Answers To Your Questions And More
Does my loved one need speech and/or language services?
The answer to this question depends on the area of concern, skill level, age, and other individual factors. This is why we offer FREE caregiver/patient consultation services to listen to your individual concerns and identify if an evaluation would be right for you. However, general developmental milestones to look for include: using single words by 12 months, 2-3 word combinations by 18-24 months, 4+ word sentences by 3 years, and fully intelligible to unfamiliar listeners by 4 years of age. If your child is not meeting these milestones, an evaluation is warranted to determine if services would be appropriate. Additional information on developmental milestones and signs of speech/language disorders can be found under additional resources.
How long does speech/language therapy take?
Unfortunately, no speech-language pathologist or other professional can give you a definite answer to this question. The reason being that, while prognosis (i.e., likely outcome with therapy) is predicted based on a variety of factors, progress itself can vary based on co-occurring conditions, responsiveness to therapy, patient compliance, environment, etc. That said, therapists aim to form individualized treatment plans containing both short-term goals and long-term goals. Short term goals are typically designed to be accomplished within 3-6 months, while long-term goals are meant to be accomplished in 6-12 months. This is not to say that a patient will have “graduated” from speech-therapy services within 6-12 months, as a new evaluation and new goals may be appropriate at that time. However, your therapist will have a plan in place to help your loved one move towards the acquisition of his/her goals at each step.
Do you accept insurance?
We accept insurance and are currently in-network with Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Aetna. We are in the process of credentialing with several other insurance carriers, so please contact us to find out about our network status with your private insurance.
Before your first appointment, we will verify the benefits provided by your insurance for speech therapy services and notify you of any limitations or exclusions. If your plan requires a referral or prescription for speech therapy, we will happily work with your physician to obtain the necessary documentation. Likewise, if your plan requires prior authorization, we will facilitate the process by submitting a request on your behalf.
If we are out-of-network with your insurance, we will provide you with the information necessary to file claims for reimbursement.
I do not have insurance coverage for speech/language therapy services. What are my options?
If you do not have insurance or your plan does not cover speech therapy, we would be happy to discuss other payment options. We offer discounts for those who pay at the time of service, pay in cash (cash or check), and for those who are teachers, service members and healthcare workers. We accept payments via cash, check, credit and debit card and bank transfer (ACH). Our goal is to work with all of our patients and families so that therapy is affordable.
No Surprises Act & Good Faith Estimates
Beginning January 1, 2022, if you are uninsured or choose to self-pay, healthcare providers are required to provide you with an estimate of expected charges before you receive an item or service. This is called a Good Faith Estimate (GFE). Healthcare providers must provide you with a GFE if you request one, or after you have scheduled a service. The GFE should include the expected charges for all items or services that are provided as a part of the scheduled experience.
For more information on the No Surprises Act & Good Faith Estimate, please visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises
What do therapy sessions look like?
Our sessions are offered in office, in daycare, in home, and/or via telehealth. Sessions are typically 30 minutes in length, with 25 minutes spent one-on-one with the patient, targeting goals as well as engaging in reinforcement activities, and the last 5 minutes spent discussing patient performance, prognosis, and recommended home activities with the caregiver/parent. If in a daycare or school setting, the therapist can contact the parent via email, phone, or written note sent home with the child to share pertinent information. The session itself will take place in a quiet environment where there will be minimal distractions from others. For in home sessions, the caregiver MUST REMAIN IN THE HOME for the entire duration of the session. The caregiver also must remain on the premises for in office visits. A caregiver can be anyone over the age of 18 (parent, grandparent, babysitter, teacher, aide, etc.) who the legal guardian has placed in charge of the patient. Occasionally, the caregiver may be asked to participate in the session to help demonstrate goals or to encourage patient participation.
What is teletherapy and am I eligible for teletherapy services?
Teletherapy services, also referred to as telehealth services, are equivalent to in home services with the exception of requiring a lot more caregiver participation. The therapist will have materials and activities planned to target your child or loved one’s goals. Each session will also last 30 minutes, with at least 5 minutes of that time dedicated to caregiver education. However, the caregiver assisting the patient will act as the therapist’s “hands” on the other side of the screen and help move manipulatives, demonstrate skills, and encourage participation according to the therapist’s directions. Even our youngest patients can participate in teletherapy sessions through the early intervention coaching model in which the parent/caregiver is guided through a natural play therapy session designed to target the child’s speech and language skills.
In order to participate in teletherapy sessions with Texas Talks, the patient must be a Texas resident and be located within Texas at the time of the session. A computer with audio, visual, and reliable internet is required and is the sole responsibility of the patient/caregiver. Internet speed is also important when considering teletherapy. There are many free speed tests available online to check the speed of your internet. There is no difference in the self-pay rate for in-home vs. teletherapy services, however, various insurance companies may or may not cover teletherapy services. Please contact us to find out if your insurance company covers teletherapy.