How Much Does Speech Therapy Cost?

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, based on the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly one in 12 children in the United States ages three to 17 had a disorder related to voice, speech, language, or swallowing during the year 2012. At 8%, frankly speaking, these numbers are quite high and speak a lot of how prevalent these speech disorders are.

These disorders typically include stuttering, apraxia of speech, speech sound disorder, cluttering, lisps, and muteness.

Having a speech impediment may not be serious in some cases and can be overcome by children who have them as they grow up. But some can pose serious issues like when they impede learning especially at a very young age when they need to absorb a lot.

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As parents or as family members, we only want the best for our loved ones and would not want to take chances. When we see signs of speech problems early on, we would like to immediately seek help. After all, prevention is still better than cure.

Let us look into the different speech therapy rates and the different factors that affect them in this article.

Average Cost of Speech Therapy

According to MDSave.com, the national average cost of speech therapy for 12 sessions is $794, with price ranging from $435 to $1,983. While the same speech therapy for 6 sessions has an average cost of $417 with a price range of $227 to $1,092.

The rate of a Speech Language Pathologist depends on the location and experience but would range around $100 to $150 per hour in private clinics. It could cost even higher when if the SLP is connected with a hospital.

BrooklynLetters.com charges the following speech therapy rates:

  • $140-$160 for 60 minutes
  • $120-$140 for 45 minutes
  • $90-$105 for 30 minutes
  • $85-$100 per session (10 sessions minimum) for social skills group rates
  • $700 and up for a comprehensive bilingual speech and language assessment – Spanish, Russian, Polish, Farsi, Korean, and Italian. 

Meanwhile, SensationalKidsOkc.com charges $100.00 per half hour session. But if you do not have insurance or the facility is out of the network of your insurance company, same day payment discount is given and you would only need to pay $60 for the half-hour session and $120 for the one-hour session. If the child received the speech therapy and one hour occupational therapy, you would be given a $20 discount for each service.

What are Included

First, in the initial assessment, a speech evaluation is performed as well as the performance of some test to determine which treatment plan is applicable to the child’s condition, if it is needed at all. During the assessment, the speech therapist would also likely determine the child’s skills as well as areas of challenge.

On the other hand, what comprises each speech therapy session depends on where they are performed. With that being said, these are what you would usually expect in a typical speech therapy session:

  • One on one treatment with a therapist or a speech language pathologist with the main goal of providing a high quality and dedicated speech and language therapy.
  • A specialty room wherein to provide the service
  • Treatment materials and tools
  • A tried, tested, and effective method to ensure success of the therapy

Some therapy clinics may even include the following:

  • Direct, hands-on assistance to the family of the patient in educating about the child’s issues
  • Help you manage your child’s challenges whether at home, school, etc.
  • Interactive involvement with the child’s pediatrician, teachers, etc. and coordinating with them about the limitations, and issues as well as the progress of the child.

During the actual therapy, the SLP should be able to use different methods and tools based on the age, the level of speech disability as well the underlying cause of the speech impediment to improve the speech capabilities of the patient. These can include but not limited to various activities, speech repetition, mouth and tongue exercises, among others.

Additional Costs

Before a speech therapy is even considered, an initial thorough evaluation is required in order to determine whether a child needs the therapy or not. This two to four-hour long evaluation may cost anywhere between $300 to $500 depending on the speech pathologist and the location, among other factors.

But how much actually is charged depends on whether you intend your child to be serviced or not. If your child is eventually evaluated and needed the speech therapy which the facility would provide, you would normally be charged the minimum amount. But if you are just after the evaluation and you do not intend to enroll your child in the facility or you are looking into some other clinics, then you would be charged the $500.

Depending on the condition of the child, additional service may be required, like attending an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), performing observations at school or home, with each activity lasting up to one and a half hours and are charged $150 each.

Shopping for Speech Therapy

When looking for a speech therapy for your child, your foremost concern should not always be the rate but the quality as well. With that in mind, shopping around is the key. It never hurts to ask around to get the best deal for your child.

One way to go is to check out various speech therapy providers near your area by using the MDSave’s locator. Or better yet, go directly to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or ASHA.org to find a professional Speech Language Pathologist in your area.

Factors Affecting Speech Therapy Cost

Speech and language therapy rates would vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Diagnosis – each therapy is priced differently and what applies to your child depends on what kind of condition your child is diagnosed with
  • Severity – even if there are certain types of treatments that are suitable for each condition, the severity of the condition may vary and some  may need additional guidance apart from the usual activity that others require with the same condition
  • Age – the therapies applied to each child is specially designed according to some criteria and one of those is the age of the patient. The sooner you subject your child with speech difficulty to therapy, the greater the prognosis.
  • How often is the treatment – the number of times your child needs or required to attend the therapy sessions is one major determinant of how much does speech therapy cost in totality.
  • Type of treatment – the treatment is based on the plan projected during the initial assessment which is based on the child’s condition which can be different from the other patients and therefore merits different pricing.
  • The therapist or SLP – the level of experience and expertise of the speech therapies more often than not impacts the most the rate of these therapies.
  • How the child responds – different treatment plans are designed for each patient and more often than not, the level of improvement of the child after a number of therapies would be the deciding factor if they need further sessions or not.
  • Insurance – majority of the insurance companies do not cover speech therapies especially if they are stemming from a congenital defect or developmental delays. But there may be those which do cover some special cases like speech impediment brought about by accidents and illnesses. Coordinate with your insurance providers or the human resources department of your employer to inquire about the coverage.
  • Cash payment – there are some clinics that offer discounts for cash paying patients when they do not have insurance or the clinic is not with the insurance’s network.
  • Capacity to pay – some health care facilities offer sliding scale or charging rates based on the family’s income. So most likely, the professionals who work there follow the same charging schemes. The key is to always inquire.

Additional Information

In worst cases where there is a loved one with a speech impediment especially if it was your child, getting the help of speech therapist can be a challenge especially if the budget is tight.

But you can have several options if this concerns you. Take a look at the following alternatives below:

  • Flexible spending accounts

When companies do not have medical insurance package for employees or even if they do but more often they are limited, talking to your employer about setting aside a portion of your salary for qualifying medical and childcare services is a good option. This income is exempt from tax and therefore can somehow help you in the medical expenses.

  • Combine private and public speech therapy program

There are instances where your insurance coverage would not cover the entire cost of speech therapy for some reasons. And when this happens, you can combine the benefit of the coverage and the public speech therapy program provided by the government. This way, you get the best of both “limited” worlds.

  • Network

Not only do support groups help you cope with the situation, but you may also find joining these groups beneficial. This can be especially true when you organize a group therapy sessions with the members of these support groups you have joined either online or in the community and avail of the discounts just by attending the sessions together.

  • Financial assistance

When you are in the situation where your back is against the wall so to speak and your child or loved one needs the therapy badly, you can always run to some funding institutions for help. Just visit your local county government and inquire for these types of assistance.

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