Speech and language therapy (childrens)
What is Speech and Language Therapy?
Many children have difficulties with learning to talk. Some children have difficulty in understanding speech or may be late in using words or making sentences. It may be that your child is difficult to understand and that some words are not very clear. Some of these problems may be part of normal development & disappear as your child gets older. Where difficulties persist or are obvious from an early age a Speech and Language Therapist (or SALT) may be able to help.
Speech & Language Therapists are trained to help people with communication difficulties.
Some examples of communication difficulties are listed here;
- delayed or disordered language development
- speech sound difficulties
- voice disorders
- social communication difficulties/autism
- severe learning difficulties
- physical disabilities, eg cerebral palsy
- a hearing impairment
- maxilla-facial disorders such as cleft palate
- eating, drinking and feeding difficulties
- a head injury
- A SALT is able to assess your child’s communication skills & decide if they would benefit further from our services. As a SALT service, we aim to work in partnership with families to give them the tools to help their child. This is because as their parent or carer, it is you who will spend most time with your child. The therapist will therefore give you, the parent/carer, advice & relevant strategies to help your child’s speech & language skills to develop on a day to day basis. Where needed, the SALT will work directly with your child as well, to show you how to implement techniques and strategies successfully.
- SALTs work in various settings depending on their job. These may include local community clinics, children centres, hopsital children’s centres (based at Pinderfields General Hopsital & Pontefract General Infirmary), and local mainstream schools & special schools.
- SALTs also work with a range of other people - health professionals such as Health Visitors, Paediatricians & School Nurses; teachers and their support staff; and education support services such as the Early Years SEND team, Communication Interaction & Access Team (CIAT) & the Children’s Sensory Impairment Team (CSIT).
- Some SALTs undertake further training to help children who have difficulties with feeding & swallowing. These difficulties are known as ‘dysphagia’.
Your first visit
If appropriate, please speak with your child before your first visit to prepare them for the appointment. It may help them to bring a favourite book or toy to show the therapist. During your first visit the therapist will ask you about your child’s development and about your family so it would be helpful to bring your child’s red book (their health record) with you.
The SALT will assess your child to find out what the difficulties are. This is often done through play but more structured assessments may also be used. They will discuss the findings with you. The SALT will give you some initial advice as to how you can begin to help your child at home & together you will decide upon the next step.
The usual options include:
- Group therapy sessions
- Regular therapy on a one-to-one basis
- Referral on to other specialist services
- You can also view our pathways here
One of the aims of speech and language therapy is to help you, as the carer, to help your child’s communication skills to develop further.
You will be given activities to practice with your child which form a vital part of the therapy process. The rate of progress is often determined by how much practice is done at home, outside of the therapy appointment.
Sometimes it is difficult to remember questions that you might want to ask at your first appointment, therefore it may be useful to make a few notes beforehand.
Your child may also work with a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant.
They are trained to:
- Follows treatment programmes developed by a therapist
- Liaises with therapists and discusses progress
- Helps therapists to plan, equip and run different groups
- Designs, develops and prepares equipment and materials as requested.
Consent and confidentiality
It is useful to let your child’s playgroup, nursery or school know that your child has been referred for speech and language therapy. It will help to tell them what you have been working on and show any work you have been given.
With your agreement, the therapist may contact your child’s playgroup, nursery or school to discuss how best to help them there. Your agreement will be sought in writing and you may withdraw your consent at any time.
If you are unable to attend an appointment please contact the Speech and Language Therapy department as soon as possible.
Messages may be left at the main office on 01977 465417.
An answer machine is also available on this number.
If you are moving house or your child is changing schools, please be sure to let the therapist know.