The Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) service is provided by Central London Community Healthcare (CLCH).
The service provides assessment and diagnosis for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and/or with eating, drinking, and swallowing needs. Following diagnosis, the service may provide therapy for children and young people whose difficulties have a significant impact on their functional, everyday communication skills
The aim is to make sure that children and young people reach their speech, language and communication potential, whatever their level of ability and preferred communication method.
The service is delivered on the principle that all children and young people’s communication skills are best developed through interaction with the people who are most familiar with the children and young people, and in their everyday situations and environments. There is also a strong focus on early identification and intervention.
Team members work collaboratively with parents and carers, as well as education, early years, and health colleagues. They provide training and advice for parents/carers and key staff, and work alongside others in the children’s workforce to create communication supportive environments and to support individual children. This is to ensure a whole system approach to meeting speech, language and communication needs.
Regular newsletters are produced to ensure that parents and carers, schools, and early years settings are kept up to date with service information and updates. Take a look at the Summer newsletters by clicking on the links below.
- Head Teachers Speech and Language Therapy Newsletter - Summer 2019
- Early Years Settings Speech and Language Therapy Newsletter - Summer 2019
- Parents Speech and Language Therapy Newsletter - Summer 2019
Who is this service available to?
Early Years’ Service
This service is available to preschool children (0 - 5 years), who have speech, language and communication needs, or/or with eating and drinking needs. All children who have a GP in the borough can access this service.
The service mostly takes place in clinics, children’s centres, nurseries and nursery classes attached to schools. Support provided includes assessment of needs, group and individual therapy for children, and training and collaborating with parents and carers and staff involved in the child’s care. SLTs run drop-in sessions at children’s centres, for parents/carers to find out more about speech and language needs and the SLT service, and to discuss any concerns they have with their child’s speech, language, and communication development. Details can be found here.
In addition, SLTs support early year’s practitioners to ensure that children’s centres and nurseries/schools can also support to develop children’s speech, language and communication. This is achieved by training staff, sharing resources such as language enriching activities, and ensuring the child’s environment promotes language and communication. The focus in early years is on prevention of communication concerns and on early identification and support of needs.
A specialist feeding service is available to assess and support children who face difficulties with eating and drinking. When an urgent feeding referral is received the Therapist will contact the family within two weeks. Support consists of advice and a programme, which is reviewed regularly.
Mainstream Primary and Secondary Schools Service
The SLT service offers dedicated support to parents/carers and school staff to empower them to meet the speech, language and communication needs of all children with speech, language or communication needs. This includes providing advice, training, and information to school staff and parents/carers to help them with identifying and meeting speech and language needs through targeted support.
Therapists provide direct therapy for individual children with speech, language and communication needs in their Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plans during term time. All children in Mainstream Schools with eating and drinking needs will be supported by SLTs working in the Special Schools SLT team.
Beyond this, therapists work in partnership with school staff to develop strategies and deliver interventions for facilitating communication development for all children. This is primarily achieved through the provision of ‘Learning Workshops’ for school staff. The Learning Workshops are short, practical training sessions on a wide range of topics delivered across the borough. They are an excellent, free CPD opportunity to promote embedded support for all children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs. They also play an important role in ensuring education staff who work with children with Speech, Language and Communication outcomes on an EHCP have the necessary confidence and skills to be able to effectively work towards achieving those outcomes in school. This ensures that speech and language skills are supported throughout the school day, in all setting sand classes and the wider school community.
Some schools also buy in additional Speech and Language Therapy whole-school training for staff or support time for students attending their schools. Some schools buy in SLT support from the CLCH NHS team, other schools choose to buy in additional SLT support from independently employed Speech and Language Therapists. To find out more about what is happening in your child’s school to support them, please speak to their school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).
Special Schools and Additional Resource Provisions
Within Special Schools and Units, SLTs work as part of the school teams to develop the approach to supporting communication within the school setting. The needs of students’ with Education Health Care Plans are met functionally within a wide range of school activities and therapists work alongside class teams to support the development of communication skills within the whole school community throughout the day. Parents are welcome to contact therapy teams within the schools to discuss their child’s communication and interaction needs and current care plan at any time.
School therapists work with the individual school provisions to respond to identified training needs within the school.
SLTs will work with school staff and families to support children with eating and drinking needs where this is required.
Out of borough schools
Children attending schools outside of H&F or independent schools will usually access therapy and other support at their school.
If a child has SLT provision on an Education Health and Care plan, please speak with your child’s Local Authority EHCP Coordinator regarding arrangements that have been made for them to receive SLT support in their school. The H&F Local Authority EHCP Coordinators can be contacted on SEND@lbhf.gov.uk or 0208 753 1021.
Children without an EHCP who attend out of borough schools or independent schools can be referred to the ‘School Aged SLT Assessment and Advice Clinics’ as detailed in the ‘referrals’ section above by their GP.
Direct therapy for children over 16 in mainstream schools, or 19 in special schools, should be delivered by the relevant Further Education setting or arranged through the Local Authority. If a child/young person has SLT provision on an Education Health and Care plan, please speak with your child’s Local Authority EHCP Coordinator regarding arrangements that have been made for them to receive SLT support in their education setting. The H&F Local Authority EHCP Coordinators can be contacted on SEND@lbhf.gov.uk or 0208 753 1021.
The service works on the principle that the speech and language needs of children and young people should be met through a whole system of support. In line with this approach, a key role of Speech and Language Therapists (SLT) is to develop the skills and capacity of the wider children’s workforce, as well as parents and carers, to support children’s speech, language and communication. The speech and language needs of most children can be met within this whole system approach, without a need for referral and direct therapy. However, some children will have additional needs that make referral to specialist SLT services necessary.
