Good communication skills allow us to play our part in family, education and community life.
We work with children and young people from birth to 19 years of age who have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) that require specialist help. Our therapists also support those with feeding difficulties, particularly where they experience problems with chewing and swallowing.
Although speech, language and communication skills can cause difficulties for any child, they are common in children who have other diagnoses such as autism, learning disabilities or cerebral palsy.
Speech, language and communication needs can describe difficulties across one or more aspects of communication including:
- Making the speech sounds accurately so that talking can be understood by other people
- Putting words and sentences together e.g. to ask for something, tell a story or hold a conversation
- Understanding or making sense of what other people say
- Interacting with others e.g. Understanding and using body language and eye contact, using language in different social situations, understanding non-verbal rules of good communication
- Avoiding talking or being reluctant to talk in some or all situations
- Stammering (also known as ‘stuttering’, ‘fluency’ or ‘bumpy talking’): Repeating, stretching or avoiding words or sounds, sometimes with a noticeable physical effort to talk
- Healthy voice production. Including sounding weak, strained breathy or hoarse when talking
Additionally we work with individuals who have difficulties with the movement and coordination of eating drinking and swallowing.
How we support your child
Our friendly and highly skilled team of speech and language therapists and assistant practitioners provide support in a variety of settings. We tailor support from our service around each individual and their needs. We work in clinics, schools, hospitals and clients’ own homes across County Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton.
We aim to help a child or young person develop their best possible communication skills, taking into account their individual abilities and needs. Working together with the most important people in a child’s life we jointly plan an individual package of support to help them move on. When supporting your child we will consider:
- How to reduce the impact of SLCN on a child or young person’s wider life
- If the time is right for a child or young person to progress with support
- The views of the people around a child or young person, including family members and other professionals
- What current research and evidence tells us that can help with specific SLCNs
We help the people around a child or young person put the most effective support in place, where and when it is most needed.
Making a referral
We have an open referral system, this means that:
- Parents and carers can refer their child to us without going through their school, GP or any other service
- Young people can refer themselves to our service, if they are able to make that decision for themselves
- Any professional can make a referral to us as long as they have consent from parents or carers, or the young person themselves if appropriate
Contact us on the contact details found below to talk through any concerns and so we can start the referral process.Children’s referral form
Supporting the wider community
We also help to educate the wider population to understand and promote children’s communication development. We provide training and support to a wide range of professionals who work with children.
We also provide training opportunities for education and health professionals.
We see children, young people and families in a variety of locations. Our teams can be contacted through our single point of access team.
Email [email protected]
Phone 01429 522717
Information on training courses for education, health professionals. students and GPs can be found in our training for professionals web section.