Note: currently, we conduct Online Speech Therapy only.
In Kerala, the field of Autism treatment and Speech Therapy has gained attention recently. It is seen that one in 54 1 children are being affected by Autism. Similarly, in a recent study, nearly 8% of children aged 3–17 years had a Speech and Language Disorder 2 . Until the early part of this century, Autism was seen only as another form of Mental Retardation and most of the parents of children with Autism suffered silently. Autism treatment was unaffordable to many parents and even in cases where they had the necessary financial resources, they could not seek treatment because of the lack of a reputed autism center in Kerala. Similarly, speech therapy for children with Autism, Speech Delay and related disorders were unknown to many.
But with greater awareness among parents, the need for proper treatment arose in Kerala. Seeing this opportunity, many healthcare businesses had set shop in Kochi, which are mostly run with only profit in mind. Often they keep uncertified and unrecognized Speech Therapists and give them hefty incentives to give as many therapy sessions as possible for a patient without regard to what they really want. Sometimes, they are even asked not to put in their full effort so that the therapy period can be extended indefinitely.
Another problem that we often see in Kerala is that the parents are not willing to accept their children’s conditions. Often, parents would go to a Speech Therapy center only to have a therapist who would teach the child some words so that they can gain admission in a school. It is often at a later stage that they notice that the child is unable to cope with our rigorous educational system. But the biggest hurdle for prompt treatment of Autism and Speech Therapy is the lack of awareness about what constitutes a good speech Therapy center.
So what should a parent look for when selecting a Speech Therapy center in Kochi?
- See if the Speech Therapist is recognized by Rehabilitation Council of India. Having an RCI recognition not only means that the therapist have done a course in Speech Therapy, it also means that they have remained updated with the latest trends and technology that is necessary for a successful Speech therapy practice when they attend compulsory RCI training.
- Prefer a therapist who has a post-graduation in Speech Therapy. A post graduate would not only have greater knowledge of Autism and Speech Therapy, they would also have greater experience due to the fact that clinical practice is a must for post graduation.
- Go to specialist Speech Therapy Centers. It might be convenient for a parent to send their child to a center having Speech Therapists, Behavior Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Special Educators all under one roof. However, do remember that most of these Autism centers will not have qualified personnel for all these therapies. They might have an expert of OT or BT and then Speech Therapy might be relegated to trainees and unqualified personnel. Feel free to ask the therapy center to show the credential of their speech therapists. Don’t shy away from asking about their competency.
- Know whether the Speech Therapy sessions are taken individually or as a group. Speech Therapy is intensive training that requires one-to-one attention which cannot be guaranteed in Group sessions.
- Then, ask the administrator whether you, as a parent, can observe the therapy sessions. Often, the parents are not even allowed to even enter the therapy rooms, forget observation. If they do not allow the parents to talk with the therapist or if they have exorbitant fees for consultation then better stay away from that center. It is your child and you should at least be able to know what your child is undergoing.
- Ask other parents whether the Speech Therapist is giving them adequate goals and activities and also provide them with constant monitoring of their children. Parents should also be provided with appropriate home based tasks that will help them to train the children at home.
- Finally, make sure that the entire system is transparent and you must be able to freely talk with the therapist to clarify your doubts and concerns.
We hope that these tips will help you to find a reputed Speech Therapist in Kochi.
Note: We DO NOT conduct Speech Therapy sessions at our centre located in Kochi, Kerala, as of now.
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