If you’re new to Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy, you might notice that we do our speech and language therapy a little differently than most places do.
Why We Went From 30 Minutes To 45
When I had a child receiving speech therapy, I was a little frustrated about how it was provided. As I networked with other parents, it became clear that many of us were frustrated with the process. The problem is that about 10-12 years ago, speech therapy became a single-unit service. What does that mean? Well, when you go to occupational therapy or physical therapy, those services are billed in 15-minute increments. Every 15 minutes is one unit of service, which means that a 30-minute session would be 2 units, and a 45-minute session would be 3 units, etc. Speech therapy is billed as one unit, whether the therapist sees your child for 15 minutes, or for 4 hours! So no matter how long a speech therapist actually spends with your child, they get reimbursed by the insurance company for 1 unit.
Why Other Places Offer 30 Minute Appointments
This is why many places that offer speech and language therapy are on a 30-minute model because they will get that amount of money, no matter what. When I started to build our speech and language services, I knew that 30 minutes was not enough time for most of our clients. Many of our clients have a difficult time transitioning from one activity to another—transitioning itself can take 15 minutes! I felt strongly that we were not going to be able to offer the quality of therapy that we wanted to offer if we stuck to the 30-minute model—and quality of therapy is a part of our mission statement and who we are as a company.
That’s why we decided to make our speech therapy sessions 45 minutes long. By using this 45-minute model you get a solid 30-minutes of treatment, plus 15 minutes of transition time plus time for us to talk to the parents.
What Our Speech Therapists Think About 45-Minute Appointments
Our SLPs say that they are so grateful for this 45-minute model! When they’ve worked in other offices with the traditional 30-minute model, they have found that it is incredibly difficult to fit in a solid therapy session in that amount of time. Often they would finish a session and then feel as if they had to rush the client out the door and swoop the next patient in, without being able to take any time for transitions and communication.
Transition From Speech Therapy
We want to make sure we have enough time to transition your child in and meet his or her sensory needs. We often start with some sensory regulation activities in the gym, so that your child is then able to sit, focus and learn. And we can get a lot of the beginning communication activities out of that time in the gym, as a bonus! Even the transition time contains valuable therapy activities. Even taking off shoes can factor into our communication and speech therapy!
Once they’ve had some time to regulate themselves, we have structured time to focus solidly on your child’s individualized goals. It also really helps us to have time to debrief with you at the end of the session. We want to talk to you, the parent, about how things are going at home and what we can do to help. We can talk about things you are seeing that we can incorporate into our sessions, or maybe put together some visuals with you. We know that for a lot of our patients, it’s very challenging to carry what we work on in therapy over into the home. We want to help however we can.
Collaboration With Other Clinicians
With this 45-minute model, we are able to collaborate with your child’s other clinicians, collaborate with you, and also provide adequate transition time so that we can work solidly on 3-5 of your child’s goals every session. We love that we have time to do this at Cutting Edge, with your child! We love being able to maximize your child’s progress!
Many private insurance plans will have visit limits for PT and OT, but not for speech. This makes it easy to add an additional session, for instance, if you’re doing both feeding and speech therapy. We have several families that come in 4-5 times a week for speech because they know they’re getting less than an hour per session and want more time than that. (Our 45-minute sessions are better than the standard 30 minutes, but it is still less than an hour.)
If you reach out to our front office they can tell you what our benefits have to say about speech therapy sessions. If you are meeting your deductible and out of pocket maximum quickly, you will have a lot of time in which you can get more sessions for “free!”
Your Next Step
If you have any questions, talk to your kid’s speech-language therapist! They would love to help you!