HELP FOR: SPEECH | LANGUAGE | LITERACY | COMMUNICATION | COGNITION | SWALLOWING

Frequently asked questions about speech-language pathology

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What is a Speech-Language Pathologist? What do they do?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are healthcare experts with specific training to evaluate, diagnose, manage and treat communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing difficulties and disorders. 


We also have important roles in advocating for access to SLP services, educating others about our role, training staff and caregivers, and counselling clients and families dealing with difficult communication changes. SLPs do research to establish best practices and current evidence, and provide preventative services and early intervention to help children or adults who have just been diagnosed with a communication or swallowing disorder or who are at-risk of developing one.


Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) is an allied health profession, which means they essentially work in healthcare but are not nurses or doctors. Rather, SLPs work with and help doctors and nurses; as well as, teachers, and other allied health professionals like audiologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, and social and mental health care workers.


SLPs work with people of all ages, from babies to adults. They work in homes, daycares, schools, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care/nursing homes, research settings, corporations, government, organizations, and - as in our case - private practice. 

What sort of licensing, certification or training does an SLP have?

 To become a Speech-Language Pathologist in Canada, you must have a 4-year undergraduate university degree. After that, you apply to be accepted into a highly-competitive 2-3 year SLP Master's degree program and undergo rigorous classroom and practical, hands-on training.

 

Once you receive the Master’s degree, you must register with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO). CASLPO is mandated to regulate the profession of SLP by setting the standards for entry into the profession, ensuring everyone who is working as an SLP in Ontario is doing so legally. CASLPO provides oversight of all members, develops standards and guidelines, and administers quality assurance programs to help SLPs remain competent in their skills and knowledge. For example, all SLPs are required to meet a set amount of hours doing continuing education/learning activities each year. The SLPs at Connect Speech Therapy are committed to continuing education and far exceed the minimum hours required.

What is the difference between an SLP, a Speech Therapist, and a Communication Health Assistant?

 An SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist) is also often referred to as a speech therapist or clinician; simply different names/titles for the same job.


A Communication Health Assistant (CHA) is also referred to as a Communication Disorders Assistant (CDA), or a Speech Language Therapy Assistant. To become a CHA, you must have a college diploma or a university degree. After that, you complete a 1 year college training program. They are not a regulated health profession. However, they are paraprofessionals who assist the SLP professional to help with screening and treatment. They must work under the guidance of the SLP. They are not qualified to assess. They also assist Audiologists.

I have a brain injury but my speech is fine. I don't stutter or have a lisp. Why do I need an SLP?

Although our SLPs are qualified to help adults who stutter, have a frontal lisp (mix up the S sound with the TH sound), or who need help to clearly say speech sounds (articulation), our title of "Speech Therapist" can be misleading. We do much more than just treat stuttering, lisps or "speech". 


Adults who have ABI, chemo/cancer-related treatment, mild TBI (concussion) or more significant TBI, may experience difficulty with thinking and communication. For example, finding the right words in conversations, filtering thoughts when speaking, remembering tasks, recalling verbal information or instructions, focusing or processing while reading, focusing during class lectures or meetings, planning and organizing a complex schedule, processing information quickly, multi-tasking, making decisions, etc.  All of these are aspects of cognition (how we think, remember, focus, etc.) that are closely tied to communication – otherwise known as “cognitive-communication.” People are often surprised that SLPs are uniquely trained to help with these issues.

Frequently asked questions about our services

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What ages do you work with?

Between each of the providers on our team, we work with all ages. We provide services for young children through to older adults. However, if you have a clinical condition or concern that we feel is outside of our scope, we will do our best to refer you on to another professional who is better suited to help you. Even in private practice, we believe it is essential to maintain good working relationships with other private practitioners in order to ensure you get the best help for you.

Are you available for evening or weekend appointments?

Yes, we are open to see clients in the evenings. Saturday appointments may be available with our Communication Health Assistant, depending on your needs and availability.

Do you see clients in homes, daycares or hospitals? Can we meet at my workplace?

Yes, we are proud to offer the option to meet clients wherever they are, in London and surrounding area. This is by request. Hospital visits are case-by-case. Additional travel fees may apply.

Do you provide services by Skype, Whatsapp Videochat, or Facetime?

Yes, we are excited to offer cutting edge online therapy (teletherapy, virtual therapy, video-call therapy) to anyone in Ontario. The setup is similar to Skype and other video chat platforms. However, we use a secure, PHIPA and PIPEDA-compliant portal called OnCall Health to best protect you and your information. 