When a child or young person is referred, the Speech and Language Therapist assessing the individual’s needs will make specific recommendations about interventions to achieve the best outcomes. SLTs work in collaboration with children and young people, as well as parents/carers and school staff, giving choices about types of support where appropriate.
Parent/carer is essential to SLT assessment and ongoing care, and SLTs use interpreters to support families where needed. Parents/carers are provided with written reports after assessment, and annually if appropriate, which details their child’s strengths and needs and outlines the plan of care that has been agreed for the child.
Children, young people and families are asked to comment on their experience of the service, so that it can continue to improve.
Early Years Referrals
SLT services run an open referral system for pre-school age children, so anyone can refer a child to the Early Years’ Service if there is a concern about their speech, language, communication, or swallowing. To make a referral, please complete a referral form and email it to CLCHT.firstname.lastname@example.org. Referral forms can be found here: https://www.clch.nhs.uk/services/speech-and-language-therapy-children
Children under 5 are usually seen within 8 weeks for initial assessment. Following initial assessment all parents / carers are invited to a SLT information session which gives the opportunity to explain what SLT is and how parents / carers can support their children’s communication.
School age referrals
The SLT service in H&F for school aged pupils provides direct support for children with SLT provision within into an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and provides assessment and advice to contribute to the EHCP Needs Assessment process. Referrals are received directly from the Local Authority.
In addition, children and young people who school aged and who have a H&F GP can be referred to the ‘School Aged SLT Assessment and Advice’ Clinics. These clinics are also run by colleagues in Westminster and K&C for pupils with GPs in these boroughs. The Assessment and Advice Clinics are for pupils who appear to have significant speech, language and communication needs which are impacting on their access to the curriculum and ability to integrate with peers or who stammer.
Children can be referred to the School Aged SLT Assessment and Advice clinics by their GP. If a referral is required, please ask your GP to complete a referral form and email it to CLCHT.email@example.com. Referral forms can be found here and will be accepted from any GP in H&F, Westminster or K&C. GPs in other boroughs should refer to their local services.
Following receipt of a referral form, the child’s school will be asked to complete a teacher questionnaire with details of the impact of the child’s speech, language, or communication needs. When this information is received and reviewed, the child will be offered and assessment and advice clinic appointment if appropriate.
The purpose of this appointment will be to assess the child’s communication skills and provide advice on how to support his/her communication development. A report outlining assessment results and advice given will be written following the appointment and sent to both parents and school, if requested.
Children who are referred to the SLT assessment and advice clinics by their GP are generally seen in the school holidays when the clinics run.
Please be advised that we are able to offer an assessment and advice for your child however we are unable to commit to ongoing therapy. The H&F mainstream school SALT service is not currently able to provide ongoing direct therapy/intervention for pupils who do not have an Educational Health and Care Plan.
Trainings and workshops
A range of training options and workshops are offered for parents and carers to help them support their children in relation to their speech and language needs.
For parents or carers
Parent workshops for children with social communication difficulties (SCD)/autism spectrum disorder (ASD): These 2 hour workshops are for parents and carers whose child under the age of 5 years has received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or where there are concerns around social communication skills. There are three different workshops – speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and Educational Psychology,. The workshops are repeated throughout the year in different locations. Dates and locations for upcoming workshops can be found here
- Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder After Diagnosis: These 2 hour drop in sessions are for parents and carers whose child under the age of 5 years has received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The workshops are run by early years speech and language therapists and clinical nurse specialists. A list of dates and locations for upcoming workshops can be found here
- Makaton taster sessions: these 90 minute workshops are for parents/carers with a child under the age of 5 years, and early years practitioners who would like to learn about Makaton. A full list of dates and locations can be found here
A range of training options are available to schools and early years settings to help support all children and young people's communication. Please check this section for upcoming events.
- Booking form for trainings can be found here
The Early Years Speech and Language Therapy Team have a new service for practitioners working in Early Years settings. The telephone service will be for practitioners who would like advice from an early years SLT. View the dates and times here.
For School Staff
SLT Learning Workshops
All schools have access to a range of free training programmes for school staff across the school year provided by the local SLT Service delivered by Central London Community Health Care (CLCH), including:
- Makaton Beginners and Enhanced - how to use signs, symbols and speech to support communication
- Use of Visuals in the Classroom - how visual supports can be used in the classroom to support student's attention and listening, understanding, expression and social skills
- Colour coding communication - how to use colour coding to support expressive and receptive language skills
- Stories for Social Understanding - how to support student's social understanding using stories
- Developing Narrative Skills - how to help student's with speech, language and communication needs to retell stories and recount events
- Vocabulary development workshops - how schools can support children to learn and use new words in the classroom
- Language for Thinking - how to develop children's language from the concrete to the abstract and respond to questions in the classroom
- Lego Therapy - how to support children with social difficulties to improve and practice their social interaction and communication skills using lego bricks
- Use of Comic Strips - how to use comic strips to support students to understand the more abstract aspects of social communication (for students with ASD)
- Zones of regulation - how to teach students strategies for emotional and sensory self-management
- Self Help Skills - how to help students develop self help strategies in the school environment to help them before more independent learners
- Language for Learning - how to use different types of questions to support students with SLCN in the classroom (using the Blank Rose and Berlin 'Language for Learning' model)
Where to go
Parsons Green Health Centre
5-7 Parsons Green, London SW6 4UL
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm
Parkview Centre for Health and Wellbeing
Cranston Court, First Floor, 56 Bloemfontein Road, London W12 7FG
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm