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Home Based Speech and Language Therapy

By Marisa Lapish, M.A., CCC-SP, Speech Language Therapist and Author of Straight Talk

I have been working as a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist for the past ten years. Iíve worked in a variety of clinical settings including a university clinic with a hospital contract home health care agency and public schools. Prior to my current status as private practitioner, I worked for East Shore Center which was considered a model SERRC (Special Education Regional Resource Center) for servicing low-incidence populations (blind, deaf, severe behavior disordered, orthopedically handicapped and multiple handicapped children) in the public schools. In recent years, I have served a number of families who home educate in my private practice.

Numerous studies in the field of speech-language pathology have shown family involvement and active participation in a childís therapeutic program to be a key factor in the childís progress toward established goals. My experience from working with families who home educate has substantiated this observation. I can verify that children with even more severe speech-language deficits have excelled under the daily, intensive intervention provided by their own knowledgeable, resourceful and skillful parents. In my professional opinion, the home education parent is the ultimate in "involved parenting" in the therapeutic process.

Parental intervention in the home environment provides optimum therapeutic conditions in the following ways:

The child can receive individualized treatment as well as group interaction within the family on a daily basis

The adult-child rapport is already established. The childís case history is intimately known.

Parent and child are internally motivated to succeed together by virtue of their familial relationship.

The home environment itself is familiar and not artificial (in contrast to a clinical setting), so there is no need to carry over activities.

Meaningful therapy materials are readily available and activities of daily living are authentic rather than contrived. (i.e. There is no need to fabricate flash cards to represent familiar household items and tasks.)

There is the opportunity to work through a variety of real communication situations of importance to the child throughout the day, in contrast to the typical two one-half hour sessions per week of therapy available in most other therapy settings.

Regular, daily sessions at home with the parent provide the consistency and intensity desired to make maximum improvement in speech-language skills.

Resources for parental use are readily available through consultation with speech-language pathologists, libraries of special education and speech-language pathology book clubs, special needs resource catalogs, communication device manufacturers, libraries and support groups.

The home is the least restrictive environment for families who opt to home educate (PL-94-142)

In addition, parents who home educate by definition are typically committed to spending quantities of time in the education of their child; speech-language skills will be a part of that education which permeates throughout all academic subjects. Additional speech-language therapy services could be superfluous and merely a duplication of services rendered at home.

Quarterly consultations with a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist would be ample involvement for a child demonstrating progress in a parent-directed home program. Consultation may include any or all of the following:

Formal evaluation or re-evaluation.

Assessment of progress from stated program goals.

Examination of daily logs or other records.

Demonstration of therapeutic techniques and activities.

Dissemination of knowledge, technical skills, and resources available to parent.

Determination of the efficacy of the current program and re-establishment of quarterly goals as necessary.

A parent-directed home speech-language program under the consultation of a licensed, certified speech pathologist is a viable and positive alternative for families who:

Lack finances to receive speech-language therapy at the institution of their choice.

Have religious convictions, which prevent them from using free government programs.

Have access to professional resources to obtain necessary skills and knowledge.

Are committed to consistent implementation of the home program, and keep accurate records of the childís progress for verification.

                    More Information About Straight Talk