Frequently Asked Questions about Speech Therapy
Take a look through some common questions we get asked about Speech Language Pathology at our clinics. Let us know in the comments if you have a question we haven't answered here!
What is Speech Therapy?
Speech Language Pathologists provide Speech Therapy for adults, teenagers, children and toddlers who need help to speak or communicate clearly. A Speech Therapist can perform an assessment to determine an individual's communication skills and the barriers they might be facing. They then create a treatment plan to help them improve.
Some common problems that bring people to Speech Therapy include toddlers that are late talkers, articulation mistakes (ex: difficulties saying 'r' or 'l'), dyslexia (reading or writing impairments), aphasia (difficulty understanding language or expressing yourself following a stroke or traumatic brain injury), stuttering, an accent, public speaking, voice disorders, hearing impairments, and more!
How do I choose a private Speech Therapist?
In Ontario, Canada, all Speech Pathologists must hold a Master’s of Speech Language Pathology and be registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO). Beyond that, there are several subdomains within Speech Therapy that one might specialize in, so ask your Speech Therapist if they have experience with the issue you are seeking treatment for.
Of course, price, location and availability are also common concerns. We recommend that above all, you find a Speech Pathologist who makes you feel comfortable. You want to be able to build a trusting relationship with them. This may take some time to develop, but the professional relationship between a clinician and client can be crucial in terms of support and encouragement in your therapy process.
How often do I have to attend therapy, and for how long?
The frequency of therapy will vary based on each person's circumstances. Some clients attend three times a week and others once a month (the most common frequency at our clinics is once a week). A Speech Language Pathologist will be able to make a recommendation after an assessment, but at the end of the day it is up to the individual (and their family, if involved) to select a frequency based on needs, scheduling, and funding. The duration of therapy can also vary; some individuals may attend a few sessions and feel satisfied while others may be in Speech Therapy for several years. Every individual has a unique therapy plan which you can discuss with your therapist.
Is Speech Language Pathology covered by OHIP?
Yes, some Speech Therapy is publicly funded. This includes Speech Therapy provided at public schools or hospitals, and some community support. At our clinic, public funding can from Ontario Autism Program or from the Interim Federal Health Program for refugees. Most clients receive some coverage from their private insurance, but this varies based on their insurance company. Please reach out to your insurer to find out how much you are covered for Speech Language Pathology annually and if we can bill directly for you. Individuals recovering from a Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) may also be eligible from insurance from their insurer. Clients who do not fall under any of these categories pay out of pocket or receive charitable community funding.
How much does Speech Therapy cost?
Our clinic offers free phone consultations with a Speech Language Pathologist for up to 15 minutes to discuss your case. An initial 1 hour assessment is $159, which includes a written report. Therapy sessions, in-person or online, are 45 minutes each and are $135.
We believe in quality of service, affordable options, and transparency. We don't shy away from listing our fees because we ensure that we offer competitive pricing while maintaining quality services! You can also refer to the Ontario Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA) recommended fees to see how our fees compare here. For more information on our pricing and alternative options, check out our pricing page here.
Do I have to be referred by a doctor?
You can receive therapy from a Speech Language Pathologist without any referral – just make sure to check with your insurance provider since some do require a doctor's referral in order to provide you with coverage. IFHP clients will require a doctor's referral.
What is the difference between speech disorders and language disorders?
Speech disorders have to do with how words sound as they come out of our mouth. For example, not being able to say particular sounds correctly (articulation difficulties). Language disorders have to do with difficulty understanding words or instructions, or not using age-appropriate words or sentences. Find out more here.
How do I know if my child needs Speech Therapy?
You can compare your child's development to a list of typical speech and language milestones according to their age here. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if your child is within the range of typical development or delayed, especially since not all children achieve each milestone at the exact same time. Read more about early signs of speech and language disorders here. If your child has issues with saying enough words, pronouncing their sounds clearly, stuttering, or telling you about their day, they may need to be assessed. A Speech Language Pathologist can help determine if your child has a speech or language delay that requires therapy or if they are developing speech and language typically.
Does my child need a hearing test?
A Speech Language Pathologist may recommend a hearing test to rule our any hearing impairment. An individual may still be able to hear if they have a hearing impairment, but some frequencies or the volume at which they hear may be affected and hard to detect without a formal test. Audiology exams are free in Ontario, please ask your family doctor for a referral today.
Is my child's stuttering normal?
Everyone stutters sometimes, it's a normal part of speech. However, of the general population, 5% of individuals will have stuttered notably between the ages of two to six years old. 80% of these individuals will naturally recover by age 6. However, 1% of the population will continue to stutter. A Speech Language Pathology evaluation is recommended if your child is demonstrating notable stuttering, and especially if your child shows any obvious frustration or "struggle behaviours" (ex: facial/bodily tension, breathing disruptions, grimacing). Read more here.
Can I cure my stuttering?
Everyone stutters sometimes, but some people stutter much more which can negatively impact their daily lives. There is no known 'cure' for stuttering, however, Speech Therapy can help you identify your moments of stuttering, learn strategies to overcome those stuttering moments, and develop a positive and realistic attitude around it so that your stutter does not control your life. While not a cure, Speech Therapy for stuttering can be liberating for you and your speech.
Will speaking a language other than English in the home impact my child's speech development?
Sometimes parents are told they should not speak their native language with their child while they are learning English to keep them from becoming confused, but this is simply not true. Being multilingual has so many benefits including boosting cognitive abilities, problem solving skills, creativity, and more. Speaking more than one language will not cause or worsen speech and language disorders. Check out this video shared by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association about common myths around raising bilingual children.
Is there a way to lose my accent as an adult?
We do not believe an accent is shameful – we think it's wonderful that you speak multiple languages! If you want to improve your clarity in English, we can help. Accent reduction has many factors, including the age when you started learning English, when you became immersed in an English speaking environment, any previous ESL classes, your native language, and the amount of practice you put in. Most clients do not completely eliminate their accent, but they can reduce it or improve their clarity through one-on-one accent modification training with a Speech Language Pathologist.
Is my child autistic?
Approximately 1 in 66 children and youth in Canada are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents and caregivers are usually the first to see the signs for ASD. Speech Language pathologists can also be the first to identify signs of ASD by observing communication delays and other behaviour. If this is the case, a Speech Language Pathologist may refer an individual for a developmental assessment with a paediatrician or another health professional to address these concerns. Please consult your family doctor if you are having concerns. For more information about the early signs of ASD, click here.
Andalusia Speech Therapy has four clinics in Ontario and offers virtual therapy to anywhere in the world. Contact us more for information.