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Speech and Language Therapy

We provide universal, targeted and specialist services that supply specialist assessment, diagnosis and therapy for children and young people with communication and/or feeding/swallowing difficulties.

The Speech and Language Therapy Service is provided by the Black Country Partnership Trust (BCPFT).  Our therapists see children with a range of difficulties including; difficulty understanding spoken language, putting sentences together or communicating appropriately with others, being late in starting to talk, unclear speech or stammering/stuttering, voice problems or swallowing difficulties.

These difficulties may be part of delayed development, learning difficulties, hearing impairment or physical difficulties, e.g. cleft palate, or may be a speech, language or communication difficulty without a known cause. Over 50% of referred children have a primary diagnosis of a communication difficulty and have no other health or nursing needs.

What do we do?

Our aim is to facilitate communication which may be achieved through improvement of speech, language and communication skills, providing alternative means of communication or making changes in the child/young person's environment.

This is to enable them to:

  • Improve access to learning - to achieve full potential.
  • Improve social skills – to form and maintain relationships.
  • Engage and participate in decision-making.
  • Develop self-esteem, confidence and independence.

For children with feeding and swallowing difficulties, our aim is to maximise feeding potential and to reduce the risk of aspiration. This may be achieved by providing safer swallowing strategies, texture modification of food/fluid and/or the recommendation for non-oral feeding methods.

The outcome of this is to reduce hospital admissions, reduce bed days, improve safe discharge and improve health and quality of life.

Where can I access this service?

Children/young people are primarily seen in their educational setting however we provide therapy in a range of settings:

  • Russells Hall Hospital – neonatal ward/children’s ward (dysphagia only)
  • Clinic/health centres
  • Children’s centres/Nursery/early years settings/Specialist nurseries/CAU
  • Mainstream Primary schools/Language centre and bases
  • Hearing Impairment units – mainstream primary and secondary/ASD unit – mainstream primary
  • Mainstream secondary schools
  • Special Schools
  • Youth Offending Service
  • Home visits

How do I make a referral?

We have an open referral system. Any parent/carer can refer their child to the service by contacting us at Brierley Hill Health and Social Centre.  Health Visitors and School professionals can also refer by completing specific referral forms. 

When a referral is received an acknowledgement letter and service leaflet are sent within seven working days. Your child will be assigned to an appropriate team and placed on the waiting list for assessment.

A questionnaire about your child's communication and development will be included with your appointment letter, please bring this with you to your first appointment. 

Assessment

Your appointment will take between 30 minutes - one hour.  A therapist will go through the questionnaire with you and discuss your concerns. They will then assess your child.

Communication development relies on more than just talking, it includes:

  • Attention and Listening
  • Social Interaction
  • Understanding of Language
  • Use of Language (including talking & other means such as gestures)
  • Pronunciation of sounds (speech)
  • Play (for ages 0-5 only). 

We will assess whether your child’s/young person's skills in these areas are developing appropriately.

We may look at some of these areas in more detail than others, depending on the young person/child’s stage of development. We adapt each assessment so that we can gain the best possible picture of their skills and difficulties.  For example; it is recommended that young children are assessed through play as they are usually most relaxed when playing, so are more likely to act how they do at home.

If required, we will also assess other communication difficulties, for example if your child/young person has difficulty with fluency, or a problem with their voice.

For children/young people who have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties, these will be assessed through observation and some specific assessment.

We will talk to you about our findings, and together decide on the next steps.

Next steps

Next steps could be: 

  • Advice and strategies for school staff, child's nursery/early years setting.
  • Advice and ideas for parents to support their child at home.
  • A therapy programme for school/nursery, to be delivered by the school/nursery staff.
  • Direct therapy – group or individual, delivered by Speech and Language.
    Therapists (SLT) or Speech and Language Therapy Assistants (SLTA).
  • For children with eating and drinking difficulties, provision will always be direct input from the
    Speech and Language Therapist.

The therapist may also suggest a referral on to another professional, if needed.  

The service will liaise with any other relevant professionals that are involved with your child, for example, paediatrician, Educational Psychologist, Learning Support Service and other therapy services. For 0-5 years old this will include preschool settings e.g nurseries and playgroups.

Following the appointment, you will receive a written report giving a summary of your child’s skills and confirming what has been agreed.

Contact us

Brierley Hill Health and Social Care Centre
Email: bcpft.PaediatricSLT@nhs.net
Telephone: 01384 321375

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