Speech and language therapy is a outpatient medical service that focuses on the improvement of communication skills across many different domains of communication including speech sound production, comprehension of language, expression of thoughts and ideas or fluency, to name a few. Therapy is sought to increase the functional level of speech or language skills to the highest possible level, and in best case scenarios, this is to levels that are in line with age-level expectations.
At Zebra Speech, speech and language therapy is held in our clinics in a 1:1 setting with a pediatric speech-language pathologist who works with your child starting at least once weekly. Therapy follows a treatment plan that your child’s therapist develops based on the results from a comprehensive speech & language evaluation. The plan is developed for a 3-month period of time, that we call a “treatment period” to systematically improve communication skills using toys, games, books, and materials to target skills. For every child, the specific skills and format of the session will be different, but for all children we aim to balance a productive session with and engaging one so that a child is able to make gains while having fun!
You can enroll is our services by completing our intake form (click here). Once we have all of your basic information, you will be scheduled for an intake call within a few days. The intake call will take approximately 15 minutes depending on the nature of your concerns and your questions. Following the call, you will get information about next steps for beginning services or be placed on our waiting list.
Depending on your child’s schedule availability, we can book a first appointment as soon as 2 weeks from your initial call, but prime time availability (in the afterschool hours is more limited) and may require a wait. We do offer services in the early mornings (starting at 7am), evening (last appointment starting at 6:30pm), and Saturdays, to allow for maximal opportunities for busy families!
Yes, absolutely. In fact, most of our clients are enrolled in other speech therapy services, whether that is through school or early intervention. Services at Zebra Speech are often sought out by our parents to intensify intervention with hopes of accelerating improvements to skills. When a child is also enrolled in services with a school-based SLP, we will give you the opportunity to provide us with consent to speak with that provider on an ongoing basis. With signed consent, we will reach out to your school-based SLP and discuss our treatment plan on a regular basis to ensure that there is consistency for the efforts in meeting your child’s communication needs.
Therapy starts at once weekly. We do not offer options for a lesser frequency than once weekly. Consistency is important to our clinicians’ ability to build new skills therapeutically. Most children enroll in our services from 1-3 times per week, but we offer up to 6 days per week depending on a child’s level of need and availability matching.
As a general rule, the greater the treatment frequency, the quicker that we are able to work through hierarchical skills and complete therapy. Consistent attendance at the recommended frequency is critical to treatment progress, such as mastering skills, building independence and generalization of skills.
For every child, the specific skills that are targeted in therapy are different. Treatment begins with a careful review of the evaluation results and establishment of baseline levels for skills your clinician identifies as the treatment priorities. Each clinician will determine the target skills and the activities that will be used to elicit skills within the session. The developed plan is in place for three months at a time. The target skill may be accurate production of a speech sound, use of a particular grammar form, generation of a sentence construction type, or simply building vocabulary, for example. Often times, target sounds or forms are embedded in play, craft activities, board games, or other imaginative adventures within the treatment room. Regardless of how the session may appear superficially, all of our treatment sessions are methodical, hierarchical and systematic in nature based on a Treatment Plan. Specific skills are targeted to meet predetermined objectives with set mastery criterion and with mastery observed for a period of time to show consistency.
Yes, if you would like it, but it’s not required! We offer homework for home practice of skills that are already mastered within the session. We use homework as it’s intended, to support previously mastered skills that will support the advances within the treatment sessions. We never ask a parent to be the therapist (even when a parent is a pediatric SLP!) because it’s our job to determine the best way to elicit a target skill, provide feedback and shape these skills. Once we have been successful in developing skills, it can be helpful to have you work with your child at home to reinforce these skills through recommended activities provided by your clinician.
We do caution against self-initiated efforts for home practice prior to getting your clinician's “OK.” Providing different cues, feedback or setting additional expectations for your child’s communication within the home setting can be counter-productive to our efforts and may be frustrating for your child. Please feel free to ask your clinician about when homework may be used to support participation in therapy.
This question should be answered by your treating clinician since every child is different and ways to support skill development can be different at varying stages of treatment. It is always helpful to remember that your child’s communication efforts should be acknowledged, valued, and supported in whatever form they are made. Attend to and focus on the content of communication efforts over the accuracy or completeness of their understanding or use of speech or language.