One question we get asked a lot is how much does speech therapy cost?
Rather than the unhelpful reply, "How long is a piece of string?" it is important to consider the answer is going to be different for each individual.
Age, motivation, focus, chemistry, setting, home carryover, type/severity of speech therapy problem(s), as well as a multitude of other factors all affect the 'recipe' needed for successful therapy.
And much like making a recipe, changing ingredients or new techniques can make or break a cake!
For kids' speech therapy, we take into account lots of things that may shorten or lengthen the therapy time - and therefore the cost.
After a few sessions of getting to know your child and family, the therapist may be able to estimate an approximate rate of progress over the following weeks or months.
Taking all external factors out, it is true there are more 'simple' speech therapy conditions that, particularly with home practice, can resolve over a 8-10 week block. Other conditions may require support for several years. It really does depend on the child.
It's hard to say exactly how much children's speech therapy will cost from the start
The Cost of Not Doing Speech Therapy
One thing is clear - the hefty price of not getting speech pathologist involvement early on.
We already know the benefits of early intervention versus the now outdated and debunked 'wait-and-see' approach.
While a therapist might use their clinical judgement to assess if a speech issue is 'normal' or age-appropriate (and therefore worth waiting), a thorough assessment is the first step.
The sad reality is many speech and language problems are left too long before being checked out, sometimes resulting in:
longer treatment times
knock-on effect on school & learning
adverse impact on relationships/social circle
mental health issues
serious medical or safety implications (e.g. in the case of dysphagia)
Fees for speech therapy sessions are variable so start by asking a therapist and shopping around. They can discuss your child's specific needs including how much speech therapy might cost and if they can offer any rebates.
Cheap speech therapy is not always better (you should be asking why low cost speech therapy is being offered) and checking a speech pathologist is accredited and experienced is worth the extra effort. It is possible to find free speech therapy services or reduced cost (e.g. through university programs) if private costs are too high.
At the end of the day though, trusting your gut by choosing the right therapist is worth its weight in gold.