What does this service provide?

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are specially trained to help children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), 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 has been referred to the SLT service because there is a concern that your child may have difficulties that require a speech and language assessment or advice.

Speech and Language Pre-School Setting Support Service (SaLSS) 

SaLSS is a team of speech and language therapists who offer coaching, training and advice to Early Years Practitioners to enable them to provide the best support for children in their settings who have speech, language and communication needs. 

The SaLSS therapists work closely with practitioners to develop key skills and strategies for supporting speech, language and communication.  

Action will be identified and agreed with the setting who will continue to support the speech language and communication needs of the child or young person. 

Where will your child be seen?

You will be offered an appointment at your local speech and language therapy clinic. If you can't come to the appointment you have been offered, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can offer a new appointment at a more convenient time.

What happens at the first appointment?

The SLT will choose something suitable for your child to play with and help them feel at home. It will help if you tell your child that you are going to meet someone who has some toys to play with rather than telling them that they will have to talk.

The SLT will listen to your concerns and ask you for more information about your child, for example, pregnancy/birth, developmental milestones, medical history, family history, communication skills and eating and drinking.

The SLT will spend some time finding out about your child's speech and language 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.

What happens after the first appointment?

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

  • advice

The SLT 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 practise at home or nursery:

  • referral to another service

The SLT may wish to refer your child to another service, e.g., for a hearing test.

  • referral closure

If the SLT considers that your child's skills are either developing along normal lines or will make progress without needing additional support from a SLT, 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 happens during and after your appointment?

Once your child's referral has been accepted, you will be offered an assessment session which will take place in a local clinic. During the assessment, you will meet a speech and language therapist who will take a case history and carry out an assessment of your child. The assessment may include formal assessment where your child is presented with specific pictures/resources and asked questions about them or play-based assessment and observation. 

Next steps will be agreed between you and the speech and language therapist. This could include advice to do some work at home with no further appointments, or your child may be placed on a list for individual or group therapy sessions. You will receive a report outlining the key observations and advice following the appointment. 

What happens during and after your appointment with the Pre-school Complex Needs Team?

The Pre-school Complex Needs Team is a specialist team of speech and language therapists and speech and language therapy assistants who help to develop communication skills for children who are under 5 years old. The team also provide assessment and intervention for children with eating and drinking difficulties (dysphagia).  

The team offer one-to-one and multidisciplinary assessments for children's communication as well as assessment and intervention for eating and drinking difficulties. 

Following your child's assessment, you may be offered:  

  • one-to-one and group therapy sessions in a range of settings (Child Development Centre, home, nursery, clinic). Both face-to-face and remote options are available 
  • support with developing and using all forms of supported communication, including signing, visual supports, alternative augmentative communication (AAC), for example, communication boards, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and electronic communication aids

Depending on your child's needs and school placement, they may be transferred to the Schools speech and language therapy team.  

What if we don't attend?

Wherever possible, we will contact you to find out why your child did not attend and to arrange another appointment. If we cannot contact you, we will send a letter asking you to contact us within 3 weeks. If we do not hear from you, we will contact the referrer and close the referral. If you feel you no longer need an appointment, please 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 feel that you or your child would benefit from this service, please contact us.

How can I access this service?

This service can be accessed through the Children's Speech and Language Therapy Service.

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If you want to share a compliment, raise a concern or if you are just not sure who to speak to you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).