask that other children remain in the waiting areas and be accompanied by an adult guardian at all times. Client children may not enter the therapy rooms until directed by their therapist to do so.
Can I send my tween or teen by him/herself?
Older children who are clients may wait alone to be picked up by a designated and approved guardian. Written permission must be given by the guardian and be in the child’s file if he/she will be arriving and leaving therapy unaccompanied.
My child is extremely shy, how do you test a shy child?
A shy child must first be made to feel safe and engaged and that is where the evaluation starts. If your child needs more time to warm up and feel safe and content, you may be asked to return to complete your evaluation over the course of two sessions.
How long are the sessions?
Typically the sessions are 45 minutes with a 5-minute debrief, 25 minutes with a 5-minute debrief, or 50 minutes with a 10-minute debrief.
Where should I wait for my child?
We have various comfortable waiting areas and observation areas for you to wait. You are also welcome to run errands and return at the designated end point. See above. If you are late more than 2 times you will be charged an additional fee (see fees).
How long will s/he need therapy?
It is very difficult to predict how long the course of therapy will be because the needs of each client are as variable as they are. Your therapist can give you a better sense at or shortly after the first meeting and detail a roadmap for how to most quickly be done with the course
Which therapist will my child see?
Our therapists come with different personalities and skill sets, as well as different schedules. Your child will be placed with a therapist that the coordinator determines to be a good fit in terms of strength of skill set as well as availability.
Will it change from week to week?
Your child will have one to two therapists consistently. Your child’s progress and success is a full team endeavor so more than one therapist allows for brainstorming and more rapid progress with goals. Any changes in scheduling may result in a need to redistribute therapists.
What is the difference between the Playgroup and the group speech therapy sessions?
A small group is typically 2 to 3 children with 1 therapist doing more teacher-led structured activities that target very specific goals. The Playgroup is a more child directed classroom setting that mimics the environment that children experience in a typical language rich social preschool with more facilitation than they would receive in most classrooms. The ratio is typically 1 teacher/therapist to every 4 children.