private practice

To self-refer to MoE contact:
(09) 632-0390
Speech Therapy - Ministry of Education

Private therapy has changed our whole outlook!  Within two weeks we were given a new diagnosis and a plan. In just two months our family and friends began commenting on our daughter's progress. Working with Julia and the improvements we see every week cannot be compared to speech therapy in the public system! I wish we'd started private therapy 5 years ago when our daughter was first picked up. We couldn't be happier and now tell everyone - call Julia!

                                               ~ Jenna (Massey)

Dear parents,

I'm writing this page for those of you who are just starting your search for a speech therapist. Hopefully your GP will have referred you to the Ministry of Education for speech therapy and you are somewhere on the public waiting list. Whether you're filling the gap, planning to do both or just exploring - the offer of *Free Speech Therapy* is very attractive.

The 'FACT check' below is not officially documented anywhere by the Ministry of Education (MoE). Rather, it is a compilation of my experience after 12 years of working in NZ with hundreds of families and alongside dozens of MoE therapists.

We are all qualified speech-language therapists with a variety of years and experience behind us. However, the service models between public and private are vastly different and cannot be compared. The MoE Speech Therapist works primarily in a consultative role to educate families and staff how to best help children themselves. The Ministry therapists' primary role is to guide teachers and family members. "Teach me to do it myself" comes to mind.

Parents believe they will receive the equivalent of a private practice service ... for free. This is not within the MoE consultative model framework. Families seeking 1:1 therapy are encouraged to work with a speech therapist in private practice ... AND  accept support from the Ministry of Education.

Kind regards,  Julia Schaefer, SLT

Note: Ministry guidelines are subject to changes that I may not be aware of.  Please contact me if you know of any updates to the following information.  

Ministry of Education | FACT check

The Ministry of Education Speech Therapy (MoE - Government Service):

  • Referrals are accepted from the age 2 years, 9 months.

  • Once referred, your child is placed on a waiting list based on priority.

  • 6-9 months is the average wait time for an appointment.

  • The appointment / service provided is consultative.

  • 1 to 1 therapy is rarely provided.  Therapists coach the parents.

  • Consultation time is limited to 8 hours per year unless complex needs are identified.

  • You may be recommended a group Hanen Course for parents. 

  • The Hanen courses are 3 months long, followed by a 3 month break.

  • Most speech therapy provided by the Ministry finishes at age 5.

  • All speech therapy finishes at age 8.

  • Children with mild to moderate needs are assessed, then discharged with a plan.

  • Your school ANCO will be able to guide you further about school-age services. 

Julia Schaefer, MS., SLT
Speech & Language Therapist
Mobile: 021 027 21317