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I have to say that I am disgusted with our school system in the area of Speech Therapy.  My daughter is above average academically and does not have any major social problems, but she cannot say her blended ‘r’ correctly.   I had made requests to the speech therapist at her elementary school a few times for her and my son to be evaluated.   The answer is always the same.  I was told that both of my children do not say their ‘r’ sound correctly, but since it is not interfering with them socially or with their academic progress, we cannot receive any help from the school system.

So, when my daughter was in 4th grade I took her to our local hospital for Speech Therapy.  Since our insurance doesn’t cover any part of the cost, we were being billed over $300 a month for once-a-week therapy.   After a few months without seeing any improvement, we stopped going.   (The hospital was really geared toward speech for adult stroke victims and such.)  So, I decided to research speech therapy on my own.  There is a lot of free information online so I began trying to work with my children on my own.  I felt like it was starting to help, but then my daughter would always fall back into her old speech habits.  It's so frustrating!  So, life goes on and then I realize my daughter is about to start middle school and she can’t say, “girl,” “world,” “hurt,” “first,” “here” and other similar words correctly.  I feel so guilty that I've let this continue,  but I am also so angry with the school system.  My husband had the same speech problem, yet he got speech therapy in early elementary school back in the 1970’s so that when he started middle school he was speaking just fine.  Why hasn’t this been the case with my children?  It really is a disservice.

So as always I chose to take the bull by the horns.  I did hours of online research on a new technology that would help kids with speech therapy.  I set up phone conferences and read the statistics on the success rates with this a biofeedback system, and we purchased it, along with online speech therapy that we do via the Internet.  We work on her speech therapy together every day, but it is still very difficult — old habits are hard to break. About 8 weeks into the therapy, we finally began to see a glimmer of hope.  It was like a light had come on and my daughter made the connection between tongue placement and the sounds produced.  The therapist who works with us online is telling me that she is doing great and that it just takes more time with some children.  I am not giving up on my daughter!  I know she can overcome this speech barrier.

P.S.  I just want to spread the word to other parents to get speech therapy early for your child if there's a problem.  You cannot count on your school system.


If you find any comments that are rude or inappropriate, please contact us immediately.

  • zzmarlynn Says:

    I am a speech therapist in the school system. I truly sympathize with the problem you have. your real issue is with the state laws, not the school system.
    Therapists are often not allowed to see children with single articulation errors. The criteria that you ran up against is nearly universal today. And it does not make therapists happy. We are told that schools are for education, not rehabilitation. There is some sense to that.
    Every business must pay attention to budget. Since schools receive money from state and federal funds, the school is subject to those regulations.
    Think about it this way. Suppose there is a child in school who happens to’ve born with one leg shorter than another. This child limps but still manages to get from class to class. His disability does exist but does not interfere with his education. Should the school be required to pay for physical therapy that may benefit him but is not needed for him to acquire an education?
    Remember, it is your tax dollars paying for these services.
    Where should the state draw the line?
    Be frustrated, but direct your frustration to the people who made the standards that your school followed. The state government.

  • Melissa A Says:

    Sorry your school let you down. I know how frustrating that could be. I’m glad you’ve been such a strong advocate for your child and took the bull by the horns in order to get her the help she needs. That’s great that she’s starting to make progress.

  • R Says:

    i have to agree with the first poster. while i understand that it must hurt to see your child like that, a school system is not a free clinic. how would another parent of a child who had speech problems that were, in fact, heavily impacting their acedemic and social development feel if they found that their child was not recieving enough help due to several other children being seen who do not have an issue with their education?
    i can imagine that it is frustrating to have to deal with, but to say that the school let you down when they obviously have many regulations and other factors that tie their hands simply sounds angry and selfish.

  • Anne Says:

    Hi Amanda: When our daughter had a very similar problem with her speech, her elementary school told me that they would not help for the same reasons you were given. I then put her into private speech therapy, until I could no longer afford it. Just before we left, the therapist told me she had a “secret” to tell me: She said that if we would get our family doctor to write a letter to our daughter’s school and explain to them how it would damage our daughter socially and thus damage her academically, then the school would HAVE to provide a speech therapist for her. Our family doctor wrote this letter to our daughter’s school, I gave it to the Principal (keeping a copy for our records!), and the school provided a speech therapist for her for two years. One day our daughter’s “light bulb” also came one about tongue placement, now she speaks fine. Don’t give up regarding your child’s education!

    ZZmarlynn and R: I think your comments are very hurtful!!

  • SSB Says:

    As a retired public school SLP, I certainly understand your frustration. State and Federal regulations do stipulate that speech/language problems must interfere with the educational process for a child to recieve speech therapy. However, social and psychological issues can and should be considered. If you can show that your child is being teased, is embarrassed to talk, or is not participating in oral reading or class discussions, for example, the SLP may reconsider. Good luck!

  • Marlies Says:

    I came across your concerns and wow, as a Speech Pathologist in a pediatric clinic, I can certainly sympathize. We often have parents coming to us privately and the cost is not covered by insurance. So yes, they are paying out of pocket. I just wanted to convey that if you can find a pediatric clinic that will be flexible and fluid with your treatment planning, so much can be done. For example, we have children who come 2-3x/week for 30 minute sessions so that the cost is broken up a bit, but even more significant, the INTENSITY of the service allows for change quicker and it’s much more likely to last …. and be maintained; versus 1 hour/week for an extended period of time. So although it’s quite a cost up front, it’s much more likely to produce results. Good luck; it seems you are really doing what you can and that it will pay off.