I was asked to write about what qualities I look for in a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP). While I am new to speech therapy and I have done my research, I am sure I will miss mentioning a few important things. However, here is a list of what, and why, certain qualities were important when my daughter, Alexa, ‘aged out’ of Early Intervention (EI). The following list is not listed in the order of importance.
1. Credentials: I feel like this is self explanatory, however, you need to make sure the speech therapist is qualified to address your child’s specific delay. For example, Alexa was diagnosed with apraxia so we went to the CASANA website and made sure our speech therapist was listed as a preferred provider.
2. Relationship: This quality is not something you can address over the phone – you can’t call and say ‘Hi, will my child like you?’, however, I think this is very important. If your child isn’t comfortable with the SLP, or doesn’t like the SLP’s personality, they will not perform to their fullest potential.
3. Patience: Testimonies and reviews are the best way to find out about the patience of the SLP. Let’s be honest. Speech is hard. Everyone involved is going to get frustrated so having patience as an SLP is of key importance.
4. Willingness to explain and/or show you what to practice: Speech therapy is expensive and often not covered by insurance – brutal, and true. Most parents would love nothing more then to have speech therapy everyday but, the truth, is you could go broke that way. Having an SLP who is willing to teach you how to help your child at home is also of key importance.
5. Flexibility: I love this about our SLP. Our SLP can usually reschedule if needed to accommodate other appointments we have. However what’s even more important, is our SLP’s flexibility during a session. If Alexa is having an ‘off day’, we let her be ‘off’ and discuss ways to help her outside of speech, or try to figure out why she is acting out. We are all allowed to have bad days. As adults, we have to remember that… and an SLP who remembers that too is invaluable.
Author: Cassandra Brown is a devoted mom to Alexa, 3 yo. Cassie is also the founder and chiropractor of Connected Family Chiropractic in Gwinette GA. Her hobbies include running and spending time with her family. She expects Alexa will achieve greatness and is constantly amazed by her ability to learn. All children should get the help they need. Hats off to devoted parents!