Understanding Speech and Language Therapy: FAQs
AT WHAT AGE CAN A SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST BEGIN WORKING WITH A CHILD?
Newborns with congenital problems may have communication-related needs from birth, and a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is part of a neonatal multidisciplinary team. We often work with infants and toddlers at an early age (12-24 months) in areas such as swallowing and feeding, hearing and listening, oral-motor and speech, and attention and socialization.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS A SPEECH OR LANGUAGE DELAY?
You don’t necessarily know for sure. A speech-language pathologist can help you answer this question. Some indicators which might lead you to seek a consult or screening are:
- The child’s skills are immature compared to others in his playgroup or preschool.
- Family members or friends alert you to differences that they observe.
- The child’s developmental pattern is unusual compared to others his age.
- There is a family history of speech, language, or learning problems.
- There have been health issues, such as ear infections, which can impact communication.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
HOW DO I KNOW A SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST IS QUALIFIED?
A fully-qualified speech-language pathologist must have a master’s degree from an accredited program, maintain a California speech pathology license, and hold a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Many of our staff also have experience and advanced training in specialty areas.
HOW SOON CAN I START? DO YOU HAVE A WAITING LIST?
Peninsula Associates has several talented clinicians with different specializations. Our clinic coordinators identify which speech-language pathologist is available and appropriate for a new client. Most clients are seen 2-4 weeks after the paperwork has been completed. There is sometimes a waiting period if a new children’s group is being formed, but we may see the new child individually in the interim.
DOES INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF SERVICE?
Peninsula Associates is a private pay, fee-for-service agency. Our clients are directly billed for services each month and keep their accounts current. Payments may be made by check or credit card. Some clients submit their paid invoices to insurance carriers for personal reimbursement. Our billing forms have been designed to streamline this process. Insurance plans differ widely regarding speech-language therapy authorization, length of coverage, and extent of reimbursement. All require a doctor’s referral, but this does not guarantee coverage.