Our Pre-school Speech and Language Therapy Team provides support to children aged 2-4 who present with speech, language and communication difficulties. Each pre-school and nursery setting across the city has a Link Speech and Language Therapist, however we also support families whose children who do not attend an early years setting. If there are concerns regarding your child's speech, language or communication skills, parents can attend a Drop-in clinic to speak to a Speech and Language Therapist. If a referral to Speech and Language Therapy is needed, this will be completed and the next steps will be jointly decided with parents.
Our aim is to support all adults in your child’s environment to use the speech and language strategies provided so that these can be embedded throughout the day. Support for your child might include:
Individual intervention session/s.
Pre-school/nursery staff support visit/s.
Our service works in an episode of care model whereby; we may set up a piece of work for setting or Parents and then discharge your child with specific things to try or targets to achieve. We would then ask that you contact us via telephone if/when you have further questions, concerns or you need to know what to try next. We will jointly plan the next steps with you in this telephone consultation.
School-Age Service: Primary
Our School-age Speech and Language Therapy Team provides support to children aged 4-11 who present with speech, language and communication difficulties. In most cases, support and therapy (if required) is likely to take place at your child’s school. We support children who:
- Have difficulties with their speech (difficulty pronouncing words/mixing up sounds)
- Have difficulties understanding and following language using in the classroom (following instructions/understanding questions)
- Have difficulties expressing themselves (making sentences and using accurate grammar)
- Have a stammer/stutter
- Have additional needs that affect communication (e.g. ASD, Down Syndrome, Hearing Loss)
Each primary school across the city has a Link Speech and Language Therapist who visits the school regularly and is able to provide support and advice to children referred to the service. Support for your child might include:
- Therapy sessions
- Providing resources, activities or visual aids to help communication development in school.
- Training to school staff.
- Support and advice to Class Teachers on supporting communication difficulties at school.
- Support to SENCo’s and school staff on how to set up therapy groups.
In addition to support for individual children we also provide training for school staff on a variety of topics. If you are a school staff member or SENCo and are interested in our training packages please see our Training for Professionals page.
For information on referrals into the school age team please see our Referrals and Early Advice Sessions page.
School-Age Service: Secondary
Our Secondary Speech and Language Therapy Team provides support to young people aged 11-19 who present with speech, language and communication difficulties. In most cases, support and advice is likely to take place in school. Each Secondary school across the city has a ‘Link Speech and Language Therapist’ that they can contact for advice and to discuss specific pupils where there are concerns about their communication. The SENCo is able to make a referral to the Secondary Speech and Language Therapy Service via their Link Therapist if required.
Following referral we may provide:
- Assessment of the young person’s communication abilities
- Advice to school staff regarding supporting communication difficulties at school
- Training to school staff
- Resources/classroom visuals to aid communication within the classroom
- Direct therapy for specialist conditions e.g. stammering
If you are a secondary school SENCo and have queries about our secondary service or are unsure of who to contact please email or call us directly and we will be happy to help.
Complex Needs Team
Before children learn to talk they need to develop their early communication skills, such as: looking, joint attention, taking turns and listening. Some children have difficulties with social skills and interaction i.e. being able to use language and non-verbal communication including eye contact, facial expressions and body language. Our role as Speech and Language Therapists is to focus on supporting your child’s interaction, communication and language at home and in their pre-school setting using methods of expressing themselves that they find easiest and most functional. We also work alongside members of the Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) (Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists) and provide group training and joint intervention sessions.
If you are concerned about your child’s social interaction and/or communication please talk to your health visitor/ pre-school setting to discuss the Early Help Assessment (EHA) and referral process to this service.
If your child is already known to members of the MDT and you feel advice from a Speech and Language Therapist will be helpful, please contact your child’s lead professional for further information about accessing the service.
Eating and Drinking Service
We are able to provide assessment, advice and treatment for children who have difficulties associated with swallowing including:
Abnormal muscle tone
Compromise respiratory status
Difficulties with chewing and bolus control
N.B. Children with behavioural feeding difficulties of a non-organic cause do not meet the criteria for this service. This includes children who have sensory processing differences and avoidant or restrictive food intake (including those diagnosed with ARFID).
Children who have other difficulties with eating/drinking such as social, emotional and behavioural problems or those who have physical difficulties using utensils or limited appetites are best supported by other groups or professionals, or across agencies.
Our Speech and Language Therapy Team for Stammering provides support to children aged 2-19 who present with stammering (also known as stuttering or dysfluency). For preschool children, if there are concerns regarding your child’s stammer, parents can attend an Early Advice Session to speak to a Speech and Language Therapist. For school-age children, the SENCo can make a referral to Speech and Language Therapy via the school link Therapist. See our Referrals and Early Advice Sessions page for further information.
Following the referral, we may provide:
- Parent workshops
- Training to staff in early years settings or schools
- Advice and support to school staff in supporting the child’s fluency
- Assessment of the child or young person’s stammer
- Palin Parent-Child Interaction therapy with the family
For older children this may also include:
- Family Communication Skills therapy
- Individual intervention sessions (with / without parents present)
Therapy for children who stammer usually takes place with parents. For under 7 years this can take place in school or in clinic, whereas for over 7s therapy tends to take place in clinic.
The Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for Voice provides support to preschoolers and children or young people of school age (up to their 19th birthday) with voice difficulties. In most cases, support and advice is likely to take place in clinic with a parent or carer present. The role of the Specialist Speech and Language Therapist is to identify factors affecting the child’s voice and to offer advice and therapy as necessary.
All referrals to Speech and Language Therapy will be preceded by a detailed assessment of the larynx (i.e. voicebox) by an ENT consultant. If parents or school staff have concerns about a child’s voice, a referral to ENT via the child’s GP is advised to enable the child to access the Children's Speech and Language Therapy service.