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 Warrington area.
This service is delivered by a specialist team of staff in partnership with all those working with the child/ young person.
The focus is on supporting children and young people to maximise their ability to communicate and participate in education, at home and in their community. The aim of the services is to support children and young people to reach their full potential and the child/young person and/or their parents/carers will be able to confidently manage their communication.
This service also has an impact on children/young people’s social interactions, emotional and educational development.
This is through:
Where we work
- We offer services in a range of locations including community clinics, mainstream and special schools, other venues in the community and in the patient’s home as appropriate to the child’s 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 before your appointment so that we can support your needs.
Who we see
We support children and young people aged 0-16 (0-19 if attending special schools) with an identified or suspected speech, language and communication needs and those with eating and drinking disorders.
The Team provides a service to children and families who live in Warrington and /or have a Warrington GP and have all other on-going input from Local Authority Warrington Services (Social and Educational).
How to use the service
We have an open referral system: anyone can refer to the speech and language therapy service including parents/carers. Parents/carers must give consent if a referral is being made.
The service referral form must be used. It includes referral information, consent and age specific criteria.
The referral form is available on our website referrals page or by contacting our office on 01925 251389.
All referrals are considered by experienced speech and language therapy staff before being accepted for assessment.
Any referral that cannot be accepted is sent back to the referrer with an explanation or requesting additional information so that the referral can be reconsidered.
The referral form has specific criteria for different age ranges.
Referrals should be sent to:
Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service
Health Services at Wolves
Martin Dawes Stand
Once a referral is received and accepted, parents/carers will be sent a letter asking them to phone the department to make a convenient appointment – there may be a choice of location for the appointment
If parents/carers do not respond within 10 working days to our letter, the child is discharged from the service.
All children are seen for an initial assessment within 18 weeks of a referral being received.
Parents/carers will be advised on activities to implement at home. Information will be shared with the nursery/school with consent.
If the child requires additional therapy after parents/carers have implemented the initial advice then there may be a waiting list. Further activities will be shown to parents / carers and others involved to support the child’s progress.
There is no cost for 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/ eating and drinking difficulties to inform diagnosis)
- Assessment informally through play/observations or more formally with set questions and use of picture books This may also include speaking with others who are involved with the child/young person such as teaching staff
- Treatment, advice and management for the child/young person with communication disorders and mechanical swallowing / eating and drinking difficulties
- Families need to be fully involved in the development of a plan for their child/young person. Parents/carers know the child best and how the difficulty is impacting on their everyday life.
- The plan will contain clear measurable goals and expected outcomes. The goals will ensure regular opportunities to develop the child/young person’s communication in everyday activities.
- The goals will also enable parents and teaching staff to develop their skills in using appropriate communication strategies on a daily basis
- Families can expect coaching sessions with the child individually or in a group, or through a training package for parents/carers and teaching staff
- Signposting to other agencies and services where appropriate and when families consent.
- Speech and Language Therapy advise and provide support and recommendations on technology for use in communication (Alternative Augmentative communication)
- Systems such as signs and symbols may be used where appropriate
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, children’s to adult services, links are made with other services where available to ensure 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. This means the child/young person is communicating effectively in everyday activities and communication difficulties no longer have a significant impact on their development.
The child may still have ongoing communication difficulties however everyone around the child/young person is trained to support them and therefore specialist Speech and Language Therapy support is no longer required.
The decision to discharge will always be discussed with the child/young person, their family and other relevant professionals to ensure that there is an understanding of the reasons for discharge.
Children and young people can be re-referred to the service in future if there is a change in need or circumstances which impact on their communication.
How we communicate with service users and how you are involved in decision making/planning
Communication is routinely face to face, by letter and reports or by phone. Email between parent and therapist is also used with parental consent.
Where possible, parents/carers and child/young person are involved in setting goals on treatment plans /programmes. Parents/carers are invited to meet with the speech and language therapist at school or clinic.
Parents/carers also get a review report or plan to inform of child’s progress. All others who work with the child also have this written information with parent consent. Parents/carers are always invited to contact us if they have any queries about their child and their progress.
Speech and Language Therapy staff will contribute to Education, Health and Care Plans and reviews for children and young people with additional needs.
Where required an interpreter can be made available on request.
We value what you say
We routinely ask for feedback from you and your child/ young person to see how we are doing. This may be a request for verbal feedback, or we will ask you to complete a feedback form.
Families are also requested to complete an Outcomes of Care questionnaire at various stages of involvement.
This information will be treated confidentially, and may be used by the team in order to improve our service.
We operate a Patient Partner Service and we would like to invite families to work with us.
About our staff and services
Children, young people and their families can access expert knowledge in the following aspects of communication:
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 a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check .
Working with our partners
We aim to form a partnership and support others around the child/ young person to maximise their potential.
Evidence shows that the best results are achieved when we work as a team. As parents/carers you are a key part in the team, have a unique knowledge of your child and we value your role.
The Speech and Language Therapy staff provide support and coaching to the significant people in the child’s life.
This enables them to develop and support their child/young person’s communication skills and use strategies and therapy techniques in daily life different environments.
In order to offer integrated, high quality services for children, we share information about the outcomes of assessments and recommended strategies with preschools, nurseries and schools.
This is to ensure everyone involved knows how to support the child/ young person. We may also provide information on attendance at appointments. We feel this will greatly help your child, but it you do not wish information to be shared you may withdraw your consent at any time.
You may find it helpful to view the local offer site for further information about support and services in the area. ‘Ask Ollie’ is the local offer that supports parents and carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and young people with SEND themselves.
The link to Ask Ollie is: https://www.warrington.gov.uk/localoffer/
Ask Ollie is co-produced by Warrington Borough Council with local young people with SEND, parents and carers of children with SEND and SEND practitioners who support these families.
What support do we need from you as parents/carers?
We really value your knowledge about your child and your support in helping your child to progress as far as they are able to
We need you to
- Attend appointments to watch and discuss how to help your child at home
- Carry out suggested activities and ideas at home and in other situations on a daily basis
- Let us know if you have anything that you would like to talk to us about your child’s communication / eating & drinking
Who you can contact for more information
For general enquiries regarding Speech and Language Therapy, specific enquires about a child, to access our training or to make a referral use our online form or telephone us on 01925 251389.
What to do if you are not happy with the Speech and Language Therapy service?
We always try to provide a safe high quality evidence-based service for you and your family.
If for any reason you are unhappy or would like to give us any feedback please contact the department on 01925 251389 and ask to speak to the Team Leader who will be able to discuss and try to resolve any concerns.
You can also contact the Patient Services Team on:
Telephone: 0800 587 0562 (freephone)
Useful contacts/links for families
There are a number of local and national groups that you may find useful which are listed on our website under the resources.