All parents want what’s best for their kids, which is why it’s always tricky when the time comes to bring in third-parties. For thousands of parents up and down the UK, private speech therapists deliver an exceptionally important and beneficial service the likes of which can change the lives of their kids for the better. From the simplest of temporary communication hiccups to long-term speech problems of a more severe nature, the right treatment at the right time and at the hands of the very best therapist can work wonders.
All of which leads to the obvious question – how can any parent be sure they’re making the right decision? After all, with so many competing service providers on the market, standards will surely vary from one to the next, right?
This is indeed the case and while it’s technically difficult to find a provider that’s in any way substandard, there’s a touch of proactivity required when it comes to finding the best. So with the best interests of your own kids in mind, here’s a quick look at the most important boxes to tick when it comes to choosing the very best speech and language therapists:
1 – An Established Business
First of all, it’s technically possible and totally legal for anyone with the relevant qualifications to step out of university and immediately begin advertising their services as a speech therapist for children. And it’s not to say that some of these individuals won’t be able to offer stellar service either, but as there’s a big difference between classroom-based theory and real-life practice, established and experienced providers are always the best.
This is why you should be looking for signs that the business has in fact been in business for quite some time and has therefore had time to develop and hone its services.
2 – Reputation
One of the most important checks to make of all is that of the reputation the therapist or therapist group has earned in the eyes of its clients and customers. When a parent takes a child for therapy and the services provided are excellent, they don’t tend to keep their joy and praise to themselves. Likewise, when and where a therapist falls short of the mark and the parents are dissatisfied, they’re technically even less likely to keep their opinions to themselves.
As such, regardless of what’s been said about the provider you’re looking into, you should be able to find plenty of examples of feedback scattered around the web to help you make up your mind. And as those penning these reviews and testimonials will be parents and guardians just like you, you really have no reason not to take what they have to share with you as the truth.
3 – Obligation-Free Consultations
You should always be invited to visit the therapist for an initial consultation which is either 100% free of charge, or at least free of any kind of obligation to sign up for a long- or short-term course of treatment. Responsible therapists are dedicated and committed to doing what’s right by their clients and their children, which means making it as easy as possible for them to attend an initial consultation to discuss any apparent or suspected problems.
4 – Flexibility
Another core trait of the outstanding speech therapist is a service provider that’s willing to work around your needs, your schedule and your budget. Right at the other end of the scale you’ll find those who expect you to take time off work, expect the kids to miss school and come up with the kinds of set-in-stone prices that you can either take or leave. The very nature of this kind of work calls for huge flexibility in order to allow for the best possible outcomes, therefore nothing less should be expected or accepted.
5 – A Good Connection
Last but not least, there’s much to be said for the on-paper sides of the vetting process – things like qualifications, experience, costs and so on will always be factored into the equation. However, there’s quite simply nothing at all that’s more important than making sure that the therapist you choose is one that both you and your child can get along with and have genuine respect for.
If the two of you simply do not ‘click’ for any given reason, you’ll find it impossible to have full faith in them and thus the whole process is rendered rather redundant. They don’t need to be your best friend, but they do at least need to earn your respect and trust from as early on in the process as possible.