State Contracts and Speech Therapy
Ava had a good speech therapist. She was compassionate, educated and full of energy and love for her job. Ava liked her. They were working well together. She didn’t push Ava too hard, but Ava liked the sessions and was showing progress.
When I told my service coordinator at the state that we were moving, she said the move would be seamless and all the therapists would be able to transfer to the new town and county – except for the speech therapist. Why?
All the therapists are with an agency, subcontracted by the state to provide services. Some agencies have priority over other agencies in placing therapists. My speech therapist was contracted with a different agency than the other therapists. Her agency did not have priority, therefore she could not stay on the team. This is despite the fact that she works well with Ava and has achieved progress in getting her to verbalize.
I complained to the organization which oversees and coordinates all of the services for the disabled (also an agency contracted by the state) and a really lovely woman there told me that, “I am sorry, your current speech therapist is not with the agency has priority in placing a therapist in the county you have moved to, so the speech therapist has to be placed by this agency.”
I countered telling her that we had bad experiences in the past with speech therapists and if I already have a team intact, why can’t I just keep the team? Isn’t Ava’s progress and welfare more important than an agency making money? And do you know how hard it is to have a new person start? Children on the spectrum do not respond well to change – and why penalize Ava because of state contracts? It is “bureaucracy at its best”, I added.
Of course, I was met with, “I am sorry, but the state has to honor it’s contracts with these agencies.” and “I know it will be hard to transition…”
Her former speech therapist was so sweet – she offered to talk to whomever took over to bring them up to speed. I was so grateful to her. She had integrity, compassion and commitment.
Ava’s new speech therapist started the other day. She is young, sweet and very well educated. She also takes private clients at a well-known speech center. She is more educated than Ava’s former speech therapist — so all this is a blessing in disguise. Ava liked her — she looks a little like my sister. So we are starting again, and hopefully Ava will continue to progress.