4 Things to Look for in a Florida Speech Therapist for Kids
At FOCUS, we’re familiar with the process of searching for a Florida speech therapist for kids. When we’re looking to hire speech therapists, there are some key things that we look for – and it goes beyond the right education, certification or qualifications. All those things are important, but they won’t necessarily dictate whether a person is going to work well with kids.
Approximately 5 percent of kids ages 3-17 have a speech-sound disorder that lasts more than a year, often requiring some type of intervention. Sometimes, the cause is due to something like autism or down syndrome or childhood apraxia of speech. But sometimes, it’s for something like a stutter or just a general delay in speech-language skills. For many of the kids who receive speech-language therapy, you’d never be able to tell later in life. This is especially true the younger they are when they start. That’s our goal: To get kids to catch up to their peers and be able to communicate, socialize and function as normally as possible. But in order for children to reach their maximum potential, they need to be paired with therapists who are going to be effective!
Here, we’re offering some insight into the qualities we prize in our speech therapists (and therapists of other disciplines, for that matter). We hope this helps parents in their search to find the Florida speech therapist who will be right for your child.
- Experience and/or passion for working with kids. Just like in law or in medicine, there are many different areas of speech-language pathology practice. Pediatric speech therapy is just one area. You may find a speech therapy provider in your area or insurance network that can technically treat your child, but you’ll get the most out of the experience if you’re working with a clinic or practitioner that is dedicated to providing speech therapy for kids. This kind of work takes a person with a great deal of patience, creativity, playfulness and overall love of working with children. Love of working with kids is a must at FOCUS, and it’s actually the No. 1 quality we look for in a speech therapist.
- Adaptability. Every child is different, which means they shouldn’t all be treated in the same way. Some kids with speech delays or other kinds of disorders are insecure about it, while others are fairly confident. They should be approached in therapy as the individuals they are. It’s also important to find someone who is willing to find out what interests your child. Different techniques will motivate different kids (that’s where that creativity comes in!).
- Ability to listen. Listening is key in communication in general, but you need someone who will listen not only to your child, but also to your family. At FOCUS, we value a holistic approach to therapy, and that means treating the whole child. Your family is a key part of your child’s development and progress, so it’s important that you feel heard too. Your Florida speech therapist should view you as a valuable part of the team. When everyone is on the same page, kids have a better chance of excelling and thriving.
- Up-to-Date Knowledge. For a long time, speech therapists approached speech disorders in children on a very cognitive level. What that overlooked was there are often a lot of physical and technical aspects that are very important to speech and language development. Most speech therapists today are adequately trained and licensed, but it’s a good idea to ask about the techniques and approaches they use, and even the special areas in which they are trained. For example, some of our speech therapists are specially trained to treat feeding and swallowing difficulties. Others are highly skilled and experienced in treating childhood apraxia of speech or autism. Ask the provider you’re considering about their experience and success in treating the specific challenges your child is facing.
Finding a Florida speech therapist that checks all these boxes can be challenging, but your child will do best if you can find a provider who is not only qualified, but a great fit for your family. FOCUS is dedicated to providing the best quality pediatric speech therapy in Southwest Florida. In addition to our clinic, we offer speech teletherapy for families who prefer their child to receive services at home.
FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy in Fort Myers and online speech therapy for kids throughout Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.
Quick Statistics About Voice, Speech, Language, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
More Blog Entries:
Florida Speech Therapy at Home With Virtual Therapy, March 15, 2021, South Florida Pediatric Speech Therapist Blog