When Schools Can’t Afford a Speech Pathologist
A school might not have a speech pathologist or two working during school hours. It’s more common than many realize. Some schools can’t afford to hire a speech pathologist due to budget cuts. Many of these schools are in rural areas and often only have a handful of students in need, if that many. If the speech pathologist doesn’t live in the area, it could mean relocation or long travel. More than likely, the school cannot pay the salary that a speech pathologist desires. Another common factor is that many of the schools that struggle also cater to lower-income families. These families may not have the resources available to provide their child with a speech therapist outside of school hours and would greatly benefit from one who is available at the school their child attends.
It’s not just the ability to help the children that is at stake. Speech therapists in the schools help advocate for effective education for all kinds of students, special needs or otherwise. They can sit down and help combat the “othering” that happens to children who are different and unique that the status quo. They can work closely with teachers to learn if a technique is working and build a relationship so that those teachers can help spot any issues with “normal” children. Having a speech pathologist on hand becomes incredibly important when we look beyond the scope of their day to day interactions with our special needs children.
So, what does a school do when they have children in need? Many are doing what they can to combat the issue at hand. Some schools are looking for online resources like VocoVision to connect with a speech pathologist who can offer some consulting services so that teachers and administration can implement the use of computer programs and apps for special needs children. These clinicians will work online with video call services to connect with and provide therapy to the special needs children one-on-one. Many of these schools are also holding fundraisers in order to pay for a speech pathologist to offer their consultation or work one-on-one from a long distance. It may not be an ideal solution for schools and students who haven’t used remote therapy services, but it’s at least a step in the right direction until the schools can advocate for better funds. This will be able to continue therapy services without delay, as arranging virtual sessions can sometimes be easier than arranging in-person services.
Many families are also joining the fight by contacting state legislatures and pleading for the appropriate funding to pay the speech pathologists. Some families that have had lots of experience with speech therapy computer programs and apps, are volunteering their time to work with other children to help them along. When families of special needs step up and advocate or volunteer time, every child wins. Hopefully, these schools will gain the funding they are desperately in need of.