If your speech therapist or your child’s speech therapist recommends a speech generating device (SGD), the speech therapist will guide you through the entire process.
Here is what that process generally looks like:
First, the therapist will trial devices with you or your child in the clinic. Medicaid and most other insurances require that 3 devices be trialed to ensure that the speech generating device is the best fit for the patient. The length of the trial period can vary greatly between patients. For those who live far from the clinic and are not generally available to come in for weekly appointments, a day can be scheduled to trial various devices and equipment and a decision about which device to rent can be made from there. For those who come to the clinic for weekly appointments, the speech therapist may take several sessions to trial different devices. For kids who have severe delays, like autism, the trial process may take up to a few months if your child has difficulty with regulation and engagement. For kids who have apraxia of speech or adults, the process may be shorter. Once 3 or more devices are trialed, the speech therapist will review the options with you to help you make an informed decision about which device you would like to rent.
Once you have made your decision, the therapist will help you complete paperwork to get a rental device. Once the paperwork is complete, it may take a couple of weeks for the device to ship to your house. Your speech therapist can help you program the device to the appropriate settings. The rental period is important because it allows you to have the SGD in your home and trial in daily activities. Most companies will let you keep the rental device for an extended period while you decide if you would like to purchase the device. If you decide that the SGD is not right for you or your child, you can return the device and get another rental device.
Most insurance companies will fully fund the purchase of an SGD. Your speech therapist will help you complete all the necessary paperwork. Depending on the company, they will either let you keep the rental device as your now purchased device or they may send you a new device and you will need to return the rental device once you receive the purchased device. Again, your speech therapist can help you program the device to the appropriate settings and will provide training on how to customize your device. If you made any customizations on the rental device, you can save the vocabulary on a USB and upload it to the purchased device. Most devices will come with a warranty. Medicaid will replace a device if needed after 3 years.