private practice

Ministry of Education | FACT check

  • 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.

  • 1:1 therapy is rarely provided

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

  • You may be recommended Hanen Courses.  The course is 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 

Julia Schaefer, MS-SLT
Speech & Language Therapist
mobile | 021 027 21317

Dear parents,

I'm writing this page for those of you who are just starting out in 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. This page was written to explain some of the public -v- private views often heard.

The 'FACT check' above 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. This is a fluid document and open to suggestions and corrections.

We are all qualified speech-language therapists with varying degrees of experience. 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 they can best help the child on their own. The Ministry therapists' primary role is to guide teachers and family members. "Teach me to do it myself" comes to mind.

Call (09) 632-0390 or visit Speech Therapy - Ministry of Education to self-refer.

In my view, the terms of the MoE service is not always transparent or clearly defined for parents from the start. Parents believe they will receive the equivalent of a private practice service ... for free. This is not within the MoE consultative model framework and families seeking 1:1 therapy should be encouraged to work with a speech therapist in private practice ... as well as accepting support from the Ministry of Education.

Kind regards,  Julia Schaefer, SLT