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Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) service

Last Updated 03/07/2019

The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) service is provided by Central London Community Healthcare (CLCH).

The service provide assessment for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and/or problems with eating, drinking, and swallowing. 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 Spring newsletters by clicking on the links below.



Referrals

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 a 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 involvement is essential to SLT assessment and ongoing care, and therapists 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.chirp@nhs.net. Referral forms can be found here.

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:

Children and young people who are at school will need to be referred to the specialist SLT service by their GP. If a referral is required, please ask your GP to complete a referral form and email it to CLCHT.chirp@nhs.net. Referral forms can be found here.

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 can access the SLT assessment and advice service if appropriate.

Children who are referred by their GP are generally seen in the school holidays.

All referrals for children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs are referred to the Child Integrated Referrals Pathway (CHIRP) Service by professionals working with them. The contact email address is CLCHT.chirp@nhs.net.

Children and young people can be referred if there is any concern about their speech, language and communication. Children are usually seen within 8 weeks for initial assessment and within a school half term if already in a maintained school or nursery. There is no charge for the service.

Children and young people can be referred if there is any concern about their speech, language and communication, and the Speech and Language Therapist assessing their needs will make recommendations about interventions to achieve the best outcomes. We work in collaboration with children, young people and parents, giving choices about types of support where appropriate.

Parents are encouraged to be involved in their child’s assessment and ongoing care, and we use interpreters to support families where needed. We ask children, young people and families to comment on their experience of the service, so that we can make improvements to the service to make it better. We provide parents 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.

Early Years’ Service

This service is available to preschool children (0 - 5 years), who have problems with their speech, language and communication, or with eating and drinking. All children who live in Kensington and Chelsea or 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, carers, and staff involved in the child's care. The focus in early years is on prevention of communication concerns and on early identification and support of needs.

Therapists 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 of drop-in sessions, including upcoming dates and times, can be found here

In addition, therapists support early year’s practitioners to ensure that children’s centres and nurseries/schools can also help 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 SLT team have developed a new telephone advice service for practitioners who would like any advice from an early years SLT; such as on interaction strategies, accessing training, creating communication supportive environments, and referrals. Further details, including dates and times when the service is taking place can be found here.

A specialist feeding service is available to assess and support children who face difficulties with eating and drinking. When a feeding referral is received the Therapist will contact the family within two weeks.  Support consists of advice and a programme, which is reviewed regularly.

 

Schools Service

Reception Year

The service aims to ensure that the transition between the early years and schools service is seamless for children and their families. SLTs work collaboratively with school staff, and provide resources and advice, to ensure that they can help to meet these children’s needs within the school environment. For children who require specialist SLT support, the service provide direct input to support transition into school at reception age.

Year One and Above

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 ensures that speech and language skills are fostered in 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. 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 additional resource provisions, SLTs work as part of the school teams. The needs of students’ Education Health Care Plans are delivered in the school setting and Therapists work alongside class teams to support the development of communication skills within the whole school community. 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 the borough will usually access therapy and other support at their school.  When this is not available, Westminster Council will work with the school’s borough to ensure a service is provided.

Independent/Private Schools

The service will assess children attending independent and private schools who are likely to have a significant need level of speech, language or communication need, as happens in state schools. Assessment appointments are offered during the school holidays. Additional support and training can be arranged in these settings should the school decide to purchase it.

Independent schools will be asked to demonstrate evidence of how they have tried to develop a child’s speech, language and communication, as we do for pupils in state schools.

16+ Service

For young people over the age of 16 with speech and language difficulties, the main role of the service is to support their transition into further education.

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.

 

Training and Workshops - For Parents or Carers

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. Dates and times for summer term training and workshops will be coming soon.   


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

Makaton is a language programme that uses signs, symbols and speech to help people communicate.

Taster Sessionsthese 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.

Makaton Training for Beginners- this course (run over 4 mornings) is for parents and carers to learn how Makaton can be used to support communication. More details and dates can be found here.

Makaton Sign Sharing (stage 5-8)- this training session is for parents/carers and covers stages 5-8 of the core vocabularly. All participants must have completed stages 1-4 (Makaton for Beginners) before attending this course. More details can be found here


School-Age SLT Phone Surgery

The School Age Speech and Language Therapy Service has introduced a new monthly phone support service for parents, school staff, and other professionals to access general advice (not child specific) from a Speech and Language Therapist.
The Phone Advice/ Surgery may include:

  • Referral via the GP assessment & advice clinic for one off assessment/advice
  • Details of our SLT local offer
  • General advice to support communication development
  • Signing posting to relevant online information to support Speech/Language/Communication Needs (SLCN)

For further details, including dates and times when the service is taking place, please click here.

Training and workshops - For Practitioners

A range of training options are available to schools and early years settings to help support all children and young people’s communication. Further details about the training available and costs involved can be found in this Summary of Training Options document. Dates and times for the summer term training programme will be coming soon.


Early Years Speech and Language Therapy Training Courses

This is a three-part training course offered by the CLCH, aimed at early years practitioners and other staff working with children in the early years.


Foundation Training- this one day introductory course will provide early years practitioners with an overview of speech, language and communication development from birth to five years. More details can be found here.


Advanced Training – Communication Partners: Developing Language Skills in Small Groups: Level 1- this 2 ½ hour course will provide early year practitioners with an overview of how to plan and run language groups to support children’s speech, language and communication development. More details can be found here.


Advanced Training – Communication Partners: Developing Language Skills in Small Groups:  Level 2 – this 2 ½ hour course will provide early practitioners with an opportunity to build on knowledge already acquired from Level 1 to learn about a wider range of activities to support language development. More details can be found here.

 

Training and workshops - For School Staff

The service offers free Learning Workshops to school staff working in mainstream primary and secondary schools in the borough. These are a fantastic opportunity for staff to learn key strategies to support students with speech, language, and communication needs. They are suitable for staff working with children and young people with EHCPs, and also staff working with the wider school population.

The Learning Workshop topics and dates and circulated termly. Previous topics have included: Language for thinking, Lego therapy, secondary strategies, blanks levels, narrative skills for KS2, self-help skills, using colour coding, vocab learning, use of visuals, zones of regulation.

Please see this term's timetable for details of the learning workshops available hereBook your free place by emailing: clchslt.education@nhs.net.

Your school's named Speech and Language Therapist will be able to give further information about the learning workshops and advice regarding which would best suit your setting.

School Age SLT Phone Surgery

The School Age Speech and Language Therapy Service has introduced a new monthly phone support service for parents, school staff, and other professionals to access general advice (not child specific) from a Speech and Language Therapist.

The Phone Advice/ Surgery may include:

  • Referral via the GP assessment & advice clinic for one off assessment/advice
  • Details of our SLT local offer
  • General advice to support communication development
  • Signing posting to relevant online information to support Speech/Language/Communication Needs (SLCN)

For further details, including dates and times when the service is taking place, please click here.

Who to contact

Contact Name: Speech and Language Therapy Service

Telephone 020 7266 8803

Where to go

Speech and Language Therapy ServiceNotes

Westminster, The Medical Centre

7E Woodfield Road, London W9 3XZ

Phone: 020 7266 8803

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm

Bessborough Street Clinic

1 Bessborough Street, London SW1V 2JD

Phone: 020 8102 3501 (early years team)

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Cheyne Child Development Service, 369 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9NH

Opening times: Please contact your local SLT for availability at this location

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