Speech Therapy Location: Home or Clinic?
A common question that I get from parents who are wondering about the optimal location for speech therapy is: “Should we do it at home or come to your clinic?”
Generally speaking we find that children of all ages do better in their home environment.
Advantages of Home Visits
1. Your child is immediately more comfortable in their own home.
- When a child is seen at home, we can usually hit the ground running with our treatment goals and start to see results quicker. This is because the child is already comfortable and starts to show us their communication abilities almost immediately.
- When a child is seen at our clinic, there are often 2-3 sessions of “breaking the ice”. The child is a little more shy or reserved as they are in an environment which is unfamiliar.
2. Generalization of progress occurs quicker when visits are in the home.
- When a child is seen at home, we can start to incorporate their goals into their real everyday situations since we are already in your home. That translates to faster progress and goal achievement.
- When a child is seen at our clinic, there is typically a longer period of time for generalizing the gains which are made in the structured therapy setting, into their everyday communication situations.
3. Consistency of therapy is higher when visits are done in the home.
- When a child is seen at home, there are often far less cancelations and sessions are done on a consistent weekly basis. That is likely because we are doing the travelling and issues such as weather, traffic or car troubles are no longer an issue for parents.
- When a child is seen at our clinic, the rate of cancelations are higher. This translates to slower progress towards treatment goals since the visits are less consistent.
4. Home visits are more convenient and stress-free.
- When a child is seen at home, the therapist does the travelling. This eliminates the hassle of packing and travelling to yet another appointment
- When a child is seen at our clinic, the responsibility is on the parent to travel to the appointment and ensure that they are arriving on time for their scheduled session.
Office Visits Are Beneficial When
1. Your home environment is too busy.
Some multi-generational families have homes which are so busy and so loud, that there is no space for therapy which will be distraction free.
2. You live in an apartment building with difficult access.
Some apartment buildings can be difficult to service due to limited visitor parking and increased time required for accessing the building and the apartment suite.
3. Your home environment is too distracting.
If your home is full of toys in every room of the house, an office environment would be better. This is because we want your child to engage with us with toys which we have specifically and carefully chosen for his/her goals.
Finally, I would like to address some popular myths associated with home visits:
MYTH: “If you do the sessions in my home, my child will run away and not participate”
REALITY: Speech therapy sessions in your home are a totally unique experience for your child! When has your child ever been visited by an adult who comes into your home carrying a huge bag of toys and games specifically to play with him or her one on one?! Probably never. Typically when adults visit your home, they sit down in a chair and speak with the other adults in the room in boring “adult language”. Of course your child is not going to want to engage in those situations! Our therapists are professional child communicators. We know how to speak “child language”. We are fun, engaging and WE BRING THE TOYS!!
MYTH: “I don’t have a proper space for you to work with my child”
REALITY: We can work anywhere in almost any room in your home. We can work on the floor in the living room, at the kitchen or dining room table, in the basement, or even in a bedroom!
MYTH: “I have a younger child who will interrupt the session”
REALITY: Siblings are a very real part of the home environment. Most of the time, mom can occupy younger siblings while our therapist is with the child receiving therapy.
In conclusion, there are several factors to consider when making the decision of whether to have your child’s speech therapy sessions in your home or at a clinic. Feel free to call us anytime to discuss your specific situation and we will help you choose the best option for your child.