Tonight we have private speech therapist coming to our house to give Rafa an assessment. I guess this is kind of like the “intake”. We looked long and hard around our area to find an SLP that was fluent in Spanish and found a local, bilingual therapist that also works with our local schools, so we’re hoping we can get a different perspective and additional insight into the IEP process.
It feels like a first date though. We were always assigned therapists through Early Intervention and didn’t have much say other than the random “Would you like me to come to your house next week?” Now I’m rushing to prepare questions and need to remember that we are hiring a therapist and it’s our job to find the most qualified person. Below you’ll find a list of what questions I plan to ask. It’s worth noting that there are things we were looking for prior to contacting anyone: CCC-SLP, mention of Apraxia on their service listings, fluent in Spanish, within reasonable distance from home and positive testimonials or reviews.
Interview Questions for a new Speech Language Pathologist
(in no particular order):
- What experience do you have with Childhood Apraxia of Speech?
Obviously we want to make sure the SLP has dealt with CAS before and has studied up on the research and approach to therapy. In our case, she was very experienced and adjusted her assessment approach almost immediately responding to her first interactions with Rafa.
- Do you prefer to do therapy in English or Spanish? Why?
We actually didn’t have to ask this. She started in Spanish the second she walked in the door and only switched to English to talk to us and in certain cases where Rafa is more familiar with a word in English. It was amazing to see her seamlessly switch between languages like Rafa is used to at home.
- What are your thoughts on raising a child with speech delays with two languages?
We didn’t ask this. It was our first visit and she was working both languages just fine so we’ll wait until the time comes.
- Do you think there is such a thing as too much therapy?
This SLP defaulted to the standard answer for these type of questions, “it depends.” She explained how you have to read the child and adjust as necessary. Adding her sessions into the mix would take Rafa’s speech therapy to 3 times a week PLUS the fourth day of OT/PT he has. We’ll watch him closely to see how he handles it.
- What children do you typically work with? Age? Diagnoses?
Again, her experience shine through here. She balances her private practice with work at for local school district. She works with children from 2 on up and deals with all type of speech development disorders. The good and bad news is that there’s a decent chance she will be the school assigned therapist for Rafa so he’ll be familiar with her but it might limit the time he gets with her.
- How would you work with our current EI therapist and the school assigned team?
Our experience to this world of SLPs has me believing they all place nice together. Maybe we’ll find out otherwise over time but for right now she confirmed that and will work with any other therapists AND his teachers to make sure everyone is working in parallel.
- Would you be willing to visit Rafa in various settings (school, home, playground, etc)?
Of course she would. She actually wants to see him at school which puts us in a weird position: we either have to ask the school if it’s okay if two days a week a therapist comes in to work with him OR we have to ask our other therapist to be flexible with her days/times with Rafa.
- Is there a specific theory or approach you take to therapy?
We didn’t really ask this but the subject came up in conversation. My wife did ask about the PROMPT method and we also talked about PECS/visual communication tools. She came off extremely passionate to her profession and told us about a recent training she did about “Suspected Apraxia and Early Intervention.”
- What are you thoughts on technology as a communication tool for nonverbal children?
Didn’t ask and it didn’t come up.
From the second she walked in the door she was working it as Rafa answered the door and was immediately engaged. We didn’t really do introductions until almost an hour later.
- Can you tell us about the Kaufman Speech Praxis test?
We wanted to know if this was something she employed with her patients and she said yes, she was familiar. She quickly followed that by making sure we knew that it’s too early for a diagnosis and if we must, we should use the term “suspected apraxia” until told otherwise.
I’m not always great at confrontation, even the most passive types, so I will lean on my wife to stand strong if this therapist isn’t the right fit. We can’t waste time not moving forward.
P.S. My mom sent through another question this morning which is less about this particular therapist and more about the system as a whole. “If you choose Spanish as his first language, will that automatically flag him for ESL in school?” Something I never thought of, mainly because our school district is 70%+ Latino/Hispanic and I know many families speak Spanish in the home. Another thing to follow-up on!