Speech therapy in schools

 
Some notes for parents of children in South Africa regarding speech therapy in schools:

 

Many private and public schools as well as specialised schools in South Africa have "resident" speech therapists. Please note that in MOST cases, the therapists are not employed by the school but have been given permission to run their private practices from the school premises.

 

  • These independent speech therapists are NOT allowed to 'screen' the children in the schools (i.e. identify who has a speech-language or hearing problem). This screening must be done by a therapist who is not associated with the school. If a problem is identified, then a list of names of available speech therapists must be furnished by the school or the therapist who conducted the screening. The school is not allowed to favour the speech therapist who runs his or her practice at the school unless there is no other speech therapist available in the town where you live.

  • In a school where the speech therapists are not employed by the school, even if they have a 'resident but independent' speech therapist,  if the school teacher identifies a problem with your child's speech-language and/or hearing, s/he is obliged by law give you a list of options. You are absolutely not obliged to take your child to a therapist who runs her practice at the school. You can choose to go to any speech therapist that you wish to go to, anywhere.

  • Even if your child attends a school that employs speech therapists, you are not obliged to have your child seen by any of the speech therapists if you so choose. The fees for speech therapy may be included in the school fees and so if you choose to go elsewhere, you will be responsible for  the school fee payments  (the schools will usually not refund you if you do not use their services) as well as the speech therapy that you attend outside of the school.

  • In the case of "specialised education" (e.g. remedial school, schools for children with speech-language problems, or schools for children with other disabilities etc.), speech therapists run their private practices independently or are employed by the school. If you are billed by the speech therapist and/or speech therapy is NOT included in the school fees, then that therapist is independent. In any case, you are not obliged to see the 'resident' speech therapist. You ALWAYS have the choice of whom to consult.

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