What does this service provide?

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 children 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 your child may have difficulties that require a speech and language assessment or advice. 

What happens at the first appointment? 

The speech and language therapist will assess your child in school using formal and informal assessments, and/ or observing your child in class or on the playground. They will also discuss with your child's teacher any concerns they may have. Depending on the area of concern, this may include looking at your child's:  

  • ability to listen and concentrate 
  • understanding of spoken language  
  • ability to express themselves in words and sentences 
  • use of speech sounds/speech clarity 
  • social communication with other people 

The results from the assessments together with the information given by school and any concerns you may have allow us to plan the support your child needs. 

What happens after the first appointment? 

After the visit(s), the speech and language therapist will write a report detailing the results of the assessments and the level and type of support your child may need, e.g:

  • classroom strategies and targeted interventions 

There are many things that school staff can do to support speech language and communication needs within the classroom (for example, providing visual support to help a child understand). In addition to classroom strategies, some children will require extra speech and/or language support recommended by the therapist and this is usually carried out either individually or in a small group by teaching assistants. For some children this will be enough to help support their needs. If, after a period of recommended support, further advice is needed, your child can be referred back at any time. 

  • specialist support 

Some children will require periods of direct help from a speech and language therapist or assistant:

  • 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, your child's referral will be closed 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?

Referrals are discussed with between the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and link speech and language therapist. If an assessment is needed, the link speech and language therapist will visit your child in school and carry out an assessment based on the information included in your child's referral. The assessment may involve the therapist working one-to-one with your child, observing them in class or a combination of both. The therapist will also gather further information from school staff.  

Next steps will be based on the information gathered from the assessment. The likely outcomes are that your child will:  

  • be discharged with advice
  • be provided with targets and a plan to be implemented at home and school. Your child will be discharged from the speech and language therapy service whilst this is implemented. The family or school can then request further support once the plan has been completed
  • be provided with targets and a plan. Demonstration sessions or a block of therapy will be offered by a member of the speech and language therapy team to help implement the plan. You will receive a report which outlines the key findings from the assessment and the next steps

What if we don't attend? 

If your child is not in school on the day of the appointment, we will arrange another appointment at a later date. If you feel your child no longer needs 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.

How can I contact this service?

Where will your child be seen? 

The speech and language therapist will see your child in school. You are welcome to attend the appointment with your child or speak to the speech and language therapist on the phone. Please either contact the service or speak to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at your child’s school for further details. 

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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).