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 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 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.

In my view, the terms of the MoE service are 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

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.

  • 1:1 therapy is rarely provided

  • 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 Hanencourses 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.

Julia Schaefer, MS-SLT
Speech & Language Therapist
mobile | 021 027 21317
julia@speechtherapy-connections.com