Who we are
The Speech and Language Therapy Service to Schools is part of the Specialist Children’s and Young People’s Service (SCYPS). We provide a specialist assessment and advice service for school aged children, from Reception to year 11 who attend a Newham School. The Speech and Language Therapy Schools Team can also offer assessment and advice for children of this age who are home schooled.
To help school staff to identify and support children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), we also offer a wide range of training packages which school staff can book onto. This training supports the schools to put in place appropriate strategies and to deliver targeted language interventions e.g. Language Enrichment Groups, to help children to develop their language and communication skills within the school setting.
If parents are concerned about their child’s language and communication development they should first talk with the school’s SENCo or Inclusion Manager. They will advise about the language and communication support that is already in place for the child in school. Following this, it may be necessary for the school to make a referral to Speech and Language Therapy for a specialist assessment.
Children and young people with Dysphagia needs are seen by the Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Service. The school aged service covers 5- 19 years and assessment and interventions typically take place in the school setting, but can take place in clinic or the home environment as appropriate.
What we do?
Once we have received a referral and your child is accepted in to the service, your child will be put on our waiting list. When they reach the top of the waiting list, we will contact you and the SENCo at your child’s school to arrange an appointment to assess them in school.
Usually we will observe children in the classroom and / or other school environments as appropriate e.g. playground / soft play room. We may also carry out some assessment in the 1:1 context in a quiet room. We will talk with staff who know your child best and usually ask the class teacher to complete a questionnaire about your child’s language and communication skills in the classroom. We will then meet with you either directly in school or via a telephone or video consultation. Following the assessment we will provide advice on strategies and specific intervention for you and the school staff.
Currently we are only able to provide direct Speech and Language Therapy intervention in schools where the school itself has commissioned us to provide a ‘Buy In Service’ and where the SENCo has prioritised your child for intervention. Intervention may also be provided in schools with Resource Provisions/ Special School (JFK) for children with Complex Needs or ASD. This part of the service is funded by the London Borough of Newham. SLT Interventions are usually delivered in short blocks and are taught to school staff so that these interventions can be provided at other times in the classroom. You will also be advised on the interventions that can be supported at home. Following intervention sessions it is important that the advice is practised for communication skills to develop.
Who do we see?
We see children and young people who have speech, language, and communication needs which are significantly affecting their social, emotional, and learning development. The children who we see present with a range of needs which may include:
- Developmental Language Disorder
- Social communication difficulties, including Autism
- Selective Mutism
- Language Disorder associated with conditions such as Downs Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy.
Criteria for referral for a specialist assessment are:
- The child attends a Newham school or is home schooled in Newham
- The child’s speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN) are impacting significantly on their social, emotional and learning development
- The child has already received some universal (e.g. classroom strategies) and targeted (e.g. Language Enrichment Groups) school-based interventions to support their SLCN. This intervention may have been previously recommended by a SLT or independently introduced by the school SENCo
- The child has not been assessed by a SLT within the last 6 months
- The referral is being made for specialist assessment, not specialist intervention
- The child needs SLT assessment prior to a referral to the Child Development Service for social communication difficulties
- Before referring to the SLT Schools Service for a specialist assessment and advice, the school SENCO/ Inclusion manager must complete a Speech and Language Therapy Pre-Referral Decision Form. This is to ensure that children who are already being well managed at school through appropriate universal and targeted interventions are not re-referred to our service
- For school aged children with language and communication difficulties, GP referrals will no longer be accepted. GPs are requested to ask parents to speak to the school SENCO/inclusion manager to discuss their concerns. A pre-referral decision form can then be completed.
- Following completion of the pre-referral decision form, if a referral is agreed by the SLT, please complete and submit the referral using the SCYPS Universal Referral Form. The referral form can be found using this link: SCYPS Child Development Service and Therapies Referral Form.
- If a child has voice, fluency or speech sound difficulties please refer directly to the service using the SCYPS Universal Therapies Form. Age criteria are up to 11 years old for voice and speech and up to 7 years old for fluency.
The Eating, Drinking and Swallowing (EDS) part of our service provides assessment, review and advice for children and young people with Dysphagia who have a Newham GP.
Criteria for referral for a specialist EDS assessment are:
Children and young people who are at risk of:
- Aspiration (risk of food/drink going into the airway). Signs of aspiration would be coughing, gagging, watery eyes, recurrent chest infections, flushed cheeks, effortful swallow, changes in breathing rate before/during/after swallowing
- Poor nutrition/ hydration or weight loss linked to poor feeding
- Degenerative conditions where eating and drinking difficulties occur
- Referrals cannot accepted where vital information has not been provided
- Referrals will not be accepted for purely sensory / behavioural eating/drinking difficulties (e.g. diagnosis of ASD)
How to contact us?
Our office address, telephone number and email is:
Specialist Children and Young People Services (SCYPS)
Speech and Language Therapy Service to Schools
West Ham Lane Health Centre
84 West Ham Lane
You can also speak to your child’s school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) for further information about our service.
We are based at West Ham Lane Health Centre, however all of our appointments will take place in school.