What service do we offer? 

Speech and language therapists are specially trained to help children with speech, language and communication needs and/or difficulties with eating and drinking. They may work with a child individually or in a group, or they may help the child by supporting others such as the child's parent/carer or teacher.  

Your child can be referred to the speech and language therapy service if there is a concern that they may have difficulties that require a speech and language assessment or advice. 

Where will my child be seen? 

For some young children, you may receive a telephone or video consultation in the first instance, or you may be offered an appointment at your local speech and language therapy clinic. 

How do I contact a speech and language therapist? 

Can I bring someone with me? 

Yes. If you would like to bring a family member or friend with you, please do.  If possible, please leave any siblings at home with a relative or friend.   

What should I tell my child about the appointment? 

We recommend telling your child that you are going together to meet someone (you can tell them the name of the speech and language therapist if you have been given it) and that there will be toys to play with.  Children are less likely to relax, talk and play during the session if they are told that they will have to talk.     

What happens at the first appointment? 

The speech and language therapist will provide something suitable for your child to play with and help them feel at home. 

The speech and language therapist will listen to your concerns and ask you for more information about your child, for example, pregnancy and birth, developmental milestones, medical history, family history, communication skills and eating and drinking. You should bring with you the questionnaire and consent forms that were sent out with your appointment letter. 

The speech and language therapist will spend some time finding out about your child's speech, language, and communication skills through playing and chatting together and sometimes looking at some pictures.  

Don't worry if your child is shy or doesn't want to talk. 

How long will the appointment be? 

The appointment will usually last between 45 – 60 minutes.  

What happens after the first appointment? 

The speech and language therapist will discuss the assessment findings with you and what will happen next. This may be:  

  • Advice  

The speech and language therapist will suggest strategies or activities that you can try at home or at nursery.  

  • Therapy  

You and your child may be invited to come to therapy sessions, either individually or in a small group. You will also be given activities or strategies to practice at home or nursery. 

  • Referral to another service 

The speech and language therapist may wish to refer your child to another service, e.g., for a hearing test. 

  • Referral closure 

If the speech and language therapist considers that your child's skills are either developing along normal lines or will make progress without needing additional support from a speech and language therapist, you will not be offered a further appointment but you will be given information about how to access the service again in the future if required. 

What if we can't attend? 

If your child is unwell on the day of an appointment, or you have to cancel for any other reason, please let us know as soon as possible, using the contact information on your appointment letter/text message.  We will offer the appointment to someone else and arrange another appointment with you. 

If you don't attend an appointment, and don't let us know in advance, we will send you a text message and/or a letter asking you to contact us within 3 weeks to arrange another appointment.  If we do not hear from you, we will contact the referrer and close the referral.  

If you no longer need an appointment, please contact us to let us know. 

What if we need an interpreter? 

We can arrange for an interpreter to be available during your child's appointment. If you or your child would benefit from this service, please contact us.   

What if my child needs to have therapy appointments? 

If therapy sessions are recommended, these will be arranged with you.  Depending on the type of therapy being offered, the sessions may be for you and your child together, just you or with other children in a small group. Some parent/carer sessions are via video.  Therapy sessions usually last 30-45 minutes. There may be a waiting list for therapy sessions. 

What do I need to do between appointments? 

The speech and language therapist will give you some activities to practice with your child between appointments. As you spend more time with your child than anyone else, it is important to do the activities with your child between sessions. Your child will make the most progress when we all work together! 

To access more information about this resource and the service related to it, you can review the related resources below.

Stammering advice for parents, carers and teachers
General advice for parents, teachers and carers of children who stammer.
Top tips for talking
Read our top tips for talking by our Children's Speech and Language Therapy Service.

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