Key Questions to Ask Your Speech Pathologist Before a Therapy Session

The decision to see a speech-language pathologist is never an easy one to make, but it’s always in the best interest of the patient. Early intervention for children as young as the age of three can make a difference in the coming years.

Once you’ve decided to see a speech-language pathologist, you probably have a lot of questions! So what are some great questions to ask before your first therapy session? How do you know if you’ve found a stellar speech-language pathologist?

Keep reading to find out these answers to these questions and more.

What is A Speech-Language Pathologist?

Speech-language pathologists work with both adults and children who have trouble speaking clearly and other communication disorders. They also can diagnose and assess those who suffer from speech problems.

Some issues speech-language pathologists work with are:

  • Stuttering
  • Language
  • Communication sounds
  • Swallowing
  • Eating

This is not an exhaustive list, as a speech-language pathologist might work with a variety of communication disorders.

Seven Questions to Ask Before Your Therapy Session

If you’ve never seen a speech-language pathologist before, you might be curious about what to expect. Here are some questions to address.

1. Credentials

Before you select any type of medical professional, you want to scope out their credentials. Things like:

  • How long have they been in practice
  • What degrees they’ve earned and any certifications or licensing
  • What type of patients do they see
  • Are they certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or ASHA
  • Are they a specialist in any area
  • What is their approach to speech therapy
  • Do you work individually or on with a team
  • What has been your experience with people who suffer from a specific speech impediment

Questions like these help you develop an overall picture of the therapist, their education, and experience in the field.

2. Fees

Nearly any therapy you attend will have fees or cost associated. The best thing to do is to ask the therapist what their fees are and if they accept insurance.

Insurance companies will vary across the board as to how they cover any type of speech therapy. Some may cover it fully, but typically there are limitations. Get in contact with your insurance company to find out the specifics.

It’s also possible to work out a payment arrangement with the therapist at the time. Ask them when fees are due and how they take payment. Discuss your unique situation with them to see if you can come to a payment agreement if you’re having financial difficulty.

3. Contact Information

It’s important to know how to contact the therapist if you need to, especially if you have more questions or a need. Find out their preferred method of contact – email, texting, calling – and write down numbers in your phone or write them down in a way that’s easy to remember and accessible.

4. Session Environment

Coming into a new office or clinic can be a little uneasy, especially for children. They may feel scared or anxious in a new environment and be hesitant to participate in therapy because of it.

If possible, see if you can visit the office or clinic first to test the waters. Ask your therapist if this is appropriate and possible.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions while you’re there: What will the sessions be like? Can you watch or should you wait in another area? How long will the therapy session take?

5. Goals

When someone decides to enter speech therapy, the therapist will assess them first and then write out a plan for treatment complete with goals they wish to accomplish.

Once the therapist knows and understands the needs of the patient, you can ask about these specific goals. Questions like, how does this practice help to reach the goal, or how did you decide this treatment is right for the patient.  Staying curious about why certain techniques are practiced during therapy gives you insight so you can practice at home.

5. How Can I Support?

Especially for a child, parental involvement is key to therapy success. It’s important to reiterate and practice skills learned during a therapy session in real life. This way, the skills stick and the child can improve.

Asking your therapist how you can support your child (or another adult!) outside of therapy walls is critical. Be sure to inquire about what resources, techniques, or other methods you can be implemented at home.

Your therapist will likely be enthusiastic about this and offer plenty of ideas because it shows you take therapy, and skill-building, seriously. They may even recommend group therapies or support groups outside of one-on-one time.

6. Length of Therapy

Because each patient’s challenges differ, the length of therapy will vary from person to person. This means that one patient may be in therapy for a few months, while some therapy sessions can last several years.

In the beginning, it’s hard to assess exactly the duration of the therapy; much of it depends on the patient, their specific case, and how well they improve. Severe cases may take longer, and those who resist therapy, or do not respond well, will likely have a lengthier time.

7. Progress

You don’t want to be attending therapy without knowing if it’s working. Be sure to inquire about how the therapist communicates progress with you, such as writing up a progress report or chart, to document changes during therapy sessions.

Seeing A Speech-Language Pathologist

Your first therapy session can be a little intimidating and nerve-wracking, but by asking the right questions and finding the right therapist, you can have a sense of calm and preparedness.

Are you searching for a speech therapist? We’ve got you covered! Visit our scheduler today for a free consultation.