Should I Pay for Private Speech Therapy? The Ins and Outs Of How to Get Therapy Covered

In this thought-provoking episode, we delve into the question of whether to pay for private speech therapy, ABA therapy, or both for children with autism or signs of autism. I share a captivating personal experience from a conference where a concerned parent sought guidance on continuing private speech therapy for their undiagnosed child. Exploring the specific regulations and laws in the United States pertaining to therapy for children, we aim to provide insights and clarity for parents grappling with this complex question.


  • Paying for private speech therapy for autism
  • Alternative routes you can take before private speech therapy
  • How the school system and birht to three can support therapies
  • Determining if medical insurance will pay for private speech therapy
  • Importance of parent involvement and education

Free Speech Therapy For Toddlers

First, if you need services, there are likely avenues you can take to avoid paying out of pocket. We discovered that parents have several options for accessing speech therapy and ABA services. One avenue involves seeking free speech therapy for toddlers or low-cost evaluations through the educational system or early intervention speech programs. These birth to three programs offer free speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy for toddlers. There is also medical insurance that may cover these services as well, so make sure to contact your insurance to see if they cover any sessions. Researching available resources specific to one’s city and state, such as contacting the birth to three program, pediatricians, or daycare/preschool providers, is essential.

Is Speech Therapy Covered by Insurance?

Another potential option is accessing services through the educational system by reaching out to the local school district for speech therapy evaluations. This is helpful, especially for kids over 3 years old.  If these systems are overwhelmed or have waitlists, private pay for speech therapy or ABA may be a viable choice, with medical insurance sometimes covering these services. Learning through my online courses while you wait, may also be an option. However, finding an ABA provider who follows a verbal behavior approach and aligns with the parent’s preferences is crucial.

Throughout the episode, we emphasize the importance of parental involvement and knowledge regarding the services their child receives for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The well-being, progress, and individual needs of the child should always guide decision-making. We highlight a compelling story about a parent’s determination to travel long distances for ABA therapy that was not effective, underscoring the necessity for effective and goal-oriented services. We encourage parents to diligently assess their child’s needs, ensuring the services they receive are truly beneficial and not wasteful of time and resources, regardless of whether they are getting private speech therapy, aba therapy, or not. All services, even if free, take resources. 

Should I Pay For Therapy?

We advise against hastily opting for private therapy services and highlight the availability of free and appropriate public education for private speech therapy, coupled with potential medical insurance coverage. Above all, we stress the importance of learning how to navigate and advocate for children’s needs, fostering a collaborative approach to help each child reach their fullest potential. Join us in this insightful episode as we explore the complexities of therapy options for children with autism.