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  • Writer's pictureEmily Halder

What to Know Before Meeting with a Speech Language Pathologist

It’s important to know about speech language pathologists and what they can help improve. Furthermore, it’s important to know about the environment you’re stepping into as you embark on your speech therapy journey.

Let’s explore the fundamentals of what to know before meeting with a speech language pathologist.

An infographic about ASHA

What is a speech language pathologist?

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or ASHA, describes speech language pathologists as “experts in communication.”

The full definition states that speech language pathologists “work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.”

You may often see a speech language pathologist referred to as SLP, an abbreviation of the phrase.

What can speech language pathologists help improve?

Generally, a speech language pathologist will help you improve communication and articulation. More specifically, you’ll work on different areas of effective speech, such as vocal weight, cadence, pitch, and more.

What you may work on in speech therapy may differ based on why you’re attending. Such reasons include:

  • Gender affirming voice therapy for transgender and nonbinary adults

  • Stuttering

  • Cognitive communication - memory, attention, problem-solving, organizational issues

  • Swallowing disorders, such as dysphagia

  • Articulation or phonological disorders, such as apraxia of speech or dysarthria

  • Language or speech disorders, such as aphasia

  • Aural rehabilitation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing

  • Accent modification or communication enhancement

Read more about speech language pathology from ASHA here.

Identify your Goals

Like with any therapy practice, you want to have goals in mind. Take a moment to ask yourself: What are my goals with voice therapy? What am I looking to improve and/or accomplish? How long will it take me to achieve these goals? You can consult with your speech language pathologist to brainstorm reasonable goal ideas.

A notepad that says Goals with a pen next to potted succulents.

Some speech therapy practices, such as Blue Ridge Speech and Voice, offer free consultations. That way, you can assess if the speech language pathologist in practice is the right person to help you meet your communication goals.

Understand Your Financial Options

Financing is another important factor for voice therapy. Most speech language pathologists accept health insurance, and finding one in-network with your insurance can make a huge difference financially.

Blue Ridge Speech and Voice is in-network with Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Friday Health Plans, Oscar Health, and CIGNA. Owner and speech language pathologist Emily Halder recommends calling and asking your insurance company about copay, deductible, and how many sessions are covered.

If you aren’t insured, or your services aren't deemed "medically necessary," private pay is always an option. Blue Ridge Speech and Voice, can provide a Superbill for you to submit to your insurer for reimbursement for out-of-network providers, or to write off the healthcare expenses for your taxes.

Lightbulbs with question marks.

It’s Okay to Come With Questions!

Questions are absolutely okay and encouraged when meeting with your speech language pathologist.

Look for an FAQ page on the practice’s website prior to the consultation. Your question may be on there!

Jot down a list of questions prior to your initial consultation, and take notes during. If you need more clarification on an answer, a speech pathologist may even be able to write it down for you or send the information to your email address.

A Zero Judgment Space

No matter your “why,” know that speech language pathology is judgment-free space. It’s okay to make mistakes or be vulnerable. Your speech language pathologist is there to support you and ultimately help you meet your speech and language goals.

Client privacy is also top priority. Just like standard therapy, what happens at a voice therapy session stays solely between the client and provider. At Blue Ridge Speech and Voice, all communications with clients are done through a HIPAA compliant secure portal or the provider’s HIPAA compliant email.

Work with a speech language pathologist today!

If you’re looking for voice therapy in North Carolina, South Carolina, & Georgia, Blue Ridge Speech and Voice would love to work with you. Our practice specializes in virtual speech therapy for adults. Coming soon to Virginia!

Our speech language pathologists are accepting new clients! Call (828)-222-3824 to get started, and for a free phone consultation.

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