Answers To Frequent Questions

How old should a child be to start speech therapy?
There are no age restrictions. The decision of when to start is really more dependent upon diagnosis. For example, feeding and swallowing cases may be seen as infants; whereas speech and language therapy is typically addressed after a child has reached 1-year of age and is presenting with suspected delays. If you are unsure, please feel free to contact us and we can help you determine the appropriateness of an evaluation for your child.

What ages do we treat?
At First Words we are primarily a pediatric practice serving ages birth-21years. However, there are certain therapists who do treat adults, so feel free to contact us and check for availability for adult patients.

What is an evaluation?
An evaluation is the initial assessment that takes place prior to starting any therapy plan. Evaluations typically consist of formal testing and informal play-based assessments. The formal testing will yield numeric results; while the informal play-based assessments allow the clinician to obtain pertinent clinical observations based on your child’s behaviors and skills as demonstrated during play. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine your child’s strength and weaknesses for a given skill in order to generate an individualized plan of care.

Does insurance pay for speech evaluations and/or speech therapy?
Insurance coverage for any given speech service is dependent upon the individual’s particular plan and benefits. That being said, First Words accepts several Medicaid and Commercial insurance plans and works diligently with insurance companies to help get full and/or partial coverage of a patient’s services.

What happens during a speech therapy session?
During a given session, the therapist will engage with your child in structured and unstructured tasks in order to address the goals delineated within their plan of care. Therapy activities are planned by the therapists in such a way that allows them to take on a consistent basis, guiding their clinical decision making as your child progresses. Parents are consulted after sessions and given carryover activities to assist with progress at home throughout the week.

How long is a therapy session?
The number of days a child receives speech therapy, as well as the duration of time they are seen for each session, varies. Sessions may be 30-, 45-, or 60-minutes in length. After the initial evaluation, your therapist will consult with you regarding their recommendations in order to generate an appropriate therapy schedule based on your child’s needs.

Can my child get speech therapy at home or at their daycare?
Based on clinical research demonstrating the effectiveness of therapy provisions made in the child’s natural environment, First Words honors these findings by providing therapy in the natural environment; where a child feels most comfortable. As such, your child’s speech therapy will take place in the home, at daycare, or at school based on scheduling preferences and needs.

Who would be coming to provide my child speech therapy?
All First Words therapists have obtained at minimum a Master’s level of education in the field of speech pathology. Our therapists also hold a department of health license, as well as national certification in the field of speech pathology. It should also be noted that All therapists have been fingerprinted and have received Level II Background Screening clearance.

Do you offer occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and behavioral therapy (ABA)?
Although our team at First Words consists of speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists, we routinely collaborate other professionals (OT/PT/ABA) to help meet your child’s overall needs. As such, we are able to put you in contact with our trusted partners to help build your child’s therapy team.