How to Find a Qualified Speech Therapist in Your Local Area?
For those who struggle with speech and language, therapy can be life-changing. Whether you’re looking for a therapist to start your child in therapy or you need help for yourself as an adult, you must find someone capable and qualified.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a therapist, such as the age of you or your child and the specific nature of your issue or disorder. Many speech and language pathologists can treat various disorders but specialize in a smaller number.
It can feel daunting, having to make a decision and not knowing where to start. Consider the following tips to help you find a qualified speech therapist in your local area.
Know What You Want
Before starting your search for a speech therapist, you need to know what you’re looking for in terms of access, timing, location, etc. Try to determine the following before diving in and making phone calls:
- Where do you want to be seen? Would you prefer a speech therapist come to you and conduct sessions in your home or office, or would you rather go to them? Some people like at-home sessions where things are comfortable and familiar. Others prefer the clinic because it’s a change of scenery and there are fewer distractions.
- Do you want private therapy? There are many options when it comes to speech therapy. Many clinics offer group sessions. These can be helpful in their own way and are often less expensive. But, progress may be slower. For children, there may be services through their school. This can be extremely convenient, but you’ll likely have fewer options and less control. Many schools are understaffed and underfunded as well, so you might find yourself on a waiting list.
- Do you want in-person or online? Online therapy has become more popular and accessible in recent years. This can be wonderfully convenient as you can stay home and work your sessions around your schedule. However, some people do better face-to-face.
- What condition are you/your child struggling with? There is a vast world of speech delays and issues. Some are cognitive while others are purely physical. You’ll get the best treatment when you see a doctor who specializes in your type of issue. Some may have specialties listed on their website, but this is always something you should look for and plan to ask about in detail.
Determining where you stand with these factors can help make your search easier. For example, some clinics don’t offer groups, some won’t offer online options, etc. Once you have a checklist going, you can start your search with a variety of avenues.
How to Find a Qualified Local Speech Therapist
There are a few places you can start looking for a speech therapist, all of which should yield some good results. The most important thing is that you do your due diligence and ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable.
Often the first step in any search, the internet is a fantastic tool for finding many things, including a new professional to work with. Using search engines like Google, you can punch in any search term you want, including the specifics you’re after.
For example, if you want online and/or private sessions specifically, you can look for this and you’ll get targeted results. However, this method can be unreliable so keep the following in mind when browsing options:
- A clean and professional website is a good sign
- Location and contact info should be easily accessible
- Information about their services should be clear and easy to understand
- They get back to you via phone or email quickly if you inquire
- They should have lots of positive reviews
Ultimately, it’s up to you to vet any practice you find online. You can do this by speaking with the doctor(s), asking for credentials, reading reviews, and asking those around you if they’ve ever used the practice.
Doctor or Pediatrician Recommendation
Online searches can be a great tool, but it can be hard to weed out the bad and find the best ones. Another option is to ask your doctor or pediatrician for a recommendation. They will only recommend professional practices with qualified doctors.
The downside here is that their recommendations may be limited. They may not expand into certain areas, for example. You may also be limited yourself if you’re relying on insurance, and they might not have this as criteria for recommendations.
If you are going through insurance for your speech therapy, you should contact the company and get an idea of your policies and exact coverage. They may also be able to make a local recommendation from their network of providers.
This also means you won’t have to find out if the practice can go through insurance or not since that’s where you found them!