The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Service works across the whole county of Bedfordshire and Luton providing help in both community i.e. health centres, schools, pre-schools and hospital settings. We treat children up to the age of 16 years (up to 19 years in special education), who have a difficulty with communication or swallowing.
The Service is provided in a number of ways, depending on need. This may be for example: individual or group treatment, parent/carer workshops and drop in clinics.
What does our service do?
Following acceptance of a referral (or following a drop in clinic for Early Years children) the Speech and Language Therapist will:
- Provide full assessment of the child’s Speech and Language needs
- Dependent on the outcome of assessment they may:
- Provide and if necessary deliver a defined therapy package appropriate to the child’s need
- Liaise with SENDCo’s, class teachers and support staff regarding the implementation of communication strategies to support the child.
- Provide support and advice regarding appropriate communication targets for the child
- Provide training specific to that child’s communication needs if appropriate
Community Paediatric SLT Team
The Community SLT team is based in Health Centres across Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton. The service provides access via a referral for both pre-school and school age children and above. School age children will be seen for assessment and support in school. The service will assess and where necessary treat children who present with disordered speech and language development and evidence shows that intervention from Speech and Language therapy is needed in order for the child to acquire the necessary communication skills to progress in social, emotional and educational development. This includes children with:
- receptive language difficulties
- expressive language difficulties
- disordered speech development
- a stammer/non-fluent speech
- a voice disorder, eg hoarse voice
Special Needs SLT Team
The Special Needs Team is part of the Speech and Language Therapy Service and is responsible for providing a service to preschool children with complex needs (Child Development Centre/Redgrave Gardens) and to children who have identified speech, language and communication needs and /or eating or swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) as part of their Education, Health and Care Plan who attend mainstream and special schools.
We will provide information and advice to enable key adults to:
- understand the language/communication difficulty and/or swallowing difficulty
- gain skills to support the child at home and within the educational setting (preschools/schools).
We may provide individual sessions and/or group sessions to help develop specific skills and to review progress.
We aim to work collaboratively with parents and other professionals; and to agree a care plan which reflects identified targets to support development/management of the child’s speech, language and communication skills and/or eating and swallowing skills as appropriate.
Early Communication Support Team
The Early Communication Support Team SLT’s are commissioned by Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Councils to work in a preventative role supporting children’s early communication skills. The team are based in Children’s Centres.
- Provide drop in sessions for families in Children’s Centres across Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire to access advice for children under school age.
- Provide early speech and language groups for parents to access with their children in Children’s Centres
- Provide home visits to support the child’s early communication skills (criteria applied)
- Provide training and support to Early Years Practitioners and childminders to enhance their knowledge and skills.
Your Child’s Journey through Speech and Language Therapy
As explained above children may access different parts of our Speech and Language Therapy team depending on their age or speech, language and communication need.
A child will be discharged when they no longer need our service. The main reasons for a child being discharged are:
- The child has improved their skills to the best of their ability.
- The agreed aims of the therapy have been achieved.
- The family or settings feel that they are unable to carry out the agreed activities at that time.
- Communication skills are no longer a cause for concern/priority.
- The people involved with the child have the knowledge to carry out strategies and support the child’s communication.
- The 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.
- The child was not brought to appointments – we will always let the referrer know, and we can support families who may need extra help to attend appointments.
- The 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.