Tuesday, September 3, 2013

So your kid has a “speech problem” ... now what?

'Let's Talk Tuesday' is a bi-weekly post series with ideas on how you can help your child of any ability, but especially those with Apraxia, Autism, speech disorders or late talkers. These are meant to be simple ways to encourage speech. I am not a speech therapist, but I am a mom of an Apraxic child, I am just sharing these ideas in hopes that they will help someone else. 

If you have a story or an idea that you would like to share, please email me at [email protected]


There were a couple of different times before my daughter Paige was diagnosed with Apraxia that I really knew something wasn't quite right with her speech & that we needed to help her more than we were at the time. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know where to go, what to do, or how to help her. I didn't know where find help... if I did we would have already been utilizing that option!

Even after a year, I'm still learning everyday about Apraxia & helpful options for help with speech, but I thought I might put together a list of all of the resources that I've found helpful or heard of to make things a bit easier for some of you.

Where to start?
     If your child has been diagnosed with something, find the main page for it & don’t stray too far away from it. People always love to post horror stories & it may just scare you & not help you.  Here are some main sites that may be of help for you.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
If you know of any others, please let me know, I'd love to add to the list & help as many people as possible.

     If your child has not yet been diagnosed with anything yet, be weary of what you read online.  Every child is so different & everyone has their own story (some are worst case scenarios), so don't rely too much on what you find online.  Read the tips below on where to start & who to contact to get your child the most help possible.

Contact your local early intervention program:
(birth - age 3)
     Early Intervention (EI) is a program that offers developmental help and support for children during the critical early years.

     *There’s not a main website for all EI programs across the country. At least in my area, our local EI program doesn’t solely go by the name of “Early Intervention”, so it might be slightly tricky to find which one is right for you. It took me a couple of calls to find the right one for our area. The quickest way to find your local EI Program is to Google “early intervention (your city, county or state)”.

Contact your local school district:
(age 3+)
     Once your child is 3, your school district can give you services along with your child's education. Paige is currently 3, so our local school district has offered her preschool services with some group speech therapy mixed in her day. Every child’s needs are different, but the school district will be a great resource. It’s also important to remember that although this resource is a necessity if you ask me (if your child is in public schools), they are still on a tight budget, so I often hear about people having to be persistent to get their child the help they really need.

Find a support group:
     I can't stress this one enough.  This will be a source of strength for you.  There are people who have been where you are now & they can give you some awesome & very helpful tips specific to your needs.  Look online for any sort of support group. For example, Apraxia Kids' has a FB Page for people to go to get advice & such.

     Local support groups can be very beneficial.  The people in the support group can recommend therapists, or other local activities that will benefit your child. For example, Apraxia Kid's website has a page dedicated to local Apraxia support groups.  Speechville.com also has provided contact information for regional support groups.  To check it out click here.  I also hear that Yahoo Groups is a great resource for local support groups.

     If you can't find one, make one! Chances are, other people are looking for one, too. I created this facebook group because I couldn't find a local Apraxia FB page. It’s been very beneficial for me (& I hope others), so I’m glad I did it!  This link also is a good resource for starting a support group.

Find out if your insurance covers speech therapy:
     Not all insurance companies/plans cover speech therapy. Call your insurance company & ask if your plan covers speech therapy. Be sure to ask if it’s an unlimited or limited number of speech therapy visits & of course the % of each visit that is covered. Speech therapy can get very pricey, so if you can get your insurance company to work with you, this will be very beneficial to you.
     This link is geared towards those who have kids with Apraxia, but it is a good starting point for anyone needing help figuring out the whole insurance thing.

Find a good speech therapist:
     When I was looking for a good speech therapist the first time, I didn't know anyone else with Apraxia to ask for referrals of. I googled it & relied a lot on ratings that other people had left on rating sites like healthgrades. I also looked on the speech therapist’s website & noticed that they had great experience with Apraxia, so that made me feel more comfortable with picking her.

     If you are able to find a local support group, though, this can be a great question to ask them. Maybe they’ll know someone great & that will help you out tremendously!

     This article gives some good advice on what to look for in speech therapist.  Once again, it's geared towards Apraxia, but it can easily benefit anyone needing to find a speech therapist.

Easter Seals:
     The Easter Seals provides services to help children and adults with disabilities and/or special needs as well as support to their families. Easter Seals is committed to caring for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and special needs resulting from any cause -- whether diagnosed at birth or incurred through disease, accidental injury or the aging process.

     The Easter Seals have child development centers throughout the country and also a very helpful developmental questionnaire. They seem to be a great resource, especially for those who have autistic children.

Scottish Rite:
     The Scottish Rite program offers free or discounted speech therapy for kids who are in need. They may have a waiting list, but call them & get all of the info.

Contact your local university:
     Contact your local university to see if they offer discounted speech therapy. My local University offers it on a sliding scale based on what your child needs & on your income. They have the students in the speech pathology and audiology graduate program conduct the speech therapy, under the supervision of clinical faculty & staff who are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).  This seems to be a fairly popular option.

Apply for speech therapy grants:
     There are 2 grants that I know of that offer money for speech therapy. (If you know of any more, please let me know!)
United Healthcare Children’s Foundation
Small Steps in Speech
     I've heard of several people getting grants from both programs, so you might get it, too! Speech therapy costs can add up very quickly & it’s worth a try!

Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
     If your child has a speech disorder, chances are that they can most likely qualify for the Supplemental Security Income program. SSI is is strictly need-based according to income & assets. SSI can be a sort of insurance that helps pay for your child’s speech therapy. On their website, it says that a child is “considered disabled if he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) AKA Disability:
     Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is also an insurance for those who are disabled. Monthly payments for those who qualify are based on the individual’s earning record, which is on file with the Social Security Administration. I have heard that there is a 5 month waiting period for benefits. (let me know if I am wrong...)

     As far as SSDI goes, the requirements for SSI & SSDI are very similar, the main difference is that SSI is based on financial need (if I understand it correctly myself). Click here for more detailed information about how they are different.

     Another awesome resource for applying for disability benefits is here. It’s focused on those who have children with Apraxia, but it can be very beneficial to any type of speech disorder.

What about you?
     It’s more than okay to mourn your child’s diagnosis, but remember not to mourn it so long that it affects them negatively. They need you. You are their biggest support & can make the biggest impact in their journey.

     Don’t forget to take some time for yourself, too. You need to be at your best because this is a crucial time for your child. When you feel your best, you’ll be a better cheerleader & advocate for your child. This will probably be an exhausting road, but you can make it a beautiful one!

Other resources:
     Visit my Pinterest board for more tips & options for your special needs child & stay tuned every other Tuesday for our Let’s Talk Tuesday series. I’ll share easy tips you can do with your child daily to encourage speech.

Did I miss anything? I'd love to hear what opportunities you've found helpful. Two heads are better than one... Tell me in the comments below!
*This post may contain affiliate links.  What that means is that I will get a small percentage of what you purchase through the link.  This will in no way charge you more money... in fact, I love to save money so I usually post links that are the best deals possible.  I am only an affiliate for companies I personally use and recommend, so I know you will be in good hands.  All money earned through my affiliate links or donations will go to my daughter's speech therapy.  

Linked up to Follow Our Thrift.

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