Some frequent questions we are asked about speech and language therapy support:
How is it decided if a child or young person gets therapy and how often?
Many factors will be considered when deciding whether a child or young person would benefit from direct therapy and how often it may take place.
- What impact (if any) the child or young person’s speech, language and communication need is having on their everyday life
- If specialist support is crucial to support the child or young person’s progress
- Whether their skills are likely to develop spontaneously
- What current research and evidence tells us about different therapy approaches and if specific direct therapy is likely to help
- A child or young person’s readiness for therapy, considering;
- Their attention and listening
- Motivation to engage with adult-led activities
- Ability to understand what is expected
- If they will generalise these skills into their everyday life
- Whether the child or young person has put the skills they have learned in intervention into practice, or if they need more time to do so
- Whether the adults around the child or young person are able to put support and recommendations in place at that time
What part do I have in the ‘journey of care’?
We know that speech and language support is successful when it involves key people in a child’s environment. It is crucial that the child or young person gets to practice skills in their everyday life.
Key people in the child or young person’s life have a responsibility to support their development – including speech, language and communication skills.
This might include:
- Following advice that has been agreed together
- Carrying out specific activities with your child or young person on a regular basis
- Adapting activities you might already do, to practice targets
- Using supportive strategies in everyday routines and conversations
When will my child be discharged?
A child or young person will be discharged when specialist support is no longer needed and their care can be managed at home and in the community.
The aim of an episode of speech and language therapy support is:
- To identify the child or young person’s current speech, language and communication needs
- Select key priorities at that time
- Set agreed outcomes
- Ensure support is in place to best meet their needs
Once agreed outcomes have been met it would be expected to move from a ‘specialist’ level of support, to ‘targeted’ and then to a ‘universal’ level, where possible.
This allows care to be delivered closest to home.
Some children may only need to access specialist speech and language therapy support for a short period of time. While others with more persistent and long-term difficulties may need several episodes of care, accessing the service at key points in time as their needs change.
If a child or young person has long-term speech, language and communication needs, these may be supported with ongoing strategies. Sometimes, key strategies do not change quickly and will continue to be appropriate to meet the child’s needs.
However, they can be re-referred if their situation changes and new strategies are required. Sometimes the timing of speech and language therapy support needs careful consideration. If a child is unable to engage in a planned intervention or key adults around them are unable to implement suggestions at that point, discharge will be considered and re-referral recommended when the time is right.
My child has been discharged, how can I get more support?
Be sure to discuss your concerns with key professionals that know your child (e.g. their teacher, GP or health visitor). If you need more specialist help you can refer to us yourself, or through another professional.
Your child can be re-referred to speech and language therapy if:
- Tou have put recommendations in place and feel they need further support
- Circumstances have changed
- You have new concerns
When your child is discharged, sometimes the speech and language team will advise you to contact them again within a suggested timescale. If support is needed at this point, contact the team directly to re-refer.