Online therapy/teletherapy is ideal for those who prefer to stay home, are unable to access transportation, have limited mobility, or live in rural areas. Sessions can occur on any computer or mobile device that has access to a good internet connection. This service is by request and is offered on a case-by-case basis as not all clients are suitable for this method of service delivery.

My child sees an SLP at school. Can they also receive services from an SLP in private practice?

Yes. In fact, we have had many successful outcomes when collaborating with other SLPs who work with our clients at school. The school services are publicly-funded (you do not pay out-of-pocket), so parents choose to use their employee health benefits (or other funds) to pay for our private SLP to augment the services that the child is receiving at school.  In many cases, this arrangement is essential for those children who are not seen frequently enough at school due to the school's high caseload demands and the lengthy waitlists. 

How do I get started? And how long will I need services?

To get started, you can contact us to refer yourself (or your client, family member or loved one). You do not need a doctor's referral to access private SLP services. We provide a free 20 minute phone consultation and explain the entire process, based on each client's needs. Some clients require an SLP assessment; some have already been recently assessed and just need to begin therapy. 


Some clients are with us for weeks, others with us for months or more. Sometimes we are consulting with families for a few sessions, touching base as needed afterwards. When we speak with you, and after assessing you, we can recommend a plan that considers your clinical case/concern, your limits (funds/schedule/logistics), and acceptable best practices for intervention. 


Like anything that requires new learning, working with an SLP requires practice and motivation for a client to make progress ("progress" is relative to the clinical concern/goals of each client). Consistently doing any recommended home practice exercises between sessions will helps you to make progress.


It is best to contact us to discuss your situation. 

frequently asked questions about fees

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What is a private Speech-Language Pathologist?

A private SLP works in private practice. Working in  private practice means that a fee is charged for  services ("fee-for-service"). On the other hand, public SLPs work for publicly-funded systems (paid for by taxpayer dollars), such as hospitals, large rehabilitation centres, schools, etc. Private SLPs work independently of the public system.

Does OHIP cover this? What are my other options?

No, because we are a private practice our services are private pay ("fee-for-service") and are not free or covered by OHIP. 


Adults seeking OHIP/publicly-funded SLP services, please speak with your family physician or search for an SLP on the CASLPO directory listing all Ontario SLPs: http://publicregister.caslpo.com/  


Parents of young children, contact your local Preschool Speech & Language  Program: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/earlychildhood/speechlanguage/index.aspx 


Parents of school age children, speak with your child's teacher or school learning support teacher to request a referral to the school SLP. Do this as soon as possible. Latest evidence proves that it is not OK to "wait and see" when it comes to a child displaying speech and language concerns. 


While we are grateful for our Canadian healthcare system, we all know it is not perfect. When seeking SLP services, it is important to keep in mind that there may be considerable wait times and delays in accessing the public/OHIP-funded services. In the SLP world, this lost time is precious time wasted. Months spent waiting on a list can set your young child further behind. Waiting on a list can cause adults to lose the opportunity to maximize the crucial early recovery time periods (e.g. post-acute phases of stroke, concussion/TBI).  Time spent waiting on lists or "off block" (on scheduled break from therapy) can be better spent seeing us. Our services fill in the time and recovery gap while you wait so you can make your best progress. And we help you transition seamlessly and collaborate with the public SLP when you finally do get started with the publicly-funded program. 

What are your fees?

We offer various levels of assessments, starting at our hourly rate of $130 for a basic assessment.

Therapy starts at $70/30 minutes. You can take advantage of our unique cost-saving Prepaid Therapy Block packages, receiving a 10% discount when you prepay for a block of 6 sessions at a time. 

Services billed to auto insurance or WSIB are subject to different fees.


Contact us for a customized quote.

What forms of payment do you take? Is funding available?

For your convenience, we accept all forms of payment, except debit. Clients can pay by email money transfer, cheque, cash, and credit card. We also offer direct billing when requested.


Many times, clients have full coverage through their work's Employee Health Benefits (EHBs) plan; you may have hundreds or thousands of dollars of SLP coverage available, going unused each year (note: EHBs typically expire December 31 each year and do not carryover into the next year). We also accept payment through WSIB and Blue Cross (Veterans). For clients injured in a car accident and in need of brain injury/concussion rehabilitation, we are an approved HCAI provider to directly bill Auto Insurance companies. University students may have coverage through a student health insurance plan. 


For children who identify as First Nations/Indigenous, we can help you apply for funding through Jordan's Principle. More information here:  https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada/services/jordans-principle.html 


For those seeking other funding assistance, please contact us for a list of charities and organizations you can apply to.

Do you offer pro bono services?

We have offered service pro bono for clients who make the request and qualify. Please contact us to discuss further.