|School Based Services vs Private Practice|
In school settings, speech-language pathology services must conform to federal regulations created to comply with the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" (IDEA), a law designed to ensure that all students receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
Determination of eligibility for services in schools is a multi-step process that includes screening, evaluation, observations from teachers, information from parents, and review of the student's work samples. The school-based individualized education program (IEP) team considers all of this information to answer these questions:
-Is there a disability?
=If so, is there an adverse effect on educational performance resulting from the disability?
-If so, are specially designed instruction and/or related services and supports needed to help the student make progress in the general education curriculum?
In some cases, parents may want services beyond what is determined appropriate in the school setting. Parents who think their child would benefit from additional attention and care can obtain services from a Speech-Language Pathologist in private practice at their own discretion and cost, however, most private practices do accept insurance or offer a reduced rate for self-pay patients in order for families to obtain the help they need for their children.
Speech-Language Pathologists in private practice provide the ultimate combination of communication services based on their education and experience. These services range from treating disorders of language, speech sound production, voice, and fluency to addressing accent reduction and reading skills, to name a few. Speech-Language Pathologists in private practice are not restricted to the same guidelines and can treat disorders that may not be addressed in a school setting.
In addition, private therapy services are available for children of any age, and the therapy may target skills that are not included in school-based therapy due to educational restrictions or how well the child is improving. The private practice can also offer earlier treatment for speech and language skills in order to avoid the development of negative patterns, such as with speech sound production and stuttering disorders. Furthermore, private speech therapy assists with helping children succeed in their speech and language skills who do not qualify for services and tend to “fall through the cracks” in the school system.