You might find yourself here if your toddler or preschooler is needing speech therapy or if you are considering speech therapy for your little one. I won’t lie and tell you that speech therapy is cheap because it can be expensive.
There are a lot of factors that go into the cost of speech therapy, and it is important to know what to expect and identify the things you can do at home to help and maybe save some $$$ in the long run!
What I want to do is break things down for you and give you an idea of what to expect with the different options out there. Keep scrolling to find out the cost of speech therapy for preschoolers and toddlers!
What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is a service provided by speech pathology professionals to identify problems with speech and correct them.
Depending on the issue going on with a toddler or preschooler’s speech will determine how the speech pathologist will approach correcting the issue.
Is Speech Therapy Effective?
Yes, speech therapy can be very effective. A study done on 700 children with some type of sleep disorder showed that these children were all positively impacted by therapy.
Why Would We Need to Consider Speech Therapy?
You would need to consider speech therapy for a couple of reasons:
Delayed Development: Delayed development can definitely be a cause for concern when it comes to speech. Every child develops at a different rate, however, milestones act as a guide.
If your child is experiencing delayed development in speech, it might be time to consider speech therapy.
Diagnosis: If your child has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Stuttering, Autism, etc. speech therapy can help with the delays and impediments that these conditions can cause.
Hearing Impairments: Frequent ear infections or issues with hearing at an early age can impair hearing which causes issues with speech development. Speech therapy can help to work through the challenges of hearing impairments.
Incorrect Formation of Words: The incorrect formation of words can be a consequence of weak oral muscles, tongue tie and/or cheek tie. These types of things can be corrected with speech therapy.
The speech therapist can assess the child and help with any referrals needed.
The main goal of speech therapy is to help to correct or improve pronunciation, learn to speak correctly, and strengthen oral muscles.
What are the Options for Speech Therapy?
There are several options for speech therapy which can affect the cost. Those options are:
Public: Public speech therapy is done by a speech professional that is in a school or public daycare.
Insurance: Insurance-covered speech therapy may involve a co-pay or meeting your deductible before the insurance takes over.
Self-Pay: Self-pay is exactly what it sounds like, you foot the bill for all therapy sessions. Some providers may have a discount on self-pay services.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Speech Therapy
There are factors that affect the cost of speech therapy. These factors can range from the type of insurance you have to the severity of the condition your child is facing and everything in between.
Insurance: Insurance can be a little tricky, depending on your carrier and your individual plan. Typically you will have a co-pay for therapy appointments (if they are covered) or you might have to meet your deductible before insurance kicks in.
Be sure to contact your insurance provider for specifics on how to go about therapy and if it is covered.
Frequency: The more frequently your child goes to therapy, the more it will cost.
Location: Different therapy centers may have varying costs. Online therapy can also be priced differently than in person so just keep that in mind.
Age: The age of your child can play a role in how much speech therapy will cost. Some early intervention programs are offered at no cost for littles aged 0-3.
Severity of Condition: The severity of the condition your child is facing can definitely affect the cost of therapy. This is due to the need for more one on one time with the therapist and potentially 2 therapists working together.
Qualifications of the Speech Pathologist: The more highly qualified your speech pathologist is, the more they can charge. This is because of their expertise in the profession.
Important Note About Speech Therapy Cost
Before we jump into anything else, I want you to remember something.
Therapy is therapy, no matter how you get it. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t afford some of the pricier options.
You see, what matters is the effort. Early intervention is best when it comes to speech, but that doesn’t mean that the less expensive options won’t make a difference.
Speech Therapy Options for Toddlers/Preschoolers in the United States
In the United States, speech therapy can be quite pricey.
Other countries have free programs and although they can involve wait lists, a portion of therapy can be covered by insurance. Unfortunately, that isn’t always how it works here in the US.
To me, it is important to highlight different options and pricing for families so that everyone can get the help they need and have realistic budget expectations as well.
Let’s jump in and explore speech therapy options for toddlers and preschoolers in the United States!
