11 answers

My 5 Year Old Has a Speech Deficit

Help! Our son's doctor has recommened speech therapy for our 5 year old son who has some speech deficits. Much to our frustration the metro school distric acknowledges the deficits, but says that they are not 'advanced' enough at this time to provide the speech therapy. We have been researching private speech therapy, however, our insurace does not cover any speech therapy. Does anyone have any good suggestions and/or resources that we could pursue? We definitely want to get him the help that we feel he needs, SOONER rather than later. Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

FINALLY, after almost two years, I have been able to work out speech therapy through the school system. Even though he does go to a private school, if he qualifies through the school district, then they will provide it at his school. It was a FRUSTRATING experience, trying to get him the help he needed and running into red tape everywhere; including insurance not paying for it and we couldn't afford private pay.
All that to say, he has been in it now for about 4 months and is doing SO much better.

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I dont undrstand them saying they are not advanced enough yet ,, I live in ruthereford county and my son has been taking speech therapy since he was 2 from the rutherfoed county school system,, they have a speech therapist that comes in and gets him out of class for 30 min a day to do this with him... there has got to be something in the school system to help him . Maybe you shoould talk to the counseler at his school and see

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What school does your son go to? If he goes to a public school, the school is required to provide speech therapy services if he qualifies. I am a speech pathologist (speech therapist). I stay at home now. What kind of problems is your son having? There are many good clinics in town that provide therapy but, you're right, it id not usually covered by insurance. The Chattanooga Speech and hearing Clinic is good. Associates in Communication Therapy is also very good.
If you can give me a little more information, I may be able to give you some more ideas.

Hi. I am not an educator, but my entire family is involved in the public education system in Tennessee. If your child is in the public school system and he needs to be in speech based on a physician's recommendation, it is the LAW in Tennessee that the public school system provide you and your child with that therapy based on the Disabilities Act. I am not sure whether your are in GA or TN, but I would certainly look into it. If the school system does not have a speech therapist on staff, they are required to provide you with a private therapist at least in TN. Now, the school system will probably insist on doing their own testing, but you need to go to the Board of Education and raise a stink. That is what your tax dollars are paying for. If you have a child with a need, and he goes to the public school system, if it is like TN, they will be required to provide you with that needed service. I wish you the best of luck. Don't let them brush you off. Speech therapy is expensive.

I am going through the same thing my daughter is 4 years old and she is currently in cdc preschool at a local elementary school here in memphis tenn. Her school offers speech therapy. You should try your local board of education and seek help that way. It really helped my daughter.

Have you considered trying to research some of the other schools, find out if they have a speech teacher and see if that teacher might be interested in helping your son?

My daughter went through this at the same age. I had tried SO hard to work with her myself. She would become extremely frustrated with me and we would end up getting nowhere. When she entered kindergarden, the school sent home a note explaining that she would need to be registered in the speech class. I hadn't dealt with this with my older daughter, so this was new to me and I was completely freaked out. I knew how hard I had worked with her and I was to the point where I wondered if she would ever be able to get her speech corrected. She started the speech class and in no time we could see a difference. That was 5 years ago, her speech deficit was completely fixed in less than a year.

I didn't see any information stating what area you are in. Check some of the schools around (outside your zone) and see if they have a speech teacher that might be able to give you some assistance. If you don't have any luck, I can check with my daughter's previous speech teacher and see if she has any advice. I'm not in the Nashville area at this time, but I could check with her anyway and see if she knows of anything.

Good luck!

I suggest you check the ASHA website www.asha.org which may offer more information and links. The school system is probably not providing services because it is either a developmental error or not impacting the child's education at this time. Hope this helps!

I will tell you that my son (now nearly 10)had what seemed to be severe speech issues at ages 2 -7 and at age 3 and 4 I had him assessed by the school system and we heard the same thing you did. He did indeed outgrow some of the problems but by age 7 still had certain problems and at that time was elligible for school system sponsored speech therapy and improved dramatically after one year of speech therapy and now has no problems. Unlike other disorders, I don't think early intervention with speech is as important and I believe if you wait until he is in first grade he will be okay and will be able to benefit from the therapy at that point.

I L.,

I am a mother of 5 children, one of which is 5 years old and just started kindergarten this past august, she also had a speech problem, she would say boly instead of boy, and toly instead of toy, I talked to her kindergarten teacher the very first day of school and told her about her speech problem, my daughter was diagnosed with neurofibromitosis 2 years ago. so i knew this could be a factor in her speech problem, well suffice it to say, her school is dragging their feet, so ...i'm doing something about it myself. I am teaching my daughter here @ home, i spends 2-3 hours a day with her, reading, and using flash cards, I also make her do extra schoolwork. You can get alot of worksheets online and print them out, that is if you have the time, I do because I am a stay @ home mother, I also teach my twins while my 5 yo is @ school..since my 5 yo has started school her speech has gotten alot better, and i will go as far to say, me teaching her @ home is also a factor in her turn around...she no longer says boly, and toly....she says them the way they are supposed to be said...consistancy is the key..7 days a week my 5yo and i learn 2-3 hours a day after school...and she loves it, she gets the attention she needs and we make learning fun here @ home, me personally im not fond of government schools. and to be honest, the only reason i am sending my girls to a government school is because i would like them to be socialized and make friends, and once they do, they will more than likely get pulled out of school and taught here @ home, because its something i enjoy and i think, the girls will benefit from


You are getting a range of advice - some accurate & some near misses. There is a law - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (now renamed) that governs school services (and much more) for students with a range of disabilities. Speech & language disabilities fall under this umbrella.

Here's the barebones outline of what schools are required to do:
Provide an assessment for student IF - and only if - the condition is having adverse impact on his or her education. This assessment will then determine if the student meets the state standards for a disability. In the case of speech & language, there is a range of development for 5 year olds, so many do not have a disability because their deficits are within normal limits (not severe because they are expected to improve over the normal course of development).

The school is NOT required to provide services because the child has noticeable speech deficits or because a physician says so. The law is very clear on this point. Others may argue because they have gotten services by using these kinds of pressures - or they know someone who has - but that is not what the law was designed to address & serve.

The ASHA website is a good idea; they'll have information available on typical speech development, problems many 5 year olds have, and suggestions for activities that might help.


hi L. try calling therapy works in lawrenceville, or try to get peachcare for him if your insurance wont pay, medicaid wont pay for in home therapy much anymore. good luck W.

I dont undrstand them saying they are not advanced enough yet ,, I live in ruthereford county and my son has been taking speech therapy since he was 2 from the rutherfoed county school system,, they have a speech therapist that comes in and gets him out of class for 30 min a day to do this with him... there has got to be something in the school system to help him . Maybe you shoould talk to the counseler at his school and see

I'm an SLP....what are his deficits specifically? What school district are you in? Your son may have developmental speech weaknesses which are not appropriate for services at this time. For example, if he's having difficulty with the /r/ phoneme - that sound is not developmentally appropriate until the age of 7. Does that make sense?

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