Seeking a Speech Therapist at Kaiser

Parent Q&A

Speech assessment for toddler (Kaiser or other low-cost option?) Feb 12, 2020 (10 responses below)
Speech issues in 18 month old - Kaiser? May 22, 2017 (12 responses below)
  • Hello,

    I've searched in the archives but found no mention of no/low-cost early intervention "birth to three" services for toddlers. I have Kaiser insurance and was referred by my pediatrician to a group class on communicating with toddlers, but it did not seem to pertain to the issues my son has (probable moderate apraxia of speech). We may still be able to get an appointment for an evaluation, but I have my doubts about whether Kaiser really knows or cares about this diagnosis. Has anyone had a different experience? Or if you ended up going somewhere else for a screening and services, where did you go? How helpful was it? 

    Thank you! 

    Regional Center of the East Bay offers developmental services to children under 3 years old. You can self refer and they have a specific amount of time to respond to you and to evaluate your child. If she qualifies they will provide a speech therapist on a weekly basis. 
    My 2 year old was evaluated by the Regional Center and by Kaiser. Kaiser’s services were abysmal compared to what Regional Center was able to provide -  a highly skilled SLP who came to our house every week. 510 618 6100

    The Regional Center of the East Bay serves kids 0-21 with developmental delays/disabilities. They can assess and provide free services but it takes about 2-3 months to get started. We did this plus get a speech eval from Kaiser. It took  lot of pushing and a sympathetic pediatrician. First they would have you do an ASQ short questionnaire ( looking for autism). I also paid a private speech therapist to do one time observation-- not cheap.  Lucky for us, he started "talking" a month later ( was 20 months old at the time with no speech-no babbling) Good luck!! Don't wait!!

    My son had a mild impediment. We emailed his Kaiser pediatrician explaining the problem (lisp and trouble with making "th" sound). This was when he was four and in pre-school. Our pediatrician referred us to the speech therapist without an appointment, and my son was evaluated and a plan put together. I was very impressed with the therapist, and after 3 months my son had significant improvement. We continued therapy once a month for a little over a year since it was diagnosed as mild. Have you specifically asked for a referral for an assessment? Could it be that your son is too young to really diagnose at this point?

  • Speech issues in 18 month old - Kaiser?

    (12 replies)

    Hello BPN parents,

    My adorable daughter who is just a few weeks shy of turning 18 months old has only 2 words in her vocabulary. At this point she is only able to say mama and papa and I am starting to feel concerned that she may have a possible speech delay. At this age I know that most kids should be speaking closer to 4-10 words which she is not even close. She also does not tend to repeat for as much as we encourage her too. At her 15 month check up her doctor seemed a bit concerned but said we would reconnect at her 18 month check up. I feel like no progress has been made and was wondering if anyone else had the same experience with their little one. I am not sure if I should wait or seek an evaluation. I am guessing that the earlier the intervention the better. She seems to understand directions well and is otherwise developing great. We are Kaiser members and I have been told that they do not offer services until children are over 3. Is that true? If anyone has had similar experience I would leave to hear about it. Thank you!

    Hi! I would press the doctor for a speech and language evaluation. Kaiser offers services starting at birth! If your doctor will not recommend your daughter for an evaluation, I would get a new doctor. I am a speech therapist and have found that many doctors are not knowledgeable enough about speech and language development and the "wait and see" method is NOT effective. If anything, children must get early intervention services to make solid progress. The other option you have is trying to talk to your school district- some districts offer birth-5 services for their students. Hope this helps!

    At 18 months, there is still a lot of variability in speech.  My son was in a similar situation, and my pediatrician responded the same way your did - keep an eye on it, and reevaluate in a few months.  We reevaluated at 21 months, and he was still a little bit behind (10-15 words as opposed to 20-50), but we decided to wait a bit longer (especially because he's being exposed to multiple languages, which often results in a bit of delay in starting speech), and now at 24 months he is gaining multiple words a day.  If you are worried and want to be proactive about it, contact the East Bay Regional Center ( - assuming you live in the East Bay).  The Regional Center will send someone out to your house, or you visit them, and you do an initial evaluation, and if your child meets the requirements of needing speech therapy, they'll cover a large portion or all of the costs for speech therapy, even if your insurance doesn't, until the child is 3.  After the child turns 3, my understanding is that responsibility for speech therapy goes over to your school district.  I would recommend waiting a bit longer to jump into therapy, especially if your daughter is being exposed to multiple languages, but there's also no harm in contacting the Regional Center and finding out more details.

