School Speech Therapy AND Private Speech Therapy?

Enrichment Therapies

August 21, 2018

student and teacher reading a book
By: Kelsey Coaldrake, M.A., CCC-SLP

How do you know if private speech therapy is right for your child?

As the school year starts you may be meeting to discuss your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and talking with the speech-language pathologist at school about the goals you have for your child. Or you find yourself concerned about your child but he or she does not qualify for school-based services. You might be putting other supports in place for your child to succeed. It’s possible you are looking outside of the school setting for supplemental supports as well.

Many parents often ask if it is okay to have their child work with their speech-language pathologist at school and receive private speech therapy services outside of school. The simple answer is YES! Many children see both a speech therapist at their school and a speech therapist in a private setting. However, there are factors to consider when making this decision. More is often better, but not always, and each child’s needs are different.

Speech therapists at school partner with private speech therapists to provide the maximum benefit for the children that both parties serve. It is often in your child’s best interests to have two speech therapists collaborating on goals and treatment plans and to help each other problem-solve as your child grows and changes. It is important to keep in mind that school therapists and private therapists have the same credentials and educational backgrounds. School speech therapy is important because it is provided in a natural setting and allows your child to generalize their goals. Private speech therapy is beneficial because it provides additional support that is often important to children’s speech and language growth. The difference is that school services address communication that relates to educational needs and private services address any area of communication needs.

For example, a therapist in a private setting is able to provide therapy for mild articulation difficulties that are not addressed at school if they are not impacting the child’s educational needs. In a private setting, therapists are able to provide more medically-based services, such as targeting oral motor function. In addition, private speech therapy allows children to receive highly individualized services that allow for more repetition of goal targets. A private setting is unique because it allows the therapist to collaborate with the family on a weekly basis to best meet the child’s needs.

Your child would benefit from private speech services if…

  • Your child does not qualify for services at school but is demonstrating red flags for communication development. Read more about red flags here
  • Your child could benefit from specialized treatment that may not be available in the school setting. For example, our therapists at ETLC are PROMPT trained. Click here to learn more about PROMPT and its application to speech sound disorders and apraxia of speech 
  • Your child is motivated to make changes and would benefit from more frequent sessions
  • Your child has a wide variety of goals that may be better targeted in more than one setting  
  • You as a parent or caregiver want to take a more active role in therapy and have a therapist to interact with on a weekly basis
  • Your child receives group therapy at school and would benefit from additional one-on-one instruction
  • You are feeling like MORE might be better (trust your gut, you are the expert when it comes to your child!)

Ultimately, it is important to take into account all of the factors to find the best fit for your child and your family. You will want to consider the time commitment, cost, and readiness of your child. If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language development, feel free to contact a speech-language pathologist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center.


Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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