Although this is not an extensive list, we have compiled some differences and similarities between school and clinical Speech Therapy.
One of the biggest differences is that the school qualifies students based on academic need, and we (clinics) can qualify patients based on medical necessity.
SLPs who work in clinics have a lot more freedom than SLPs who work in the schools. For example, if a clinical Speech Language Pathologist needs to continue an evaluation over the course of 4 sessions, they have the power to do so. But school SLPs cannot do this because they are more pressed for time.
SLPs who work in the public schools must create their own schedule in the school that they are working for. Essentially they have to work around their student's classes. But, SLPs who work in clinics do not have to do that because their patients come to them.
Speech Language Pathologists who work in the schools have big case loads, which means that they have a lot of kids that they have to treat. Whereas clinical SLPs do not have as many patients as the SLPs who work in schools.
School SLPs must know the WA state law really well, and they must know how to navigate the IEP and the school system. But, we (clinical SLPs) do not have to deal with IEPs. Furthermore, school SLPs have to do more research because the goals that they write have to align with the IEP. But on the other hand, clinical SLPs can create goals as they see fit.
SLPs in the schools can go into their patient's classes, and clinical SLPs cannot do this. In the schools it can be easier to form groups (like fluency groups). But at the same time, groups can have many drawbacks... it really depends on the situation.
But as Clinical SLPs, we have found that that the biggest difference between us and School SLPs is that we can create a closer bond with our patient's parents or caregivers. SLPs who work in the schools do not normally check in with their patients after each visit, but we (clinics) do. School SLPs can converse with their patient's parents, but it is usually over email, and over their quarterly IEP meeting.
But no matter who you see, attending Speech Therapy is a great idea for anyone. Speech Language Pathologists want you, or your child to get the best kind of care possible.
For more information about Speech Therapy at Circle Creek Therapy, call us at 253.237.3405.