1. How do we make a referral?

There is lots of information on how to refer on our dedicated page.

What happens after I have made a referral? 

After a referral has been received, it will be triaged by one of our team and a decision made about what will happen next. If the referral is not accepted, then we will contact the referrer with information of alternative support available


  1. Will my child ever talk?

All children develop at their own rate and there is lots of information on what to expect at different stages of development on this page of our website.

Speech and Language Therapists support children to be able to communicate in lots of ways, not just talking. It might be to learn to use sign language, communicate through pictures or a communication aid.


  1. Why might my child be struggling to learn to talk?

There are lots of things that can contribute to speech and language delays including hearing difficulties, family history of difficulties or developmental delay. For some children they simply need more time to develop along with the right strategies. Parents/carers are often the best people to help their child to develop in their everyday environment.


  1. When will my child be seen and how often will they be seen?

We aim to see new referrals for initial assessment and advice within the NHS guidelines of 18 weeks.  For some children, assessment and advice is all that is needed, other children might need further support from the speech and language therapy service. The frequency of therapy will depend on your child’s individual needs and this may vary over time. Next steps for your child will be agreed with you at their assessment.


  1. Can you see my child at home?

Most children are seen in clinics, pre-schools or school settings, unless there is a clinical reason not to. In exceptional circumstances home visits can be arranged with agreement from the Speech Therapy Manager.


  1. Will I always see the same therapist?

Your child may be seen by a Speech and Language Therapist or one of our Support Practitioners, under the supervision of a therapist. We try to ensure that children are seen by the same clinician during their individualised package of support but this is not always possible.


  1. What support do you offer as a service?

The support we offer varies depending on the child and their communication needs. We may offer assessment, advice, therapy and training around all aspects of speech, language and communication for you and the people who support your child.

You can also find more information on services available for your child on the local offer page:

Bedford Borough

Central Bedfordshire


We have also produced a leaflet on what you can do while you wait for your appointment, which you can find here.


  1. Why is my child being discharged when they still have speech and language needs?

We are always happy to discuss any concerns you have about your child’s package of support. Your child’s package of support will end when they no longer need our service. The main reasons this are:

  • They have improved their skills to the best of their ability.
  • The agreed aims of the therapy have been achieved.
  • The people involved with your child have the knowledge to carry out strategies and support your child’s communication.
  • You or your child’s setting feel that they are unable to carry out the agreed activities at that time.
  • Communication skills are no longer a cause for concern/priority.
  • Your child is being transferred to a specialist centre or other service(s).
  • The timing for your child is not right i.e. they may not be able to cooperate with the therapy at this time or may not be well enough.
  • Your child is not brought to appointments. We can support families who may need extra help to attend appointments.
  • Your child has moved out of area. We will liaise with the Speech and Language Therapists from the receiving service as needed.

Children can be referred again if they need further help.


  1. How will I know when to re-refer?

Some children will need further support after their package of support has been completed. If you feel you child needs further support, you or your child’s educational setting can make a request for this. It’s important to seek re-referral if your child requires new advice for their difficulties or their difficulties have changed or worsened.


  1. We speak a different language at home. How will you do my child’s assessment?

The service will arrange for an interpreter to be present at the appointment to translate for you and where needed your child. It is important it is clear on the referral if you require an interpreter for the appointment as this will need to be arranged in advance.


  1. Who do I speak to in school if I am concerned?

There are lots of people who can help and give advice including your child’s teacher or keyworker, your nursery or school SENDCo, the communication champion in your school, nursery, 0-19 team or children’s centre are also a good place to seek advice.


  1. How to leave a compliment or complaint?
  • Initially, please raise any compliments or concerns you may have with your clinician directly or via email.
  • Alternatively, you can contact us on 03005550606 or via email ccs.beds.childrens.slt.admin@nhs.net, or you can ask to speak to a team lead or the service manager.
  • You can complete our service feedback questionnaire https://www.oc-meridian.com/cambsCommunityServices/survey/ChiEsqParent
  • You can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team who will be able to support you with any complaints or concerns about your experience. The team can be contacted by telephone on 0300 131 1000 or by email at ccs-tr.pals@nhs.net