How do you know you've found the right one?
Learning that your child has a speech disorder may feel overwhelming. Talking with your child’s doctor is a good first step. He or she should be able to refer you to one or more speech therapists. A speech therapist should have the initials ‘SLP’ after their name, for ‘speech-language pathologist.’ Children younger than three years old may qualify for early intervention through a local government-funded program that provides the services they need, including speech therapy. In Georgia, it is called Babies Can't Wait. Children older than three years old may qualify for services through your local school district.
Choose a speech therapist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). This certification means that the therapist has graduated from an accredited program. Certified speech therapists have passed a national exam. They have also completed a one-year clinical fellowship.
Speech therapists specialize in certain areas, so ask candidates if they have the specific expertise your child needs. The right therapist for your child will have extensive knowledge about your child’s particular speech disorder. It’s a good idea to ask speech therapists how much experience they have working with children. Ask potential therapists how much of their case load includes kids similar to yours. This could help you feel more comfortable when making your decision. You can always ask for a consultation prior to an assessment!