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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: Private speech evaluation

Friday, October 12, 2012

Private speech evaluation

I have been antsy since the poor and disappointing experience I had in the school district.  Poor Ashlynn has once again been subjected to constant therapy all day long.  In addition, I couldn't stop thinking that I still have a month until she starts school and therapy, and then it might be another month or more after that to "give the therapist a chance."  We could potentially be losing two months of valuable time that she could be working on speech!

A thought came to me in the middle of the night, when my mind was racing once again with how I could help her more; and I realized that my insurance probably covers therapy.  I discovered that it did! 

I decided Ashlynn can't wait.  There is so much research showing that early intervention is key, and as her mom AND as an SLP, I know she is at a prime stage in development to effect the most change.  She is open and willing to practice, and even opens the app on my iPad everyday that is just to practice speech.  We have to act NOW.  As much as I pride myself on keeping up on the current research, I am not an expert on apraxia.  You might be thinking, what did you go to school for then?  Well, let me tell you, the scope of practice for speech/language pathology is extremely vast and it grows everyday.  Let me list just a few disorders as a school based SLP I am responsible for treating:

Articulation/Phonological disorder
Receptive or Expressive Language Disorder
Auditory Processing Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Global Developmental Delay
Cerebral Palsy
Down's Syndrome
Cleft lip and palate
Velopharygeal deficiency

This list is not exhaustive.  Basically, this list is a group of the most common disorders I see in the schools.  SLP's are also responsible for:

Voice disorders and pathology
Traumatic Brain Injury
Dysphagia (swallowing disorders)

This second list is more commonly seen in medical settings and not so much treated in the schools.

My point in this list is to show that all SLP's have knowledge and training in all these areas.  However, it's much like a general practitioner.  Your primary care doctor knows a little about a lot; but if you really want an expert opinion you may choose to go to someone who specializes in just a certain part of the body.  Someone who deals with your certain condition daily and who sees a variety of types.  The field of speech/language pathology is not there yet, but there are SLP's who choose to focus on just one or a few areas thereby becoming more of an "expert" in that particular disorder.

In the schools, it's pretty safe to say the SLP's are experts in phonological, articulation, and language disorders since these are the most common disorders seen; and the average SLP will work with these disorders daily.  In addition, most school-based SLP's are extremely knowledeable about the law as it relates to them.  However, the average school based SLP will not see as many less prevalent disorders such as apraxia or stuttering; and though qualified to treat it, may or may not be an "expert" so to speak in the disorder.   After the IEP meeting, I decided I want to get "expert" help for Ashlynn from someone who deals with apraxia daily or almost daily. 

I took her into a private SLP yesterday who came recommended by other mommies of apraxic children.  I left the session with my mommy sense saying "yes, yes, yes!"  This is exactly who and what we need!  She was extremely knowledgeable in treating apraxia, knew and quoted all the references in the literature, and had Ashlynn working to talk the entire time!  I'm so excited not only for Ashlynn, but also for me to learn from her as I set out to become an expert in this disorder as well.

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