What the Speech and Language Therapy Service does
Our aim is to provide a high quality Speech and Language Therapy service to children and young people with speech, language and communication difficulties and/or eating and drinking difficulties in the St Helens area.
This service is delivered by a specialist team of staff with skills in a wide range of clinical areas.
The Speech and Language Therapy Team support children and young people across the borough with services tailored to meet the communication needs of those facing different types of challenges.
Staff work closely with the entire children’s workforce in the private and voluntary sector, preschool, mainstream and specialist education provisions to enhance the interaction and communication skills of children and young people with communication difficulties.
The focus is on maximising a child or young person’s participation in education, at home and in their community and on minimising the disability. Self-management of the communication ability is the aim of the service.
Where we work
We offer services in a number of different locations across all of St Helens.
Services are provided in the community ensuring that children (and parents) are treated closer to home where appropriate.
This could be at Community Clinic, Childrens Centres, Mainstream School, Special School, Nursery/pre-school, home, or any other community setting as appropriate to meeting child and family’s needs.
The majority of buildings we use are fully accessible e.g. they have wheelchair access – however if you have concerns about accessibility, please contact us to let us know about them before your appointment so that we can accommodate any of your needs.
Who we see
We support children and young people aged 0-19. We see all children/young people with any type of identified or suspected Speech, Language and Communication Need.
The Team provides a service to children and families residing in or being educated in the St Helens Borough, or with a St Helens GP.
How to use the service
We have an open referral process, this means that anyone can refer to the speech and language therapy service.
This may include professionals working with the child or young person, parents or carers, GPs or education staff. Education, Health and Social Care professionals must gain parental consent for the referral and complete the service referral form.
Parents who have concerns about their child’s communication skills can make a referral by phoning 01744 646 548. Referrals are received and processed at Speech and
Language Therapy, Alexandra Business Park, Prescot Road, St Helens WA10 3TP.
Once a referral is received, parents/carers will receive a letter to confirm that the referral has been received. This letter will also ask you to contact the department to confirm that you still need an appointment for your child/young person. If there is no response within 10 working days, your child/young person will be discharged from the service.
The service has a waiting list for first appointments and all children are seen within 18 weeks of referral.
There is no cost to use the Speech and Language Therapy service.
How decisions are made about how we work with families
What families can expect from Speech and Language Therapy:
- Expert assessment including in depth collation of information about your child or young person’s communication skills to inform diagnosis.
- To be fully involved in the development of a management plan for your child
- That the plan will contain clear measurable goals and expected outcomes
- That the goals will link to communication strategies for families and others to implement on a daily basis
- Families can expect communication programs that they and relevant others, such as nurseries and schools, are to implement on a daily basis.
- Families can expect that they and important others, such as teaching staff, develop their own skills in using the appropriate strategies to support their child on a daily basis.
- Families can expect coaching/training form the service: this may include a defined number of coaching sessions with the child individually or in a group or a training package for parents and teaching staff only.
- That all who work with the child have written information which is always copied to the family
- That Speech and Language Therapy staff will contribute to Education, Health and Care plans and reviews for children and young people with additional needs
- That we will signpost you to other agencies and services where appropriate and when families consent to this beneficial support
- That Speech and Language Therapy advise and provide support for technology where relevant and clinically appropriate
- That where relevant, goals and management plans are provided jointly in order to work in a holistic and meaningful way with families.
Moving on – transitions and discharge
When the service is involved at times of transition such as at school entry or moving from primary to secondary school, links are made with other services to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.
When appropriate advice, coaching and/or intervention has been completed, the service will discharge the child.
This is likely to be at the point where:
- Communication skills are at an optimum level and the child or young person’s parents and teaching staff are trained to maintain the functional skills acquired and to ensure they are supported in an appropriate learning environment.
- Communication difficulties no longer have significant impact upon child’s development.
The decision to discharge to the support of all others in the child’s life will always be discussed with the child or young person, their family and other relevant professionals.
How we communicate with service users and how you are involved in decision making/planning
Communication with users is routinely face to face, in written format e.g. letter and reports, by phone and text messaging. Email between parent and therapist is also used with parental consent.
Parents/carers and the child are involved in setting goals and with consent, all those involved with the child or young person will get update reports regarding progress. Parents are always invited to contact us if they have any queries about their child and their progress.
All who work with the child have written information which is always copied to the family
SLT staff will contribute to Education, Health and Care plans and review for children and young people with additional needs.
Where required, interpreters can be requested.
We value what you say
We routinely ask for feedback from you to see how we are doing.
This may be a request for verbal feedback, or we will ask you to complete an online feedback form.
Families are also requested to complete Talk to Us Forms at various stages of involvement.
About our staff and services
Children, young people and their families can access expert knowledge in the following aspects of communication:
- Speech sound difficulties
- Language delay and language disorder
- Eating and drinking difficulties, of a mechanical nature.
- Social communication difficulties.
- Communication difficulties within the context of additional and/or complex needs.
- Implementation of augmentative and alternative communication skills.
All members of staff receive training in disability awareness and undergo regular supervision and clinical training to maintain their skills and develop new expertise. Every member of the team has an up to date DBS check.
We deliver a range of services that you can access for you and your child/young person. This includes, written advice leaflets, coaching/support sessions, groups, and drop in sessions.
We provide training and development to the wider children’s workforce to establish communication and language friendly environments.
Working with our partners
Evidence shows that the best results are achieved when we work with those in daily contact with the child and young person.
This enables those around him / her to promote skills to their full potential in a variety of meaningful environments.
For us this means working with a variety of settings and with a variety of other people including parents and professionals.
We aim to form a partnership with families and professionals to support others to maximise their child’s potential.
Parents are a significant member of the team who hold a unique insight into their child and whose contribution we value.
Our role as Speech and Language Therapists is to provide support and coaching to the significant people in the child’s life to enable them to develop the child’s communication skills.
Who you can contact for more information
For general enquiries regarding Speech and Language Therapy or to make a referral – contact our admin team on 01744 646 548.
Our Patient Services is a point of contact for families seeking advice or information about services or to raise issues or concerns.
You can contact the team on 0800 587 0562.
SEN – The Local Offer