Lonsdale Speech & Language Therapy service
The aim of the NHS Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) Team is to help develop each child’s communication and eating and drinking skills. We do this by making sure our targets and advice are a part of their daily routine and linked to their learning curriculum.
The SLT service is commissioned by Hertfordshire County Council, East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Herts Valleys CCG, to provide a school based service to support the development of communication skills thereby facilitating access to the curriculum.
The service follows a 3 tier model of delivery, which recognises that communication occurs all the time in every situation. There is therefore a need for everyone working with, and spending time with children to be skilled in supporting children’s speech, language, communication and eating/drinking needs.
We see pupils from when they enter the school if Speech and Language Therapy is identified in Section 3 of their Statement or EHC Plan. We assess their need and set communication targets with the class teacher. Children may be referred at other times if there is concern from parents or class teacher.
The therapy we provide will depend on a child’s needs. We may work directly with some pupils if appropriate, either individually or in groups. We often support them in the classroom as research shows this is where most progress can be made. We may also support staff to make adaptations to the language of the classroom to ensure communication needs are supported in the best possible way, and to ensure communication goals are integrated into curriculum activities.
We design, monitor and review intervention programmes to be worked on through school staff and therapy assistants. These programmes aim to develop ‘functional’ real-life skills in the context of each child’s everyday activities and the school curriculum and are developed collaboratively with school staff.
We also work closely with the school's specialist Communication Support Team to provide alternative or augmentative forms of communication e.g. communication books, communication aids or signing. Our role is to look at the language levels and vocabulary content in the books and on the communication aids so that a pupil has a language programme that is appropriate to the level of their communication skills.
We contribute to annual Statement reviews by writing reports; these identify progress made over the past year and highlight new targets and general communication strategies to be used at home and at school. . We also contribute to meetings where Statements are converted to Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and in the future will be involved in reviewing EHCPs.
We assess feeding and swallowing ability and contribute to feeding programmes for children with difficulties in this area.
We train parents/carers and school staff about communication and feeding through training sessions based in school. We are also available to provide informal advice should there be general queries about communication.
When a pupil receives a new voice output communication aid (VOCA) we will provide a training session for parents on how to support the pupil’s communication development through the use of their VOCA. This training will usually be held in school but can be provided as a one off session at home.
School staff are trained to support and facilitate the development of all children’s communication skills through the curriculum. The SaLT team will assess children where there is a discrepancy between a child’s communication skills and their overall abilities; children who have unclear speech; children who are dysfluent and stammer or children with eating or drinking difficulties.
We work closely with teaching staff and with any other professionals involved with the child. As a team we actively encourage parents and carers to be involved in each child’s therapy programme, so their needs are addressed across all environments. Parents, carers and other professionals are encouraged to contact us at any time through the school’s main office, class teacher or home school diary.