Price Range: Free
Age Range: Birth- 35 months
The idea behind early intervention services is to get babies and toddlers the help they need from an early age. Early interventions are free and all 50 states have one.
Because these programs are free, they are often short on funds which can mean long wait lists or a long time between appointments.
You can find the programs for your state here.
Price Range: Free
Age Range: 3-4
These programs are based on an eligibility basis because your child has to be referred by their preschool. Preschool services are done through their public school and are free!
These services are much like the early intervention services in that they are short on funds and your child may not be seen as frequently as they need to be.
Some families (if budgets allow) will seek help from private clinics.
Price Range: $$$-$$$$
Age Range: All Ages
Outpatient clinics can vary from private practices, hospitals, corporate organizations, etc. Most of the time, outpatient clinics accept insurance.
If you are wanting to use insurance to help pay for speech services you will want to see what the requirements are. You may go through a referral process based on your coverage.
You may also have a co-pay for every appointment or have to pay out of pocket until you hit your deductible (just depending on your plan).
If you decide against using insurance, or it simply isn’t an option ask about cash patient rates! Lots of clinics will have special rates for these types of patients and don’t be afraid to shop around!
Price Range: $-$$
Age Range: All Ages
Speech professionals have to get their experience somehow! A lot of colleges and universities will offer speech therapy at a much lower cost than clinics can.
They do this so that speech pathology/therapy students learn and practice the profession they are studying. This would be a great option if you have a tighter budget and cannot afford therapy at a clinic.
Just know, that this is not a lesser option. All students must operate under the supervision of a licensed speech professional.
The university option is great because your child is getting 2 professionals to work with them versus just 1 at a much lower cost!
Price Range: $$-$$$
Age Range: All Ages
Online speech therapy is a great option for many families. Online options are busier schedule friendly.
You might find, just like I have that online speech therapy options are more budget-friendly as well. Some sites have monthly subscriptions starting at $29 with a group and one on one therapy options.
Best Online Speech Therapy Options
Price Range: starting at $75 per session
Age Range: Children and Adults
Connected Speech Therapy is for adults and children alike. The cost per session depends on each meeting’s length. Meetings are done in 30, 45, or 60-minute increments. This company is a private pay practice and does not accept insurance.
Price Range: $65-80 per week
Age Range: Toddlers- Adults
The first session with your Speech Buddy therapist is free. You are given a success chart to help monitor your child’s progress.
Your therapist will also give you 2-3 exercises after every session to help move progress along. Speech Buddy accepts HSA/FSA and some insurance!
Price Range: Not Listed
Age Range: Children and Adults
Telespeech Therapy is designed for use in schools. All of the online therapists hold a minimum of a Master’s Degree and are fully licensed in Speech-Language Pathology. The program meets both state and federal laws for providing adequate learning resources to all students.
Price Range: $7-70 per week
Age Range: Children-Teens
I love that Outschool has different classes with other kiddos. Each class has a different speech topic.
These classes can be tailored to your schedule which is so nice!
Price Range: $100-150
Age Range: Children-Adults
Expressable has licensed and experienced speech therapists who provide high-quality care for nearly all communication issues in people of all ages. Get matched with a therapist specialized in your area of need and start receiving personalized, 1-on-1 therapy from the comfort of your home
How Can You Support Your Toddler/Preschoolers Speech Therapy at Home
If you are on a waitlist for therapy, or can’t afford therapy here are some DIY options you can work on and try until you can get into therapy.
Reading is a great way to expose your children to new words. The fun stories can help them to remember words and use them when speaking. Especially words like boom, crash, beep, etc.
I loved singing with my babies. Simple signs like, please, thank you, water, milk, and mom, and dad can be helpful in lessening the frustration of communicating basic needs while encouraging them to speak. I always sign and say the word simultaneously to encourage them to do the same.
Kiddos love sing-a-long songs. Coco-melon is a great one to turn on for kids songs. My kids loved the Ants go Matching song and loved to imitate the “boom” sounds!
Have your toddler imitate you with simple commands like “clap your hands” or “arms up”. You can even gently clap their hands or raise their arms to help them see what you are wanting. A lot of times, they will attempt to repeat the command.
