Thanks for visiting our Children’s FAQ page. Please click on a question from the list below to be taken to the answer for that specific question.
how much does it cost to be treated by a magic words therapist?
Our fees for therapy vary depending on the level of therapist who sees you, the level of complexity of your child’s needs and where you live (The government scheme of ‘London weighting’ means that London therapists need to be paid more, this means our fees in the London area are higher).
What is the difference between speech and language?
When we talk about ‘speech’ we mean how clearly and easily a child uses speech sounds in their talking.
We often talk about children having ‘unclear speech’ or ‘delayed speech sound development’. Children with speech difficulties are often hard for the people around them to understand. This can become incredibly frustrating, upsetting and isolating for the child with speech difficulties, as they are unable to clearly convey their needs, wants and ideas. This can result in challenging behaviour, low self-esteem and difficulties making and keeping friends. There is evidence that young children with speech sound difficulties can often go on to struggle with learning to read and write if the speech difficulties are not resolved adequately.
When we talk about ‘language’ we mean the words that a person is able to use and understand, as opposed to individual sounds.
Children can have trouble understanding and using language for countless different reasons including language delay, developmental language disorder, specific and general learning difficulties, brain injury and Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC).
Language difficulties can act as a huge barrier to lots of things most people take for granted such as communication with others, the quality of friendships and family relationships, the ability to make friendships and build relationships in the first place, the ability to access learning and enjoyable activities like play, reading and watching films. Just like with children with speech difficulties, children with language difficulties can experience frustration and feelings of isolation. The fact that they don’t understand what is going on around them can lead them to feel incredibly anxious and insecure as they often have no idea what’s happening next either at school or at home. As with speech, early intervention for children with language difficulties is a key factor in achieving the best outcomes for the child.
Do you have a waiting list?
At Magic Words we are committed to being able to offer appointments to children and adults who need speech and language therapy within a week or two of when they first make contact with us. We don’t want to keep anybody waiting. Early intervention has been clinically proven to significantly affect how good the outcome is when treating speech, language and communication difficulties.
We do occasionally become inundated with new referrals and a small waiting list ends up needing to be created. If this does happen, we do everything we can and pull out all the stops to get people seen. We make sure that anyone who is on a waiting list gets regular, clear, honest communication as to where they are on the list and when they will be seen.
What should I bring to the initial assessment session?
For young children, bring the child’s red book. For all children bring copies of medical reports, for example, if the child is also seen by another professional such as a paediatrician or an audiologist and you have reports or letters from them, please bring them along. Copies of educational reports are also highly relevant and useful to help us get a full, holistic picture of your child.
A really useful thing for parents to bring can be a short video of your child communicating at home. This is especially useful when children are quite shy or are reluctant speakers or selectively mute. It can be challenging to get these children to say a lot in the initial assessment. Our therapists are all very warm and friendly and our clinic rooms are warm and welcoming and full of fun toys, but sometimes even this is not enough to encourage a shy child to speak like they would at home in their natural environment.
what should i expect in an initial assessment?
A Magic Words speech and language therapy assessment can last up to 1.5 hours (2.5 hours in particularly complex cases). We are specially trained to make our assessments fun, engaging and non-threatening for children and we try wherever possible to avoid very formal, medical style assessments. We always favour play based, fun assessment activities as we want to see what the child is able to do in the most natural conditions possible.
Within the assessment many of the following may take place:
Observation of the child at play.
Informal, play-based assessment.
Feedback on exactly what the child’s difficulties are, where the child’s communication skills fit in relation to developmental norms and how therapy could help.
Strategies and ideas for the family to get going with to start developing communication skills as soon as they get home from the clinic. We may even have ideas for you to try on the car journey home!
Do i have to stay with my child during assessment and therapy sessions?
Yes, it’s actually incredibly important that you do!
Your speech and language therapist may be an expert in their field but you, as a parent, are an expert on your child. You know what your child loves and how best to motivate them and most importantly, you’re the one who spends the most time with them! Speech and language therapy works best when the speech and language therapist and the parent work together as a team to help the child achieve lasting and secure progress. The time in between therapy sessions is just as important to your child’s progression as the therapy sessions themselves. This is when you put into practice all the fantastic skills and strategies that your therapist has taught you to help you play your key part in developing your child’s speech, language and communication skills. We like to send our parents home after each therapy session feeling empowered and bursting with enthusiasm about putting into practice that week’s homework activities and communication enhancing strategies.
can i bring my other children?
We are more than happy to welcome brothers and sisters into our clinics and our therapy sessions. It’s really important that parents are able to be a part of the sessions and play their key role in the therapy process. We completely understand that child care is not always easy to arrange so parents are encouraged to bring their other children with them to the sessions if they need to. We should highlight though that the therapy is for the benefit of the child with the speech, language or communication difficulty and that other children attending will need to be able to sit and play quietly so that their sibling can fully benefit from their session.
How long will each session last?
