Welcome to Dallas Reading and Language Services, our special therapy clinic where we help children and adults experience success, in school and in life! At DRLS we “Embrace the Amazing” in every Child! Our Speech Language Therapists passionately help clients accept their gifts, as well as develop tools and skills needed to move through their challenges.
My name is Rachel Betzen CCC/SLP, I am a board certified Speech-Language Pathologist, and the founder of Dallas Reading and Language Services, which first opened in 2005. I received my Master’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Houston in 2003, and my fully licensed “CCC/SLP” Status in 2004. This stands for “certificate of clinical competence” which is kind of a mouthful- you almost have to be a Speech Therapist just to say it!
This is not just a clinic or a business for me. Dallas Reading and Language Services is a special training ground, where we all are discovering how to more deeply embrace a “whole child intervention” practice, with results that are at times no less then astonishing. Particularly with reading skills, I have seen 2nd grade non-readers catch up to their grade level within six months. I have seen 4th graders on a 2nd grade level, catch up to their reading grade level within one year. I have seen 5th graders on a 2nd grade reading level jump up to a 4th grade level in less than a year. While this involves more than therapy alone, we can help put together a plan for children that involves their therapists, their families, and their teachers. As a team, we can help these children turn their lives around, and get excited about their future.
I used to think that whole child therapy was more about helping children equalize language progress with academic progress. While this is certainly very important, there is also a social/emotional component of a “whole child”. I have seen children with PTSD and others with significant anxiety. As these students learn how to communicate what they are feeling and tap into how they experience those symptoms, they not only give voice to their struggles, but also now have a greater ability to work with it. They begin to trust that they have the ability to and learn in an academic environment.
Over and over again I have seen how we can support children as they make a complete reversal in their communication, their family relationships, reading and writing skills, their friendships, and their lives. Some of these are children that fell through the cracks, but these stories are also about parents and families that didn’t give up. These stories are about therapists that are continuously perfecting their ability to help children give voice to these barriers, and support them all the way through the therapy process. This is life changing work. We are in the business of changing children’s lives, and I am proud that we are doing this together, in a way that makes this the best job that we could ever ask for.
In my own history, I struggled with communication as a child and had social challenges that resulted in a Pragmatic Language Disorder, but I was also very stubborn. It took a lot of work and a lot of struggling, but I didn’t give up on myself. What I tell our students, is that when you work on your challenges, and work to accept yourself as you are, then you are able to access the gifts within your struggles. I feel that my compassion and natural sensitivity has allowed me to connect with our students at a much deeper level. This is how I am able to figure out supporting a full on intervention for these children. This is how we are able to build a whole child intervention practice. This is my gift, and this is the best way that I know how to use it.
Many children that attend our clinic have experienced a lot of failure, in school and in life. While my background may be different from theirs, I have shared their pain of believing that I was stupid. I have seen their struggle to keep up in school, and to keep the few friends they may have. I have seen their anger at a world they don’t understand, and that doesn’t understand them. I have seen the loss of their potential as they spiral downward into despair and their parents are at a loss as to what to do next.
“It is not enough to tell these students that they are smart and have the possibility to turn their lives around, we have to show them. We can partner with parents and teachers to prove that they are smart, to build on their successes, and to build an appreciation for the uniqueness that makes each of them different and special.
What I want for these children, even more than social and academic success, is for them to realize that their future has not yet been written. There is hope they can turn their lives around, they can find their support people, work on the skill areas they need to develop, and pull themselves back up from “between the cracks”.
For our new parents: As you enter our private practice your child will have a dedicated team of professionals, our Therapy staff and UTD Graduate Interns, who will guide you and your child through the therapy process. Whatever challenges your child is experiencing with communication, academic language, or social difficulties, you don’t have to face this alone. Our team is good at what we do, and we will put our heads together to provide the best that we can for your child. With our collaborative approach, we expect to see changes happen throughout the therapy process. I am proud of our therapy team and the passion they bring. They naturally go “the extra mile” for any client as needed and they are amazing people to work with. I am so blessed to be building this special clinic alongside them.
