How to find a qualified Speech Pathologist / Voice Therapist:
If you’re looking for a speech pathologist, voice therapist, singing voice specialist, or other voice professional to help with your voice, here are some great places to start your search, and some important questions to ask before you start working with someone:
- Speech pathology (SLP) associations (CASLPO and OSLA in Ontario, and SAC across Canada) maintain searchable lists in order to facilitate linking the public with healthcare providers. It is important to note that inclusion on these lists is voluntary and the information is self-declared by the provider, and being on the list doesn’t mean the association is endorsing any verification of the quality of service, experience, or knowledge by the provider. Not all quality SLPs who do private practice choice to register to be on these lists, and some of them require the SLP pay to be listed, or to have their listing come up at the top of the list in every relevant search.
- Always do a phone or email “interview” using some of the questions below – and ones you want to know the answers to, too – to find the right voice professional for you.
- For SLPs, always verify that the SLP is registered with the College of Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario. Use of the title Speech-Language Pathologist or Speech Therapist is protected in Ontario.
- Non-regulated voice professionals, like singing voice teachers or singing voice specialists, can be excellent choices depending on the kind of voice help you are looking for. Just because they aren’t regulated doesn’t mean they aren’t knowledgeable, talented, and experienced; in fact, an SVS or singing teacher may have more knowledge of voice care and training than an SLP who has limited experience in voice. Be sure to ask the same questions of a non-regulated voice professional as you would of an SLP.
- Many professionals have a direct link to their business website, which is a good place to start getting information after regular business hours.
- If you’re looking for an SLP who practices in voice, the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA) maintains a searchable list of clinicians here.
- Similarly, Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) maintains a searchable list of clinicians here.
Questions to ask a speech language pathologist or other voice professional:
- How long has the professional been practicing in voice?
- What teaching, training, or performing (for singers) background do they have?
- How many hours a week do they work with clients with a similar condition as you, and for how long have they worked in this capacity?
- How many singers have they worked with in their career? How many voice clients?
- What is their general philosophy on how they approach work with clients similar to you?
- What might a typical assessment look like?
- What is their philosophy on assessment and goal setting?
- Do you need to have a formal report written? If so, will this professional provide this service, and at what cost?
- What are their rates and cancellation policies?
- What are their most common therapy schedules?
- How flexible are they with approach?
- For SLPs, is all work done with a Speech-Language Pathologist or is some work with an Assistant?
Make sure you describe the kind of work you’re hoping to do on your voice, or talk about the problem you’re having so that you get a full understanding of how the professional works.
- Private Speech and Language Services are costly and not funded by OHIP.
- Some people have some insurance coverage for Speech-Language Pathology through their work or private insurance; this can be helpful when considering who to have on your voice care team and with what frequency you can afford to receive care. It is recommended that you look into the insurance coverage you/your family have and consider what you can afford prior to starting private SLP services.
- If you are limited in the number of sessions you can afford, let the therapist know that in advance, so that they can plan an program that will fit in that number of sessions.
- The maximum allowable rate is $196/hour for therapy and assessment; be sure to ask about travel and report writing costs, or if there are any additional costs for materials.