The Difference Between Private and Public Speech Therapy Options
Many children and adults struggle with their speech – whether it’s pronunciation, articulation, motor skills, or something else. Even a simple stutter or impediment can impact one’s confidence and self-image. This is why speech therapy can be so significant and life-changing.
For kids, it’s important to address issues early and properly for the best chance at quick and long-term success. Even for adults, though, it’s never too late to work on your issues and make improvements. Meaningful and effective speech therapy can make all the difference, but finding the right therapy for you can be overwhelming.
You have two main options: public and private speech therapy. Here, we’ll dive into the differences and discuss the pros and cons of each.
Public vs. Private Speech Therapy: What’s the Difference?
There many different types of speech therapy you can seek, depending on your individual issues and struggles. Each can take place in various settings, however, and this can impact the efficacy of treatment as well.
Your main options are either public or private speech therapy:
- Public speech therapy is when therapy sessions are led in a “public” setting with several people at once. Groups can be large or small, depending on the practice you’ve chosen. They may be age and/or gender-specific as well. Often, public speech therapy is facilitated through schools, where your child can attend sessions during the day or perhaps after classes. Many speech pathology clinics do offer group therapy as well.
- Private speech therapy takes place in a more private location, such as an office, clinic, or even your home. Sessions are conducted one-on-one with just the patient and the therapist present. This type of therapy is not often provided through schools, but many practices offer it.
No one form of therapy is necessarily better than another. It all depends on the individual and their preferences, availability, and more. Knowing the difference between public and private speech therapy and what each offers can help you determine what’s best for you and/or your family.
Public Speech Therapy: Pros and Cons
For children, many parents opt for group speech therapy through their child’s school. External group therapy is often provided through clinics as well, for patients of all ages. This can be a great option for many reasons:
- Most often, school-provided therapy happens during the school day so you don’t need to make any additional commitments.
- If it’s provided through the school system, it won’t cost you anything for your child to participate.
- Participating in group therapy and discussions can help with confidence issues and anxiety around public speaking.
- Seeing other people progress and improve can increase your confidence in your own abilities.
- If you’re in a group with friends, it can make you more comfortable speaking about deep, heavy, or vulnerable topics.
- It can help you feel less alone in your struggles. This can be especially beneficial for kids, knowing that they have peers going through the same thing as them.
There are many compelling reasons to use group therapy, and you’ll experience benefits such as these. However, there are some downsides that you should consider before making a decision:
- Many schools will have criteria that must be met before a child can join the program. Your child may not meet their criteria, despite still needing help.
- While the sessions may happen during the school day, your child may have to miss something fun like breaks, recess, or certain classes to attend.
- Sometimes, sessions happen after school which means you’ll have to make alternate pickup arrangements. This may also cut into time they would otherwise spend doing other extracurriculars.
- Group sessions can cause anxiety in certain individuals and this may stunt or even prevent progress.
- No one in a group setting gets extended individual attention, depending on the individual, this can make improving hard and slow.
Despite the potential drawbacks, public group therapy is still a fantastic choice for many!
Private Speech Therapy: Pros and Cons
Private speech shares some similarities to group therapy, but it’s still different in many ways. Some of the biggest benefits of private speech therapy include:
- The private nature of the sessions eliminates any stress or anxiety surrounding groups, and/or sharing personal struggles in a group.
- The therapist can curate a plan just for you and your specific needs. From tools and coping mechanisms to exercises, things to practice, and what to work on at home – it’ll be all about you! Whereas a group session will have to consider everyone at once and treatments can be vaguer.
- Most often, clients progress faster with private therapy. This is due to various reasons such as personalized attention and the ability to change and adapt the program as progress is made.
- It’s a great way to supplement any group therapy your child may be getting at school. They can take what they learned in their school sessions to their private therapist and expand on the progress made there.
- Depending on the practice you choose, you may be able to select your treatment location. For example, at Therapy Spot, we offer services in our clinic, but we’ll also travel to you. If you’re more comfortable at home, we can make that work. If you’d like to sneak in a session on your lunch break, we’ll come to your office!
While the benefits of private speech therapy are undeniable, it isn’t without drawbacks of its own:
- Cost is a big factor for many, and private sessions are often more expensive than group therapy. That being said, it’s worth considering if the faster progress made in private therapy would make up for the cost of additional group sessions.
- You are subject to the availability of the doctors. You may find the one you want to work with has a waiting list.
- External, private sessions won’t happen during the school day and will therefore require an additional time commitment from you and/or your child.
Find What Works for You
Everyone is different, which is why the existence of so many options is a wonderful thing. Whether you’ve got budget constraints, scheduling concerns, or certain anxieties you must work around – there’s a speech therapist out there for you.
If you’re unsure how to determine the best treatment plan for yourself or your child, please don’t hesitate to contact us today! We’ll answer all your questions and get you started on the right path.