Qualifications for Speech Therapists and Occupational Therapists

Qualifications for Speech Therapists and Occupational TherapistsWhen families inquire about treatment, they frequently ask about therapists qualifications of the speech therapists or the qualifications of the occupational therapists providing evaluation and treatment in our clinics. Another related question is “How many years of experience do your therapists have?” Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas employs caring, knowledgeable, licensed professionals experienced with the pediatric population. Though all speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists receive a broad training, they may have more expertise in particular areas, such as pediatrics, feeding, sensory, or stuttering. We review the information each family shares about their child and make sure, that in addition to the proper training and certifications, the speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist we select for them has the right skill set for their child’s unique needs. In our pediatric practice, our speech language pathologists and occupational therapists work with varied challenges, such as apraxia, receptive/expressive language disorders, motor planning deficits, dis-coordination, visual spatial planning, auditory processing disorders, feeding and swallowing, stuttering, sensory integration disorders, pragmatic disorders as well as communication challenges related to cleft palate, Down syndrome, and autism spectrum disorders. Our speech and occupational therapists have the skills and experience to work with their clients, with many having been in practice for over 15 years.

Qualification of Speech Therapists

Qualification of Speech TherapistsAll of our speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have master’s degrees in the field of communication disorders. Many SLPs have a bachelors in communication disorders though some enter graduate school with a related degree, such as psychology, biology or education. Masters degrees in this field, which typically take two years to complete, require coursework in assessment and treatment of child language disorders. Receptive and expressive language disorders, phonological and articulation disorders, fluency and cognition are all covered as part of the childhood language disorders curriculum. Therapists QualificationsMotor speech disorders, voice disorders and feeding/swallowing disorders, as well as sacra cranial disorders are also part of graduate study in communication disorders. Foundational studies in anatomy, physiology and neurology are an important piece of a Masters degree in this field. Coursework is intense and extensive, ranging from feeding to autism to linguistics, but a significant part of the degree requirement is completion of several practicum and an internship. By the time a speech-language pathologist completes a Masters program, he or she has a strong knowledge base in how communication develops and is used throughout the life span and how to evaluate and treat many different communication challenges. Additionally, a national praxis test must be passed to be licensed to practice. After graduating and passing the national examination, a Clinical Fellowship (CFY) must be completed under the supervision of a licensed, experienced fully certified SLP. When the CFY is completed, the Master’s level clinician has earned the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). When you see MS, CCC/SLP after a Speech Language Pathologist’s signature, you can be confident they have had extensive education and practice in the field of communication disorders. SLPs must complete twenty hours of continuing education (CEUs) each two years to maintain their license. This is a vocation that requires life long learning! Many SLPs are skilled in particular areas; for example, feeding, stuttering or autism spectrum disorders. They discover a real love for tackling particular challenges. Typically speech therapist pursue additional training in these specialties, through post graduate work, mentors, or workshops. Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas employs SLPs who not only meet the high professional requirements of their field, they also love children and supporting families.

Qualifications of Occupational Therapists

Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas uses registered occupational therapists who have a Bachelors degree in occupational therapy (OTR) or a Masters degree (MOTR). Current graduates must complete a masters in the field. Occupational therapists now complete extensive undergraduate and graduate coursework as well as varied practicum/internships to insure ample opportunities to apply what they learn in their coursework. Bachelor’s level OTRs (registered occupational therapists) also completed extensive practicum and internships as part of their education and typically have years of experience. Individuals now pursuing a Master’s in occupational therapy may have a bachelors in occupational therapy or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in OT includes coursework in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology and biomechanics, neurology and psychology. Coursework in pediatrics examine the medical, psychosocial and educational challenges of developmental or acquired conditions that impact a child’s life skill development or ability to participate in typical childhood activities. Coursework also includes study of the musculoskeletal system, mechanical principals, neoranatomy and physiology which are foundational for understanding a client’s performance and how to design appropriate intervention. Occupational therapy focuses on how the mind and body works in daily activities and how an individual responds to the challenges of daily life. Treatment plans are developed based, in part, on this information. Pediatric occupational therapists also evaluate sensory integration processing, a neurologically based system, that impacts a child’s ability to learn from – or tolerate the environment. Training and practice in assessment and treatment are a significant part of an OT program. OTs also are trained to assess the appropriateness of rehabilitation technology, such as specific equipment and techniques to optimize success in everyday life. Occupational therapists aim to help individuals overcome difficulties with life skills through training and adaption so clients are able to be as independent as possible and lead meaningful lives. OTRs must pass the NBCOT (national certification examination for certified occupational therapists) in order to be licensed. In some instances, a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) provides direct treatment under the close supervision of an occupational therapist. These professionals graduate from an accredited OT assistant program and complete extensive field work as a requirement of graduation. COTAs must pass the NBCOTA to be a certified, licensed assistant. OTRs must complete thirty hours of continuing education every two years to maintain the license. Occupational therapists frequently find areas of particular interest, such as sensory integration disorders, or handwriting. These OTs pursue extra training in certain specializations so they can provide the highest quality treatment for their clients. Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas chooses OTR’s and COTAs who love children and have extensive experience helping their clients and supporting families!

We Have Great Speech Therapists & Great Occupational Therapists!

When we are asked about our therapist’s qualifications, we can confidently respond! We have outstanding, caring, therapists, who meet the highest standards in their professions and who love helping children and their families. To learn more about our therapists at Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas, visit our speech-language pathologists or occupational therapists pages.