How to find the best speech therapist for your child?

Speech therapy is an intervention service that focuses on improving a child’s abilities to understand and express language, including nonverbal language. Some children may have excellent pronunciation and may even be early readers, but they may need speech therapy to improve “pragmatic” language, or the process of using verbal and body language appropriately in social situations for everyday purposes such as making requests, having conversations, and making friends.

Some children are late bloomers, which without giving them time to improve, we start to get worried. It is logical to give the child time to build up the confidence to start speaking more comfortably and have them express their feelings without making them feel fear, anxiety, or other negative occurring feelings. But assistance is really highly valued.

How to make the best choice while you’re choosing the therapist for your child?

#1 Gender really matters

You have probably already noticed that your child is more comfortable talking or enthusiastic when there are men or women in the conversation group. A child may feel safer if they are communicating with a woman or in other cases, a man. Pay attention to this prior to choosing the speech therapist for your child.

Studies have shown that boys communicate more with the same genre of individuals. With girls, it’s the same way.  The connection can be built on the topics more related to the interests both parties share.

#2 Location, location, location

Speech therapy should be done with having a consistent and regular pattern and plan(visitation). While you might not find the best therapist in your immediate area, you should still choose the teacher for your child closest to your home. Long-distance travels can be expensive and at times very annoying. Missing appointed times due to lack of funds and time may reverse the progress you have already started having. So, pick a therapist you have consistent access to and create a visiting routine best to your abilities.

#3 Observe the reaction

You will start to see progress after a few sessions. First impressions can always be both positive and negative. Even if there’s serious progress but your child feels uncomfortable around the therapist and tries to avoid the visits, there might be something that they’re not expressing to you. Ask your child if there’s anything they don’t like about the person guiding and helping them with their speech therapy, and make the best choice based on their answer. You can keep on seeing them but after a while, your child might want to stay home instead. Do you need to change the therapist? Observe your child and how they feel, before you make any decisions.

#4 Nature of the disorder

General speech therapists are beneficial on many levels, but if there’s a special disorder, you should make appointments with specialists besides having regular speech therapy. Different aspects and needs reflect on the services you need and should have.  Make appointments to the specialists at the specific genre and have them guide and put together the best plan for your child and your family.

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By Jaan Kelder

Jaan Kelder, sündinud 10. novembril 1971, on eesti ajakirjanik; on lõpetanud Tartu Ülikooli ajakirjanduse erialal 1994. aastal.