Collaborating with Colleagues
Working in a preschool with children ages 3 to 5 years old, I am occasionally approached by parents who have their children involved in private speech therapy sessions. Some choose to pursue therapy through local hospitals and medical facilities while others have taken their child to private therapists and/or companies that provide a myriad of additional services.
Whether initiated by the parents or by the outside therapists themselves, I am often asked to collaborate therapies for the benefit of the child. The hope is that by working on the same or similar skills by using the same or similar strategies, we will provide consistency to the child's overall therapy.
In today's post, I would like to share what I view as some of the pros and cons of this working relationship:
- First, for me, I enjoy many aspects of maintaining a professional relationship with an outside therapist. I am able to gather feedback about individual students from the unique perspective of a private therapist, another set of trained eyes and ears to guide therapy. There are no other SLPs at my school, so having another professional to bounce ideas off of can be quite refreshing!
- In addition, the service delivery model they are able to provide in their position is often different from our school-based therapy. Their sessions often allow for more 1-on-1 time with the child, usually longer therapy sessions and more direct face-to-face interaction with the parent(s), which can allow for more at-home follow thru.
- Many times, the additional does actually work and the child can move through their goals and make more progress at a more rapid rate.
- First and foremost, the issue of TIME, or lack thereof. There are days I feel as though I can barely get done the mandatory duties that define my job as a preschool therapist. Adding this extra element, namely taking the time to respond to emails and phone calls with outside therapists can really add up, especially when you are trying to balancing feedback with several therapists for several different students.
- Second, I feel it of course mandatory to always maintain a level of privacy and consideration for both the parents and students when conversing. Whether writing an email or speaking over the phone, maintaining a level of professionalism is vital.
Overall, I have found my collaborations with private therapists to be positive and also helpful for all involved. Both therapists can gain a different perspective about the child's skills, the child often improves more quickly and the parent is very happy everyone involved is communicating and on the same page.
Do you often consult with other therapists? Please share your experience!