Talk to Them
Talk to your babies and toddlers always! In the store, at home, walking in the park, even if you look like a crazy person! Then when they respond with an attempt to answer or vocalize, keep chatting and asking questions.
Choices are so important for developing independence and language. Offering a few different options for snacks, clothes, cups, etc. can help break your toddler out of their shell!
Try not to interject when they are forming a response. Wait for your toddler’s response, rather than waiting for a gesture and making a decision for them.
Stop Baby Talk
If you are using baby talk, you may consider stopping. Baby talk is usually words that are not real or words that are hard to understand.
Speak clearly using real words. I like to point to my mouth so they can watch how I form the word.
You can ask them to say different things like: “Can you say ‘Mama’?”
When you do this point at your mouth and kind of exaggerate the word when saying it. This helps to show your toddler how to say the word.
When they attempt the word, celebrate! Even if it’s not even close, celebrate big! This big celebration, will encourage them to try again and different words.
Toddlers love big, dramatic reactions. These types of reactions encourage speech because they love positive attention.
Try things like “BOOOOM” or ” CRASHHHHH” when playing with cars or building towers.
This is one of my biggest tips, talk constantly! Talk when you are driving, at the store, on a nature walk, where ever you are talking.
Talking gives your toddler different words to express themselves and their emotions. It is important for your little ones to understand word meanings and how conversations flow.
Ask questions that require a response and let your child respond. If they respond with a gesture, vocalize their gesture.
For example, you can say: “Would you like the red cup or the blue cup?” When they point to the red cup you can say “Okay, you want the red cup?”
Try to get a response with a yes or no. If they shake their head “yes” you can say “Great, I will use the red cup!”
Keep asking questions, but let them gesture. When they gesture, confirm their response. Eventually, they may start to use words!
Frequently Asked Questions about Speech Therapy Cost
Speech therapy can be a whole new playing field for lots of families, and you may have many questions. I wanted to answer some of the most popular questions, but if you have a question that isn’t answered drop it in the comments below!
How Do You Know Which Speech Therapy Option is Right For You?
I think it is important to assess a few things before jumping in and making a decision:
- Has your child been referred to a speech therapist by their pediatrician?
- What does insurance cover?
- What is your budget for therapy?
These are good questions to think about before deciding on which option is best. Online options are great, but depending on the severity of your child’s speech might mean that in-person sessions could be more beneficial.
Why is Speech Therapy Not Covered By Insurance
Sometimes speech therapy is covered by insurance. It really depends on your insurance plan and carrier.
Typically, when speech therapy is needed due to a diagnosis or illness it is covered (remember to check the details of your plan) If speech therapy is needed due to something else like weak oral muscles it may not be covered.
Unfortunately, the insurance companies didn’t ask my opinion when they were setting up coverage for speech therapy. It is so beneficial for so many kiddos, but unfortunately, if the need for therapy isn’t tied to a diagnosis it likely won’t be covered.
Is Speech Therapy Worth the Cost?
This is really subjective. For some kiddos, working with them more at home can help tremendously and therapy may not be worth the cost.
However, therapy may be worth it if you’ve exhausted all of the options that can be done from home.
How Much Speech Therapy is Required?
This really depends on the severity of the speech impediment and the goals you and your therapist want to achieve.
Some kiddos will be in speech therapy for 6 or so months, while others may last years!
How Long Should A Speech Therapy Session Last?
This depends on the age of the child. Smaller children have shorter attention spans.
You never want your child to be in therapy so long that they get frustrated, shut down, and don’t want to go back.
For younger kiddos therapy sessions might look something like 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. Older kiddo sessions may look like 1-hour sessions 1-2 times per week.
Speech therapy is so beneficial for many toddlers and preschoolers. It is a shame that insurance doesn’t do a better job of covering these services, but there are other options!
Thanks to technology we have affordable and effective online options, as well as in-person clinics and public services. Did you choose speech therapy for your toddler or preschooler?
I’d love it if you let me know what type of therapy you opted for in the comments below!