However, this doesn’t mean that all of the children who come to our clinic are in dire need. We really love working with children that have speech or language delays that are less significant. I believe that a clinic environment with 1 to 1 intervention greatly benefits them too, as it allows these children to progress more quickly and be discharged from services in a shorter time period.
For clients that have speech goals, we use multisensory tools and are the only clinic provider in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to offer Smart Palate with speech therapy. This is a biofeedback program that includes individual mouthpieces for the client and therapist and allows clients to see where their tongue touches the palate for target speech sounds. They have the option to get a membership to complete speech, allowing them to practice at home, which also improves the amount of progress they can make in a short time.
Whether your child has a mild speech delay or a significant speech language disorder, Therapy is an investment, that is meant to have long-term lasting results. You are making an investment in the future of your child. Therapy is different from teaching or tutoring, because we are individualizing the goals so specifically, and we are teaching skills that we expect to carry-over for the rest of your child’s life. We aim to change the way your child understands language and his or her ability to express it at a level needed for success, no matter what the child wants to do in the long term.
Speech-Language Therapy with a “whole-child-intervention” approach shifts the child's focus from dealing with the negative side effects of not flourishing, to a re-alignment that it is possible to achieve. This approach encourages us to actively look for barriers impeding progress. Addressing “stinking thinking”, negative beliefs and negative self-talk, helps children tackle head on some of their largest barriers. When children believe they are stupid, or less able to learn, this is a tremendous barrier that could potentially affect them for the rest of their lives. At least, that is, until they find us.
Changes we often notice as a result of therapy have included: speech sounds that have been corrected, improvements in the way children visualize and chunk information for comprehension, an ability to express their thoughts, to “find their words”, to keep trying to repair communication breakdowns, to finally understand what they are reading at school, to find the courage to say hello and make new friends, or the determination to just “get it out, even if they stutter”. Speech-Language Therapy for “the whole child” is a gift, this is a gift that you are giving to your child and to yourself.
For our children to access their gifts, they have to work on their challenges. This is true for all of us. By giving our students so much support, they can rise to meet the high expectations that we have for them. However, these students cannot do this with our support alone, they need parents or other responsible adults to bring them to therapy and help them practice their home program. We ask our parents to take responsibility for reviewing their child’s therapy “homework”, to get that carry-over needed to transfer new skills outside of our clinic setting.
We will give parents specific examples to use when praising each child, and demonstrate how to provide lots of positive feedback as their child practices and gains confidence. This will encourage children to keep going as they move through some of their most difficult barriers. Providing children with genuine, positive praise will deepen their relationship, and, if needed, this can lay a foundation for strengthening a child’s self-esteem and self-worth. An added benefit for parents, is that this will strengthen the bond that they have with their children.
As speech therapists, we know that children with speech language delays and disorders are at a higher risk of having learning difficulties. Working directly with reading and written language, within a hierarchy alongside other goals, is the missing piece that can give these kids a way to get caught up, and to keep up in school as their progress generalizes to stronger academic language skills.
In addition, for our insurance and private pay parents, our medical office staff does our billing, in addition to running our office smoothly and helping you with scheduling or rescheduling Evaluations and Therapy sessions or Reading Program sessions, which we offer on a private pay/sliding scale basis only.
Providing speech-language therapy within a focused context of reading and writing, while also working to break down barriers and re-build self-esteem, is a powerful combination that supports these children as they make a full-on reversal in their communication, their education, and their lives.
For our new parents, we know that you desperately want your child to struggle less, and to have more success with communication and learning. This is your moment. When you commit to bring your child to therapy and participate in an intervention program, this is the moment that you no longer have to figure this out on your own. We are in the business of changing children’s lives. Speech Language Therapy is a short term investment that we expect to result in longer-term benefits, which will stay with our children for the rest of their lives. We are good at empowering children to work through their challenges. An important life lesson, is that in order to access your gifts and talents, you have to work on your challenges. Speech-Language therapy for “the whole child” is a gift. Thank you for supporting our special therapy clinic, we look forward to making a difference in the life of your child.