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How do I find a decent speech therapist for a pre schooler?

(20 Posts)
FrimFrimMcWeasel Tue 26-Mar-13 12:37:19

Our DD is starting school this year and we have been on the waiting list to get her assessed for speech therapy for over year and it has just got too close to comfort for when she starts school - her speech is really pretty poor.

If I wanted to find a private therapist how would I go about that - are there any professional organisations / qualifications I should look for?

What sort of money are we looking at? (We are in London).

TIA smile

GwennieF Tue 26-Mar-13 12:39:43

This lot might be able to help....

FrimFrimMcWeasel Tue 26-Mar-13 12:40:29

Do you have any experience with them / heard about them or did you google for me? grin

I will have a look thanks smile

LovingKent Tue 26-Mar-13 18:47:49

Hi Frim I'm a former SALT.

Most private therapists are registered with the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice and the site GwennieF gives is their website. You can search for a therapist on this.

All SALTs (working privately or for the NHS) have to be registered to practice with the Health Professions Council so check the one you chose is by searching the site.

Qualifications will vary a bit depending on when the therapist trained. Most now have degrees but some may have the diploma. The name of it varies according to when you trained and where but it is the same training! Basically to register to practice with HPC you have to be qualified so if the therapist is registered with HPC they are qualified. Many therapists are also registered with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists which is the professional body.

Check the therapist you chose specialises in paediatrics as some work solely with adults. I'd ring a few and chat about your DD before deciding who to pick as some will have more experience with children that age than others

Money wise it varies. I think the going rate is about £90 for an assessment then probably £50-60 per session. Probably depends on the therapist, their level of experience etc.

Good luck x

FrimFrimMcWeasel Tue 26-Mar-13 19:01:44

That is brilliant advice thank you I will get cross-referencing!

I also called the nursery to see if they knew anyone so am now feeling confident that I'll find someone.

Thank you both so much smile

LovingKent Tue 26-Mar-13 19:03:59

That's ok smile

redwellybluewelly Tue 26-Mar-13 19:21:02

We've recently been through this process with DD (2.8).

NHS paed was really really pushing the failure to communicate as a huge issue and although I was a very late talker it was when I saw DD getting left out of her peers games I decided to act.

NHS provision was utterly dire, we did two sessions but it just wasn't going to work. We found a private SaLT who agreed to do a six week session at home on a day both DH and I could do. Worked very well, the therapist agreed DD was slower to talk but her comprehension was excellent.

We have seen improvements but I think it may have been that DD was just ready to talk more, something of a happy coincidence. We are going to do another six week block in 3 months or so if DD stalls. It was about £140 for 6 x 30minute sessions and we didn't pay extra to be seen at home. We also opted not to have a 'report' or summery, just the 1-2-1 therapy.

pumpkinsweetie Tue 26-Mar-13 19:32:24

I'm in the same situation except my dd has been in school for 6m. May have to save up for private speech therapy as nothing has been done to make a great improvement. The special teaching service has been into school but tbh, they haven't really done alot apart from observe and give the teacher a sheet on new things to try. Its soul destroying.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Tue 26-Mar-13 20:16:43

pumpkin that sounds really difficult. I know that in this area the funds have been cut and when we first got on the list 10 months ago they told us a 18 week max wait (I think) and anyway it was 10 months and then only after we chased and chased and chased. Today we had our initial assessment and she said yes DD has significant difficulty with a range of sounds which obviously we know and that she would go on another waiting list for actual therapy. My jaw dropped. I feel so guilty like if we had maybe done something 10 months ago things would be better - as it is she is going to school in Sept and is pretty incomprehensible (even DH and and I can't understand most of what she says) and I am just worried about how she will get on. Thing is we had no money at all 10 months ago so actually maybe I should stop feeling guilty as we couldn't have done anything anyway. Are there any other avenues you can pursue to get better support does the school know anyone to contact or anything. Have you had her referred for speech therapy assessment as I'm not sure if the special teaching service is the same thing?

redwellybluewelly thanks for your post that is really helpful. Sounds more affordable as well. I am really pleased that your DD is showing such great improvement smile

SimLondon Tue 26-Mar-13 23:47:37

"Do you have any experience with them / heard about them or did you google for me?

