There are numerous ways in which parents’ can find their child the speech therapy that they need. Depending on the specific needs of the individual child, some therapy settings may be a better fit for the concerns at hand. The two therapeutic settings that are most readily available to children is therapy at school and therapy in a private academy.
A therapeutic speech program through the school district will see children during regular school day hours. To qualify for in-school therapy, the child must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which is a legal document from the state, confirming their need for speech therapy through the school. This type of therapy may take place in the classroom or outside of the classroom, and can either be between just the child and therapist, or with a group of other children.
Therapeutic programs within a private academy are conducted outside of school time. The therapists will evaluate and focus on the child’s specific speech deficits, listen to the parents’ concerns, and talk with parents before or after private sessions to discuss progress made and the therapy goals set into place. Even if your child does not qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) through the state, but parents or pediatricians are still concerned about their speech, a private academy may be able to offer the therapy requested.
Whether one option is better or if both school and private academy therapy is best, really depends on each individual family’s situation and concerns. Here are some reasons why your child may benefit more from a therapeutic private academy program versus a school program
Not missing class time
Many parents worry that their child may be missing valuable information during their early years of education by being pulled out of the classroom to work on speech deficits. By enrolling your child in a private academy, you are ensuring that they are not missing lessons at school that may delay them in other areas such as reading,writing, and social play. School therapists do their best so children do not miss out on too much of their regular classroom lessons, but because of this, their therapy sessions may be cut extremely thin.
Offer Speech Therapy to Children who do not qualify for an IEP
Depending on the number of school therapists, their availability, caseload, and your school’s funding, some children with more mild speech difficulties may not qualify for in-school therapy. Private speech academies can be great for children who need additional therapy outside of school or children who may have more mild, but still concerning, speech delays or deficits.
Smaller student to teacher ratio
Some schools may only have a few or even one speech therapist for the entire school. Private academies keep class sizes small, allowing the speech therapist to focus on each child’s individual speech needs.
Integrate speech therapy into play
A private speech therapy academy will present therapy techniques often in the form of structured play. When a child is enjoying the task at hand, they are much more likely to benefit.
Prepares children for entering school
Children get used to taking instructions from adults, learn how to play and socialize with peers, while also following a structured day program similar to preschool. This makes the transition much easier on your child once it comes time for them to enter a structured school environment. A private academies’ goal is to focus on speech therapy in every activity so that once your child enters school, not only will they be socially prepared, but also caught up to their peers as far as speech ability.
Although every child is unique, they are able to interact with similar peers, while working towards both individual speech goals and goals the children all share. Private Academy programs allow children to be surrounded by similar peers so that the individual child does not feel ostracized or “different” from the rest of the class by being pulled out or receiving extra attention in school. A private academy offers a more comfortable environment, especially for children with more severe needs.
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