Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a connection between my child's speech-language development and school success in learning to read?
Yes. There is a strong connection between the correct development of speech and language skills and learning to read in school.
Children who do not develop good speech and language skills as toddlers and preschoolers often have difficulty becoming competent readers.
If a child goes to kindergarten not ready to read, there is a 75 percent chance that child will never become a competent reader.
How your child develops speech and language skills is the strongest predictor of reading and school success.
What is the process to determine if my child needs therapy?
When we first receive a referral for assessment, our team meets to discuss your child's needs and selects the best therapist to provide those services.
We call you to set up a good time for the assessment.
The assessment will be for at least an hour. We work with you and your child during the assessment.
Our state of the art facility has specially designed observation rooms with one way mirrors. Most often, it's better if you are present to help us better know your child.
Standard tests help determine where your child's skills are compared to other children. Your concerns and observations are important and are included in the assessment.
Recommendations are discussed with you. If your child needs speech help, we work with you to develop the best plan.
All decisions are made with your input and approval.
What happens if my child does not "qualify" for services?
In Maine, only the most severely delayed children under age 3 "qualify" for services through the Maine Department of Education. These standards were put in place to manage the number of children receiving services.Click here to learn more about eligibility for therapy.
While children may not "qualify" to access services through the state, this does not mean they don't have a need or disorder in their speech and language.
Families can (and do) seek services on their own to assure their child receives help. Talking to your child's doctor and seeking an independent evaluation with us is always an option.
How long will my child be in speech therapy?
This is one of our most frequent and difficult questions to answer.
How long your child will require professional intervention is influenced by how severe the delays are, the effectiveness of follow-through speech activities at home and/or in your child's preschool setting, and regular attendance.
A child with a:
- mild delay in grammar or articulation might expect to receive help for four to six months,
- moderate delay might expect to need help for a year,
- moderate to severe delay or a combination of delays in developing words, sentences, and speech articulation might expect to receive help for several years.
Some problems may require some type of continued intervention or support after your child starts school.
Can my child receive speech therapy at daycare or preschool?
Our speech-language pathologists provide therapy services at selected locations in Waldo County. SPEECH THERAPY ON YOUR COMPUTER.Your child can get therapy with an online face to fave video connection right from your home computer. Click here to see how.
We may suggest your child be seen in our speech-language learning center at Waldo County General Hospital. Our center space is professionally designed and equipped with materials and technology that may not be readily available in another location.
Your child may also be able to pay attention and learn better in our therapeutic environment, which helps your child to more quickly learn the skills that can then be carried over into everyday activities.
We support state and federal mandates regarding providing service for children in the least restrictive environment and natural setting.
Recommendations for speech therapy treatment are made for your child based on you and your child's needs and professional judgment regarding how your child can receive the best services to make the greatest gains and most rapidly acquire appropriate speech language and learning skills.
There are a lot of different papers and permissions that need to be signed before speech therapy is provided for my child. Is all of this necessary?
Yes. The permission and consent forms you sign assure confidentiality and that reports and information go only to the people you specify.
These forms not only protect your rights and confidentiality, they are also required under state and federal regulations.
Completing this paperwork at the start of therapy and reviewing it regularly assures that your child will be able to continue to receive services. It also allows for verification that information is being directed to agencies and individuals as you have authorized.
It looks like the therapist is just "playing" with my child. Is this therapy?
Absolutely. You will observe the speech-language pathologist "playing" with your child in therapeutically specialized and specific ways.
The play techniques our therapists use include facilitated play, focused stimulation, and a variety of different facilitative and behavioral techniques to facilitate speech and language development.
Our treatment approach embeds explicit therapeutic skills into activities your child will find enjoyable. Sometimes we do require a more direct "work" approach to help your child attain better attention, listening or readiness-for-learning skills.
A tremendous amount of learning is occurring during these interactions with your child and this "play" has a specific purpose and objective. We'll help you learn how!
May I be present when my child receives speech therapy?
Yes. Your presence and active participation during speech therapy is important to your child's success.
Very often we will ask parents to participate in speech therapy. We model different techniques and activities for parents to complete with their child at home.
We also have available specialized observation rooms with one-way mirrors that allow parents to observe how their child is interacting during therapy intervention.
Can I drop my child off for speech therapy and go run errands?
Typically we would prefer that parents are present during therapy with their child. This helps assure parents and other caregivers are actively involved in learning how to help their child continue to make improvement after the therapy session.
Speech therapy sessions are a small part of a child's total time and what happens outside therapy is what really helps make improvements occur much faster.
We recognize you may need a break and go to our cafeteria for a cup of coffee. Occasionally this is fine. Your speech-language pathologist will let you know how to best participate in speech therapy with your child.
What is my assurance of quality professional services?
Our speech-language pathologists:
- Have a master's degree.
- Have completed at least 350 supervised practicum hours in their college program.
- Have completed internships in different locations.
- Have completed a one-year supervised clinical fellowship year.
- Have passed a national qualifying examination in speech-language pathology.
- Are licensed by the Maine Board of Examiners on Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
- Are recognized experts in early childhood reading.
- Provided professional language literacy training for one of the America's first Early Reading First programs.
- Provide workshops and training for other professionals at regional and national conferences.
- Receive ongoing continuing professional education that exceeds the professional licensing requirements.
- Collectively, have over 130 years of clinical experience.
- Are trained in CPR and other emergency procedures.
Waldo County General Hospital is licensed by Medicare and MaineCare and is the recipient of the Margaret Chase Smith Maine State Quality Award.
Contact the Speech-Language Pathology Department for more information.