Whether you suffer from fear of public speaking, a stutter, a voice disorder or a language disorder it is important to get professional help to overcome it. There are numerous success stories of people who have overcome problems with speech and gone on to be successful adults and orators. There are many who claim to be speech therapists, so your problem may lie in knowing who will really be able to provide the help that you need. Here is what you should look out for:
- It is very important to find out what kind of credentials the speech therapist has. Are they properly trained and where did they go to school – was it a reputable institution? The best speech therapists will be open about their credentials and will have them out in the open where everyone can see them.
- Check whether they have the right accreditation. At the very least they should have certification from ASHA – aanEarning the Certificate of Clinical Competence-SLP which confirms that they are certified to provide clinical therapy in different settings. You should also look into whether or not they take continuing education courses so that they can stay current in their field.
- Success stories tell a lot about the ability of a speech therapist; any good one should be able to provide you with two or three names of patients that they have helped overcome speech impediments in the past. When you call to find out whether the patients were happy with the therapy that they received, how long it took and anything else that you think may be relevant to your case (without being invasive of course).
- It is helpful to find a speech therapist that specializes in your kind of speech impediment. You may find, for example, that a therapist is excellent at getting people to overcome a stutter but they don’t get much success with other speech problems. Understand your impediment so that you can find the right expert to help you.
- Make sure that you choose an age-appropriate therapist. If you are an adult you should be looking for a therapist who specializes in an adult speech therapist. However, if you want a therapist for a child or a teenager they should have special credentials that equip them to work with people of these ages.
- Find a speech therapist that is near you. Most of your speech therapy sessions will be conducted in their clinic, so if it is far away you may have a hard time keeping appointments. They should be available when you are – if you are busy during the week they should be able to accommodate you on the weekends and in the evenings.
Lastly, make sure that you choose a speech therapist that you are comfortable with. Overcoming your speech impediment will involve a lot of work, so if you are not comfortable during your sessions you may not have much success.