Speech therapy can be used for a variety of reasons, from childhood speech disorders to speech impairments that are caused by injury or illness. If your child requires speech therapy, it can be difficult to know where to find resources in your area.
Birth To Three
Birth To Three is a federal resource provides services to help address the developmental needs of children from birth to age three. In Wisconsin, each county administers the program by partnering with a. local service agency like Lutheran Social Services. Families in Birth to Three are charged on a sliding scale system, based on family income. They bill insurance, so families may have co-pays and deductibles to meet. Parents can initiate services without a doctor’s referral. Many of these programs use a coaching model, where the speech-language pathologist or the early childhood educator works with the parent directly. Services are typically provided 1-2 times a month in the child’s home.
Early intervention services are available for children ages 3-5 years old who qualify through their local public school district. These services are available at no cost to families. These services are available to families, even if they have not yet decided if their child will attend the local public school district or will attend a private or parochial for elementary school. Early intervention services typically follow the academic year, though some school districts have summer early learning programs available. Services are typically provided 1-2 times a week during the school year.
If you have concerns for your child’s speech-language development, contact your local public school. You can find this information on your public school district’s website under special education. Children who are part of Birth to Three are referred automatically to these services as the child approaches the third birthday. Families do not need a physician’s referral to initial services
School Year Services
Kids who are in kindergarten and up can receive speech therapy services at their local public school. These services are available at no cost to families. These services typically follow the academic year and follow a timeline of events. It can take up to three months from requesting an evaluation to the start of therapy, should your child qualify. To access services, contact your child’s classroom teacher, who can help you through the process. Services are typically provided 1-2 times a week during the school year.
Hospitals are another resource for speech therapy services. Before you make an appointment, however, you’ll need check with your insurance provider to make sure that speech therapy is indeed covered under your specific plan. Read the exclusions and definition of speech therapy to determine if habilitative and rehabilitative services are covered. Some plans only cover speech therapy due to an injury or an accident. Wait lists for speech-language evaluations may vary. In addition, you will need a referral from a physician for an evaluation. Services are typically once a week. Depending on your insurance plan’s coverage, families may still be responsible for co-pays and deductibles.
Private practices can provide stand alone services or services that supplement Birth To Three, Early Intervention, and school services. If a child does not qualify for school speech-language therapy, then a private speech therapy practice can provide services. Private practices can carry over school year services through the summer in order to keep the momentum moving forward with the progress made during the school year. Services are often 1-2 times a week.
Many private practices are out-of-network providers, meaning families pay for the services, then file the paperwork with the insurance company. The insurance company would then reimburse the family, if it is covered by the plan and if out-of-network deductibles are met. If you are looking to utilize your out of network insurance benefits, you will need a physician’s referral. Many private practices often accept flex saving account and health saving account payments.
SpeechWorks is a private practice based in Oconomowoc that helps children from toddlers to teens get the speech therapy they need. Services can be provided in-person or online. SpeechWorks has been providing online speech therapy services since 2014. A licensed speech-language pathologist can provide a formal evaluation and create a customized treatment plan that’s tailored to the unique needs of your child. If your child is receiving school year speech therapy services, then we can provide an informal assessment for their summer services. SpeechWorks’ goal is to create confident communicators.
To find a speech-language pathologist near you, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s ProFind.
Knowing how to find and get speech therapy services for your child is an important first step.