>The local ps school here has a professional evaluate the children but a
>teachers assistant does the therapy in group settings (A teachers
>assistant at this school needs only a GED to get hired).
YIKES! I dont think i would have even attempted to put my son there. Our health insurance would pay for a therapist, but I'd have to pay $25 a visit, and he was going 3 times a week to start. Early intervention here put him in with a licensed speech therapist. She was great too. She worked one on one, and with group (if you call 2 kids in a class a group). We did one group class a week and 2 individual classes the first year.
They did do a very thorough evaluation before they started. They said he didnt listen correctly to the sounds, so they had to teach him to hear the difference before they could teach him to make the sounds.
Hopefully this will be our last year in speech therapy. He's 5 now, and going only once a week. So, it took them a year before he was speaking audibly
(for mom but not for strangers), and the other 2 years have been for cleaning sounds up. Since he doesn't learn new sounds on his own, he is still going, but boy i cant wait until i dont have to take him :)