Warrington Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service: Our local offer for children

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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 with skills in a wide range of clinical areas

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 supporting children and young people to maximise their ability to communicate and participate in education, at home and in their community and to reach their full potential. Self-management of the communication ability is the aim of the service.

This service impacts on children and young people’s social interactions, emotional and educational welfare.

It enables them to develop their ability to understand the language spoken to them and to use language, speech, social skills, fluency and voice to interact with the world around them.

This will include:

  • Preventative focus i.e. health promotion and parent training
  • Helping to create the environment to maximise the child’s current skills, both at home and school
  • Multi-disciplinary working with other professionals in the child’s life
  • Providing advice and strategies, therapy and home and school programmes to enable the child to improve their skills in listening and attending, comprehension and expressive language, speech sounds, social skills, fluency and voice skills.
  • Coaching parents, carers and professionals to support speech, language and communication
  • Enabling the use of alternative and augmentative communication systems (signs, symbols, voice systems) to enable the child to have independence in their lives.

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 meeting 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 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 0-16 (0-19 if attending special schools).

We see all children/young people with identified or suspected Speech, Language and Communication Need 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).

We have an open referral system: this means that anyone can refer to the speech and language therapy service including parents/carers. Education, Health and Social Care professionals must gain parental consent for the referral.

The service referral form must be used.  It includes referral information, consent and age specific criteria.  The referral form is available from our website or by contacting our office on 01925 251389.

Parents who have concerns about their child’s communication skills can make a referral by phoning the department 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 are received and processed at:

Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service
Health Services at Wolves
Martin Dawes Stand
Winwick Road

Once a referral is received and accepted, parents/carers will be sent a letter to ask you to phone the department to make a convenient appointment.

Once you contact the service an assessment appointment is arranged and you can choose from a range of locations.

If you do not respond within 10 working days to our letter, your child is discharged from the service.

All children are seen for an initial assessment within 18 weeks of referral.  You will be advised on activities to implement at home.

If your child requires additional therapy after you have implemented the advice provided then there is a waiting list, depending on the needs of the child.  You will be shown additional activities to be carried out by you and others involved with your child to support their 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)
  • Treatment, advice and management for children with communication disorders and mechanical swallowing / eating and drinking difficulties.
  • Assessment may be informal through play / observation or more formal 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
  • Families can expect to be fully involved in the development of a plan for their 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. This will enable parents and teaching staff to develop their skills in using appropriate strategies on a daily basis
  • Families can expect coaching sessions which may include a defined number of coaching sessions with the child individually or in a group or a training package for parents/carers and teaching staff
  • Signposting to other agencies and services where appropriate and when families consent to this beneficial support
  • Speech and language Therapy advise and provide support and recommendations for 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 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 to ensure that there is 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 with users is routinely face to face, in written format e.g. letter and reports or by phone. Email between parent and therapist is also used with parental consent.

Parents/carers and child are involved in setting goals on treatment plans/programmes and sign them where possible.

Parents/carers also get a review/update 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 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 to see how we are doing. This may be a request for verbal feedback, or we will ask you to complete an anonymous feedback form.

Families are also requested to complete Talk to Us Forms at various stages of involvement:

Children & Young People’s Feedback Form

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:

  • Speech sound difficulties
  • Stammering
  • Voice
  • 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.

We offer coaching/support sessions and groups.

We also offer a comprehensive training programme for parents/carers and professionals that work with children/young people with communication needs.

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 environments.

The service aims to work closely with parents/carers and others, especially those in education, in order to ensure the daily environment of the child is supporting their communication development.

We aim to form a partnership and support others around the child/ young person to maximise their potential. 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 Therapist’s role is to provide support and coaching to the significant people in the child’s life to enable them to develop and support their child’s communication skills and integrate strategies and therapy techniques into the child’s daily life

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 please contact 01925 251389.

You can also continue to get support from universal services such as your GP and Health Visiting or School Nursing Team.

What to do if you are not happy with the Speech and Language Therapy service?

We always try to provide a safe high quality 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)
Email: patient.services@bridgewater.nhs.uk

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 tab.

Information sharing

In order to offer integrated, high quality services for children, all of our Childrens Services work closely with preschools, nurseries and schools.

We share information about the outcomes of assessments and the strategies recommended in order that preschools, nurseries and schools implement the same strategies on a daily basis.

We also inform preschools, nurseries and schools when a parent does not attend an appointment.

This will greatly help your child, but it you do not wish information to be shared you may withdraw your consent at any time.

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