Seeking the services of speech and language therapists for children is never the most enjoyable process for parents. Having detected what could possibly be a developmental issue, bringing it to the attention of the most appropriate professionals at the earliest possible instance becomes a real priority. But at the same time, you will naturally have thousands of questions floating around in your mind and a great many concerns to address.
These days, the fact that there are more professional paediatric speech therapists in business than ever before is a blessing. Nevertheless, it is also true to say that not every professional currently in business is operating at the same exceptionally high level. As such, it is crucially important to ensure that you ask the right questions prior to agreeing to the services of any given speech and language professional. It’s rare to come across a practicing therapist that isn’t comprehensively capable, but it’s nonetheless important to ensure you make the right choice and leave nothing to fate.
Here’s a quick rundown of just a few of the questions you should be sure to ask before making your final decision:
1 – Please Explain Your Specialism and Experience?
First of all, it’s important to remember that while there is a great deal of theoretical knowledge that must be studied at length to become a professional therapist, experience also counts for a lot. It’s usually safe to say that the more experience any given therapist has had in any specific area, the more capable they are when it comes to working with patients. It’s also worth bearing in mind that childhood speech therapy falls into a wide variety of subcategories which are extremely different in nature. As such, if you are looking to take on the services of a speech therapist to help with a suspected stammer, it will no doubt be in your best interests to choose a specialist with plenty of experience in this specific area.
2 – How Do You Approach Cases Like These?
One of the defining characteristics of a high quality therapist is the unwillingness to make outlandish promises that cannot necessarily be kept. As such, it is absolutely impossible to expect even the best speech therapist to accurately and comprehensively predict the outcome within the first few sessions at least. Instead, what they can offer is a detailed explanation of how exactly they intend to go about the process and how they have approached similar cases in the past. Chances are that if they have plenty of experience, they will already have worked with many children with very similar problems and will therefore be able to offer valuable insights and information.
3 – Can I Request Recordings of the Sessions?
Recordings of the sessions themselves are not mandatory and should not necessarily be considered as such. Nevertheless, there are plenty of professionals and parents alike that will find it extremely helpful to take home recordings of the sessions (which are generally carried out without the parents being present) in order to go over what took place and carefully monitor progress. Even in instances where the speech and language therapy provider doesn’t offer audio or video recordings as standard, it may be possible to request them if required. If you believe that this is something that would be helpful or reassuring in your instance, feel free to ask.
4 – What Can We Do At Home To Help?
As the vast majority of the treatment process will technically take place at home under the watch of the parents, the speech and language therapist will undoubtedly go through each and every activity and task necessary. What is important to remember is that whereas a child may be taken to visit a speech therapist once every week or even once a fortnight, they will be interacting with their parents and other family members on a constant basis at all other times. As such, it’s quite simply a case of the better the parents understanding what’s happening and the more active the role they play in the process, the better the overall outcome. So if there are any doubts whatsoever as to what you as parents can do to help, be sure to ask as many questions as necessary.
5 – Can I See/Speak To Some References?
Last up, an experienced and professional speech and language therapist would never expect you to take their word at face value when it comes to their capabilities. Instead, they will almost always invite you to check out case studies, testimonials and references from past and present clients. You may wish to be put in touch with one of the previous success stories personally, or simply read through the feedback they have been given over the years.