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  • Columbia Speech and Language Services Inc. Vancouver BC.Canada
  • Columbia Speech and Language Services Inc. Vancouver BC.Canada
  • Columbia Speech and Language Services Inc. Vancouver BC.Canada
Your Speech and Language Experts –
Improving Communication Throughout Your Life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Children's Treatment - Frequently Asked Questions

If your question pertains to our Stuttering Treatment, or Accent Reduction programs, or to our services for Adult Therapy, please see the appropriate webpage within this site.

Q: Are after school and Sunday appointments available?

             A: Yes. We have appointments available on Sundays and after school for your convenience.

Q: Do I need a doctor's referral to make an appointment?

A: No. We do not require a doctor's referral* in order to see your child. Children are commonly referred by their own family members, or by another speech-language pathologist. They may also be referred by many other educational and health care professionals, including a medical doctor.

If a school-based or health care professional or an agency has initiated your child's referral, please let us know and please also provide relevant documents, such as previous speech-language pathology reports, written comments from teachers, or referral letters from doctors.

* Please note that, although we do not require a referral from your doctor, extended health benefit plans often do require this in order to accept your claim. We strongly encourage you to check with your own extended health benefit plan to learn what specific requirements and limitations might be in place.

Q: Can I get this service for free elsewhere?

A: Maybe. The public schools in B.C. hire speech-language pathologists as part of their comprehensive educational teams. If your child is school-aged, you should check with your school-based speech-language pathologist to see if your child can be seen at school. Some school district speech-language pathologists prioritize younger children, such as those in Kindergarten through grades 3 or 4. Few youngsters in high school get regular service from speech-language pathologists. Most private schools do not hire speech-language pathologists. Younger children, depending on their needs, may receive treatment through health units, child development centres or infant development programs; your family doctor can put you in touch with these agencies.

Sometimes a publicly available speech-language pathologist may have to put your child on a wait-list for a longer period of time than you are comfortable waiting, or may not be able to see your child as often as your child can benefit from. In those situations, you may want to give us a call. We are happy to work with any public speech-language pathologist to supplement your child's treatment.

Q: Can you please bill my Extended Health Benefit Plan directly?

A: No. Each plan negotiates different benefits with each employer, and we are simply not in a position to know what your particular benefits and/or restrictions might be. Instead, we will provide you with a detailed receipt that you can send to your own extended health benefit plan. As stated earlier, we strongly encourage you to check with your own extended health benefit plan to learn what the requirements and limitations are - and we advise you to do it before your first appointment.

Q: How, when, and how much do I pay?

A: You pay at the time service is delivered, by either cash or cheque, debit, Mastercard or Visa. Cheque is our preferred method of payment.  Please request our detailed fee structure from our office for more information.

Q: How long will my child need to come for treatment?

A: It depends. We will assess your child's needs and potential to benefit from treatment before providing you with any estimate regarding duration of treatment.

Q: Do you provide a guarantee that treatment will be effective?

A: No. Our code of ethics prevents us from doing so, and for very good reason, as there are so many variables affecting treatment outcome. You have our assurance, however, that the same code of ethics prevents us from providing treatment if we don't believe your child has a reasonable chance of benefiting from the treatment.

Q: I'm reluctant to bring my daughter in to see a speech-language pathologist because she is very shy and I'm afraid that her self-esteem may suffer if attention is focused on her poor speech. What is your advice on this?

A: It is true that it is not helpful to focus attention on a child's speech in a negative way: however, your speech-language pathologist will use positive techniques to help your child and can design a treatment program that is play-based.

Q: My son is only two but I am very concerned about his speech and language development. Is he too young for treatment?

A: No. First, we will assess his needs through a detailed case history, observation of him at play, and, if necessary, some testing. If we find that he needs support from a speech-language pathologist, we will do it in an age-appropriate manner. For example, we can teach you to help your son at home, where he is more at ease. We can develop a home program and then meet with you and your son as needed to update the program and monitor his progress. Or we can plan clinic-based activities, based on your son's interests, which are meaningful and fun for him.

Q: Do you have any general guidelines for parents, letting them know when it's appropriate to see a speech-language pathologist?

A: At Columbia Speech and Language Services, we believe firmly that you know your child best. If you have a concern, or if your child's self-esteem, behaviour, academic or social progress seem to be impacted by a speech or language problem, or if your child is frustrated or is getting teased about his speech, we feel you are right to have the problem checked out.

There are a number of good websites that include information on children's speech and language developmental milestones. You may wish to look at:

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada:  A Parent's Guide to Children's Speech

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