As a former school-based speech-language pathologist, I truly value the speech-language services provided by school systems. As a now private therapist, it is my role to support and supplement these services as best I can within a private clinical setting.
Unfortunately, in my experience, collaboration between school-based and private providers just doesn't happen in many cases. In my school days, I would very often find out from a parent that a child had been receiving private speech therapy for months or even years without my knowledge. Then, after doing some digging, I would often find that clinical approaches didn't align with the educational ones we had in place. The situation sometimes felt almost adversarial. Ultimately, it made both efforts less effective and didn't serve the best interests of the child we were all there to help.
This situation arose due to a basic misunderstanding of roles and the need for communication between providers.
As a private therapist, I am responsible for finding out what services my clients are receiving within their schools, the objectives of those services, and the role I can play in supporting and advancing them. The best way I can achieve this is by reaching out to my school-based colleagues to determine how I can support and/or supplement their efforts. Working together, we are each other's best allies.
Parents, you can support collaboration by authorizing communication between school professionals and outside therapists. This is usually done by completing the school's "authorization of release" form, allowing your child's school therapist and private therapist to share information regarding your child's goals and progress legally. The beginning of the school year is a great time for school providers and private therapist to touch base, so encourage your child's private therapist to get in contact with the school speech-language pathologist. When we communicate and work together our students, clients, and children achieve more!