I will have a look thanks "

That's quite rude.

cuggles Wed 27-Mar-13 17:16:36

no it isnt...she is just asking whether the poster took time out to look it up for her or knew already from experience and then said is that rude!? I never get involved in mn spats but really!

firawla Wed 27-Mar-13 17:39:22

OP what area of London are you in? I have a private slt for one of mine who is very good, I got her based on other parent's recommendation and she focuses more on a specific type of speech disorder but if your dd's problem is in speech sound production rather than simply speech delay then that is more what this slt does. Paying 70 per hour (more for assessment) and did have a bit of a waiting list but not too bad.

I got a different one before just by going off the helpwithtalking website and as you don't have any recommendations from other parents you don't really know if they are any good or not? That one was really disappointing, worse than any I have had on nhs and just wasn't happy with that experience.
Others from helpwithtalking site did seem good as I phoned and spoke to them about dses needs and they were happy to talk quite at length on the phone for free or give a bit of advice about who/what else they could recommend.

I have found that majority of the good ones will have a waiting list even on private, so if they are tooooo available perhaps its not always a good sign?

Have you thought of trying to apply for a statement for her? If she is starting school in sept and incomprehensible then she needs one, because she will need a significant amount of extra support, and there are dedicated speech units in some schools too if she needed that level but i think she would need a statement to access it?

Theres also the nuffield which is on nhs and focuses on speech sound production difficulties, apparently its really good. Not been able to get my ds there (yet! im still bearing it in mind for future!!) cos he also has asd but it could be worth a try for your daughter. You can go and ask the gp for referral to them apparently or phone them directly and ask advice, i think the name is pam williams? someone correct me if im wrong?

Also worth phoning your local slt dept again and just saying that she has been 10 months on the initial waiting list, she starts school in sept, and has now been put to wait again and she needs to be seen urgently as you're really concerned - be polite but firm sometimes it works wonders to just make yourself a bit of a pain in the ass (while remaining polite so as not to piss them off!!) those who speak up a lot do get better provision than those who don't. that's quite sad but its very much the case. obviously there are still waiting lists but a bit of a nudge sometimes seems to make them suddenly realise that oh yes actually there is a place for her in a group or whatever else!

Are you on facebook theres a group for verbal dyspraxia support, lot of mn people are on it and the collective knowledge and experience of the parents on there is pretty helpful! this is where I got my private slt recommendation from, I would say its worth joining.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Wed 27-Mar-13 19:31:34

firwala thanks for your post, I am in north london.

the statement thing is something to think about - I don't know anything about statements apart from what i have read on here from time to time. Hmm. Might be worth talking to the school about that - I have DC there already so can talk to them easily. Might be worth giving them a general heads-up anyway (assuming DD gets in there I blimmin hope so otherwise speech problems will be the least of it!!!).

If I haven't had an appt through for her start of therapy in the next week I will call them and harangue the in a polite middle class manner wink

A lot to think about but I'm sure we will get there, thanks again so much everyone smile

firawla Wed 27-Mar-13 19:55:32

The SLT I mentioned is actually in North London so if you're interested pm and I can pass you on her details. I'm actually in W. London myself but found her worth travelling for!
If school fobs you off about the statement may be worth trying to speak to the inclusion team if you can get a number for them locally, or ask your dd nursery to call them in and have a meeting?

leeloo1 Wed 27-Mar-13 21:28:46

We were in the same situation - told 12 weeks for initial assessment (it took more like 16 - and I only got the app when I called to ask what was happening and was told 'oh we were about to call you' hmm), eventually seen in beginning of Nov. Then told we'd be put on a waiting list for therapy... probably by January. We went private as not willing to wait that long and an app arrived for a course of therapy to begin at the beginning of March! Argh! I'm so glad we didn't wait.