    HI there,

    I just read your post and had to reply! I'm a speech-language pathologist (and soon to be mama) and wanted to answer some of your questions/concerns. So, by 18-24 months of age, children typically have a large spurt of expressive language acquisition. At 18 months, she should have an expressive vocabulary between 20-25 words and by 2 years around 50 words in their lexicon.They should understand much more than they speak it sounds like she does as she's able to follow simple directions etc. - so that's good! Here's a link to what the American Speech Language Association has on early language development

    With regards to seeking out an evaluation, I would if I were in your position. I'm not sure about Kaiser only taking children after age 3, but the Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC) through their Early Start services for children birth-3. I have a close friend who was in the very same position with her daughter being 18 months and she wasn't even saying mama/papa and was evaluated through GGRC and they began in-home services. And you are right, early intervention is the highly effective and best practice!

    Please let me know if you have any more questions! I'm happy to help.

    kind regards,


Parent Reviews

RE: Frequency of speech therapy? ()

We also received Speech Therapy through the RCEB, had it 1x a week between KP & RCEB. We had Lakshmi from Kaiser & she was AMAZING. I’d recommend seeing how this frequency works for you & your kiddo before exploring more options. I found the sessions more about educating us parents rather than the kid so we could work consistently snd effectively w our kid.

RE: Frequency of speech therapy? ()


Your situation sounds so similar to mine.  My daughter is currently receiving speech therapy through a private speech therapist paid by our Kaiser insurance. Based on reviews, I selected a speech therapist from a list that was given to me by Kaiser. 

It was her Kaiser pediatrician that first detected the speech language delay and like your son, there's no other developmental delays.  My daughter is a few years older than your son and we were approved to received in-person therapy for one hour, once per week. In our situation, it was determined at her initial assessment that one hour per week was sufficient and matched what our Kaiser plan covered. Perhaps the 2 weeks schedule might have been decided based on your plan benefits.  If that's not an issue, then I suggest pushing for an appointment every week if you feel that's needed for your son.  Parents know their children best and you know what he needs.  It can't hurt to ask and request.

Having Kaiser cover the services has been so valuable and I can't say enough how speech therapy has been a blessing for my daughter. It's been a wonderful experience for us and changed her life.  She's more confident, able to express herself better and getting the help she needs to thrive. Best of luck to you.

RE: Toddler speech therapist ()

You have to be pushy with Kaiser. My kid is in similar situation. This was my process:

- bring up speech delay at regular pediatrician appointments

- 15 months we did developmental screening test, ie filled out a form that went to developmental pediatrician 

- developmental pediatrician results said Speech Delay: “take communication with your toddler class,” you may consider contacting RCEB (regional center), don’t hesitate to call us. Do all 3! You want the person at Kaiser to admit you can get a Kaiser speech therapy eval without taking the class & waiting. Get Kaiser speech eval scheduled. Be firm! The class was shockingly useful. Make sure to have your kid do Kaiser speech evals cranky. 

- through RCEB get evals - if your kid qualifies for RCEB speech therapy, be vague about it to Kaiser. You want as much out of Kaiser as possible.

RE: Toddler speech therapist ()

My child got an evaluation from a Kaiser speech therapist at 18 months because he wasn't talking yet. Because he didn't have any other developmental delays and had excellent receptive language, we concluded he was probably just a late talker. Kaiser offered us a few sessions and the Regional Center was an option too, but I passed. A few months later he started talking and caught up. Your pediatrician should give you a referral, but unless you have other concerns about your son, he probably doesn't need speech therapy at this point.


I was in exactly the same situation 4 months ago, except my kid wouldn’t & still won’t say mama. We were approved for weekly zoom speech therapy through RCEB. RCEB covers what insurance won’t cover. So, our insurance does 2x a month (one in person & one zoom) and RCEB fills in the other 2x a month. The Kaiser therapist is significantly better, but I can’t look a gift horse in the month. So much of this is training the parent not working with the kid so zoom is effective. We’ve been in speech therapy for several months now and although my kid won’t say mama, there are other new words. Is it time, therapy or a combo, who knows.