Our therapy sessions last either 30 minutes or 1 hour depending on which is most appropriate for your child.
how frequent should sessions be?
Each client is different and there are no set guidelines for frequency of sessions, however, in our experience weekly sessions work best of all.
For more information on session frequency please have a look here.
Can my child see an nhs therapist and attend a private therapy?
We always strive to work in harmony with the NHS, whether this be NHS speech and language therapists or other NHS health professionals involved with your child.
We choose to work in harmony with other professionals not just because the RCSLT (Our professional regulatory body) recommends it but also because this is clearly in the best interests of the children we work with. It will of course provide better outcomes for children if everyone involved in their care works closely together.
We are often asked to provide therapy as a ‘top up’ to what the NHS is able to provide the child with and we are always happy to do so.
Can my child be seen for speech and language therapy sessions in nursery, school or in our family home?
Yes. When you have your initial assessment or even when you are first in contact with your therapist to discuss the initial assessment, you can talk about which is the most appropriate environment for the therapy.
The advantage of coming to sessions in one of our clinics is that these spaces are carefully designed by us to be distraction free and promote focused learning and development. This is particularly useful for children who struggle to concentrate and listen. Work in the home can often be less focused as the child has all their own much-loved toys around them, in an environment where they are used to being able to do their own thing. Although our therapy for the most part uses play, our sessions are carefully structured and the therapy rooms are laid out in such a way that learning and development are clearly the focus.
will the therapist talk to other professionals involved with my child?
As long as you as the parent have given your full permission for us to contact other professionals, then yes. In order to provide the most comprehensive, holistic and appropriate treatment for each child, we need as full a picture as possible from all the different professionals who may be involved with the child’s care. This can include teachers at school or nursery, educational psychologists, paediatricians, occupational therapists or any other professionals involved.
how do i know if my child needs speech and language therapy?
This is not the most straight forward question to answer as there are lots of types of speech, language and communication difficulties that affect lots of the different skills that we as humans use to communicate. Children can show some of the following difficulties:
Difficulty listening to and focusing on to what is said to them. Being easily distracted or having a notably very short attention span.
Difficulty interacting with other people. Not seeming interested in other people or finding it hard to make or maintain friendships or play with other children.
Limited understanding of the spoken language of others. A sign of this can often be that children answer you as though you’d asked a different question. They may simply parrot back to you what you have just asked them as they have not understood it and they want to be able to say something at least.
Difficulty learning and using new words. They may have a more limited vocabulary than typically developing children as a result and may use the wrong word to refer to an object, e.g. calling a fox a mouse. They may struggle to find the word they are looking for and ‘um’ and ‘ah’ and maybe give up and end up not saying anything at all.
Difficulty putting words together to form sentences. They may put the words in the wrong order or leave out key words.
Their speech might not be clear. This can mean that people who don’t know them and maybe even people who know them really well find them hard to understand.
Difficulty getting their words out or stammering on their words.
A hoarse or croaky voice.
Difficulty planning what they want to say. They may need more time to organise their thoughts into words and take longer than expected to start speaking.
Does having independent speech and language therapy affect the service i will receive in the nhs?
No, it should not. The RCSLT (Our professional regulatory body) recommends that independent speech and language therapists and therapists working under the NHS should work in harmony and collaborate in order to best serve the best interests of the children we work with.
We are often asked to provide therapy as a ‘top up’ to what the NHS is able to provide the child with and we are always happy to do so.
will i be able to pay through my health insurance?
Yes, many of our therapists are registered with multiple private healthcare insurance providers. Just ask our referral team about whether we can work under the insurance cover you have. If you have a provider that we are not registered with, we will endeavour to register with them so that we can help your child.
what if i need to cancel an arranged session?
A lot of us here at Magic Words have our own children and we really do understand that children can get sick and unforeseen things can crop up that might prevent a family from being able to attend their appointment. However, we also need to function as a business so we can continue to run and pay our therapists to carry on providing such a vital and life changing service for thousands of children and their families. For this reason, we have a strict 24-hour cancellation policy, except in exceptional circumstances. If cancellations are made within 24 hours of the appointment the session will still be charged for in full.
are your therapists fully qualified?
Yes, all our therapists have either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from a fully recognised university in speech and language therapy. We are also all fully registered with the HCPC (Health Care Professionals Council) and the RCSLT (Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists). In order to practice as a speech and language therapist in the UK these registrations are an essential requirement. Many of our therapists are also members of ASLTIP (Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice). As an organisation we take our memberships with our professional bodies very seriously. To continue to be eligible for membership there are certain fulfillments that are required of us as healthcare professionals. For example, we have to complete a set amount of hours of CPD (Continuous Professional Development) each year. This means we have to continue to learn and develop our clinical and professional skills and knowledge year on year.
What areas do you cover?
We are able to see clients who live or go to school in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, parts of Essex and North and West London. We have clinics in Milton Keynes, St Albans, Harrow and Cambridge.
We are always expanding so if you are not sure whether we operate in your area just get in touch.