I had issues finding a private SALT because anyone working in the NHS in your local area will not be able to work for you privately, as its a conflict of interests. Which made sense but was annoying!

I used the website linked to above and searched using the advanced search, rang anyone local-ish all of whom were fully booked or couldn't work with me as in the same borough. But I asked everyone I spoke to if they could recommend anyone and eventually that paid off and 1 week later we had our private appt. We're lucky and found a really experienced therapist with 20 years experience in the field we needed! Its (honestly) been life changing for us all (DC as speech is transformed, and as parents our stress levels were through the roof and its such a relief that it'll be dealt with before DC starts school)!

We have appts each saturday at our house, £75 for 1 hour. Luckily the therapist used the information from the NHS initial consultation we'd had so that didn't have to be re-done.

I have a friend who works as a speech therapist with rehabilitating stroke victims and over the last few years she reckons funding has been slashed so much that patients are just not being seen, (e.g. she was overstretched, not changed jobs and there is no-one to take over her old patients) or being seen after 10mths waiting etc... so if you have the money to go privately then it definitely seems to be advisable.

leeloo1 Wed 27-Mar-13 21:31:55

I should say, most private salts will work with you until your NHS referral comes through, so it can be a short-term thing cost-wise. When our referral came through we decided to stick with private one though.

birdsnotbees Wed 27-Mar-13 21:40:23

A small thing: is your child's problem developmental or physiological? I ask as DS was "diagnosed" as "probably developmental" when at nursery by his excellent teacher (it was a pre-school nursery and the teacher was head of the foundation stage, so was pretty clued up).

We had to wait 8 months before we got to see anyone on the NHS but because we'd been told that it was likely to be developmental we started practicising different letter sounds at home. One letter at a time until that letter sound had been mastered and then we moved onto the next - we did a few minutes every day, just after getting up in the morning.

My DH was very patient and good with DS, was very gentle and persistent and limited it to a few minutes every day, but by the time we got to see the SALT, DS was almost there, and she praised us for tackling it at home. We had one session, kept up the practice and within 12 months the problems were resolved.

Obviously this won't work if the problem is physiological but worth thinking about. DS's vocab was good but certain letter sounds were completely wrong (most of them, actually). DH and I just worked out how to make certain sounds, what kind of shape the mouth and tongue needed to be etc. We checked with the SALT about whether that was the "wrong" thing to do but she said absolutely not.

Ignore this if not relevant, just thought I'd add our experience.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Wed 27-Mar-13 22:07:00

Leeloo that is really helpful, especially the part about maybe getting private until the NHS comes through. that sounds doable. the whole thing seems like it runs to money and although we are better now we still don't have money to spare (does anyone at the mo).

birdsnotbees that is really interesting especially as when DH took her to an NHS drop in months ago and when I took her for her initial NHS assessment the other day (which confirmed yes speech dire now you can get on the waiting list for therapy which will be more months shock and hence this post) they were very clear that we should not try and do anything with her ourselves more than the obvious. So we have always done eg getting her to choose stuff so she has to say something, repeating stuff back, doing stories and trying to gently get her to join in with the noises, choosing stories with noises eg bear hunt for sounds... We did all that instinctively and they said must not do more eg get her to repeat stuff or anything.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Wed 27-Mar-13 22:08:21

"DS's vocab was good but certain letter sounds were completely wrong (most of them, actually)."

YY this sounds like DD. She rabbits away 19 to the dozen, great long sentences and terribly impassioned, and you can only understand about 1 word in 10 bless her.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Wed 27-Mar-13 22:10:25

sorry contradicted myself there!
So we will say stuff eg in a story blah blah snake, DD what's that, and point? So she will say snake.
They said not to say to her "can you say this" type thing.

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