As a parent, it can be difficult to know if your child needs speech therapy. There is such a wide range of “normal” speech and language development. Here are a few people who may refer you and your child to a speech therapist: Pediatrician/Dentist Teacher or other school-based professional Another specialist such as a psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc. You! A parent’s intuition should not be ignored. If you think your child is behind or not where they should be, you can absolutely seek out an SLP for a consultation, screening, or evaluation. Public vs. Private Speech Therapy Children with speech and language disorders and delays may qualify for services through your county or public school. However, a child must meet certain criteria to qualify for these services. These standards can vary from district to district. Typically, to receive services through the public school, standardized testing scores need to be significantly below average and/or causing an educational impact. A child who is unable to say the “r” sound correctly, but is getting good grades, has friends, and participates in class probably would not qualify for services. Private speech therapy can be a little more flexible. A speech-language pathologist in a private clinic can work with children who may not qualify for services in the public school, but have areas of weakness that can be addressed. School based therapy is free, whereas private speech therapy requires payment (which can be covered by insurance depending on your plan). School based therapy is often done in small groups, while private therapy can be done one-on-one with greater frequency and duration. School-based therapy can be supplemented with private speech therapy. Clinicians can work together to target goals or divide and conquer different goals. Private speech therapy can be a great resource during these uncertain and unprecedented times. Parents can make sure their child is getting any additional support during these challenging times. In the upcoming weeks, I will be posting about developmental milestones and “red flags.” Stay tuned to learn more about normal speech and language development and things that might need the attention of an SLP.