Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below to reveal the answer
Speech-language pathologists, also called SLPs, are experts in communication. SLPs work with people of all ages from young children to the elderly. SLPs treat many types of communication and swallowing problems. These include problems with:
- Speech sounds: how we say sounds and put sounds together into words. Other words for these problems are articulation or phonological disorders, apraxia of speech, or dysarthria.
- Language: how well we understand what we heard or read and how we use words to tell others what we are thinking. In adults, you may hear this problem called aphasia.
- Literacy: how well we read and write. People with speech and language disorders may also have trouble reading, spelling, and writing.
- Social communication: how well we follow rules like taking turns, how to talk to different people, or how close to stand to someone when talking. This is also called pragmatics.
- Voice: how our voice sounds. We may sound hoarse, lose our voice easily, talk too loud or through our nose, or be unable to make sounds.
- Fluency: how well our speech flows. Someone who stutters may repeat sounds, like t-t-t-table, use "um" or "uh", or pause a lot when talking. Many young children will go through a time when they stutter, but most outgrow it.
- Cognitive-communication: may include problems with memory, attention, problem solving, organization, and other thinking skills.
- Feeding and swallowing: chewing and swallowing food and liquid. A swallowing disorder may lead to poor nutrition, weight loss, and other health problems. This is also called dysphagia.
- Accent reduction: saying sounds differently because of an accent or dialect. These people do not have a speech or language disorder but may want to change how they speak.
- Public speaking: difficulty speaking to groups or making presentations. SLPs can help with organizing information, speaking clearly, and talking loudly enough to be heard.
The following are some, but not all, causes of speech, language, and/or cognitive problems:
- Brain injury
- Breathing problems
- Developmental disabilities
- Diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's
- Genetic problems
- Head and neck cancer
- Hearing loss
- Intellectual disabilities
- Premature birth
- Severe or long-term illnesses
SLPs evaluate people to find out what kinds of communication, cognitive, and/or swallowing problems they are having. Then, the SLP can work with the person to improve his or her skills. The earlier people get help, the better. SLPs also:
- Screen for speech, language, cognitive, swallowing, and hearing problems and recommend additional testing, if needed
- Teach patients, parents, families, and other professionals about speech, language, cognition, and swallowing
- Find other ways for people to communicate if they can't talk, such as using pictures, gestures, or computers
- Do research on ways to improve a person's communication, cognitive, and swallowing
The goal of speech therapy is simple enough -- improved skills that will allow you/your child to communicate more effectively. There are other benefits as well. These can include:
- Improvement in the ability to understand and express thoughts, ideas, and feelings
- Intelligible speech so you are/your child is understood by others
- Increased ability to problem-solve in an independent environment
- Improved swallowing function and safety
- Achievement of school readiness skills
- Development of pre-literacy skills
- Improved vocal quality
- Fluent speech
- Development of practical social skills
- Better quality of life
- Greater self-esteem
- Increased independence
In order to receive speech-language therapy in public school, a child must qualify for services. In order to qualify, a student must meet state criteria on standardized speech and/or language testing. Additionally, the SLP must document that the child's speech- language impairment is adversely impacting their learning in school. Many children with speech-language disorders do not qualify for school services.
If your child does qualify for school-based services, they will most likely receive therapy in a group with other children. Private speech therapy is typically one-on-one, giving the child the undivided attention of the SLP and the opportunity for far more practice of their target skill(s). School speech-language pathologists are excellent therapists, and they provide high quality treatment, but they must function within the confines of school regulations. The ultimate goal of school speech therapy is to help the child benefit from their education. The goal of private speech-language therapy is to help the child master their communication goals as quickly as possible.
One final difference is privacy and confidentiality. Although school practitioners adhere to the highest level of confidentiality, it is still necessary for your child to be placed on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and pulled from class to attend therapy in a group setting. These factors make it impossible for others to not be aware of your child's therapy process. Some parents prefer private speech-language therapy because no one but the family and the therapist will know about it. Private therapy does not require that any paperwork be placed in your child's school records.
We can decide this together. The frequency of therapy is determined by the extent of the patient's delay/disorder, age and attention span, and what works with each family's schedule. The standard recommendation for children is two 40-minute sessions per week. The standard recommendation for adults is two 60-minutes per week. If a therapy schedule is not aggressive enough, progress will be slow.
Each patient is unique. The length of time in speech-language therapy depends on many factors such as the severity of the problem, the frequency and consistency of therapy, and the consistency of help at home. It is not enough to have a therapy session; the lessons from the session must be carried out throughout the week, at home and in the community.
Headway Rehabilitation is conveniently opened from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Headway Rehabilitation accepts cash, check, and all major credit cards. Payment is due at time of session.
Headway Rehabilitation does not directly file insurance. However, we will provide a detailed invoice, upon your request, so you may submit an insurance claim on your own behalf. These invoices will include the total session charge, diagnostic codes, and procedural codes to provide the appropriate amount of information needed for insurance companies to process any potential reimbursement. Even if a patient decides to submit an insurance claim, all fees are due at time of session.
Please note that it is the patient's responsibility to verify insurance coverage for speech therapy. Keep in mind that every insurance policy is different, so you need to check the specific terms of yours. If you do have coverage, be sure you understand possible restrictions such as the number of sessions per calendar year, frequency and duration of services allowable, and coverage only for specific diagnostic codes that may be applicable under your policy. You also need to be aware of deductibles and percentage of coverage. Finally, under some policies a medical necessity, as evidenced by a note from your physician, is required.
When calling your insurance company regarding coverage of speech therapy services, there are several important questions you need to ask:
- Does my policy cover speech therapy services?
- What conditions will my insurance specifically cover?
- What ICD-9 (diagnosis) codes and CPT (treatment) codes are covered for reimbursement?
- Do I need to obtain a prescription for therapy services?
- Which conditions are specifically excluded from treatment?
- How many sessions will my insurance cover? Is there a time limit?
- Do I have a deductible or co-pay?
- Do I need to schedule all of the visits by a certain date?
- Does insurance cover out of network therapy services?
- How do I get reimbursed for out of pocket therapy expenses? What do I need to provide the insurance company with?