As a parent whose child is receiving speech therapy, you may be wondering if it is necessary to sign your child up for private speech services in addition.
First off- all hands on deck! The more practice, the better, so if you can easily swing it, I'd recommend it! The idea, particularly with speech-sound disorders, is to get them in and out of speech therapy as quickly as possible. Research shows that the higher the frequency, the better, so the more practice they get, the faster they can reach their goals. However, there are certainly times that both may not actually be necessary. Listed below are some considerations for whether or not private speech will be necessary:
1. Frequency of school speech
How often is your child seeing the SLP during the week? If it is only once, for example, and you are not practicing with your child at home, progress is likely to be much slower.
2. The size of the school group
Like it or not, students are usually seen in a group since school SLP caseloads are typically quite high. There are some amazing benefits to speech groups! Students can learn from each other, social skills can often be worked into therapy no matter what their goals are, and it can be more fun for the students. However, it is likely that the larger the group, the less one-on-one attention, feedback, and attention your child is getting. School SLPs are amazing at maximizing practice for each student, but they are only human.
Can your child make their speech sound independently or do they require cues to make it? If they cannot make it on their own, it may be difficult for them to practice outside of the speech room, which is necessary to fast progress.
If your child is working on just one sound, is stimulable (they can make the sound accurately on their own, so could practice on their own), and is making progress, the complexity is low. If your child has multiple phonological processes in play (patterns of substitutions) or has many language needs, complexity is likely much higher, and you may want to consider how you can maximize intervention time.
5. How your child learns
Does your child have an exceptional attention span? Do they catch on quickly to instruction or do they require ample models and repetition? This is also something to take into consideration.
If your child has an articulation error, but is highly intelligible, extra assistance may not be as imperative. If familiar and unfamiliar adults and peers have difficulty understanding your child, extra assistance is more important. Your child has important things to say!
7. Time of year
Are you wondering if they need private speech and they have just started services? Or are you wondering this towards the start of summer? Keep in mind that they may not be receiving any intervention or practice during summer months.
These are simply some considerations when deciding whether your child requires private speech. In the end, it is up to you...you know your child best! It can also be beneficial to have an honest conversation with the school SLP to determine the level of needs your child requires and the level of services they can realistically see within the school setting.