Speech and Language Therapy
Included in this section is information on:
- Speech & Language Therapy Team at Meadowbank School
- Contact information
- Role of the Speech & Language Therapist
- Role of the Parent
- Jargon-busting - 'Help! I don't understand what the Speech & Language Therapist is talking about!'
All of the Teaching Assistants and Class Teachers are working to support the work of the Speech and Language Therapists at all times, and make up the rest of the team.
Direct line to the Speech & Language Therapy Office at Meadowbank School is:
Leave a message - if there is no answer and we will call you back as soon as we can. Please note that the Speech and Language Therapists work on different days so we may not be available to call you back the same day.
Here is our timetable:
Tuesday and Wednesday
Wednesday and Thursday
Miss Price (Lead Speech & Language Therapist) can be contacted at Global Link
What is the role of the Speech & Language Therapist?
Assessment of your child's needs may involve the following:
- observation and informal assessment tasks
- talking to education staff and other professionals
- talking to you and your child
- formal assessment
You are welcome to join our assessment sessions at school - let us know if you would like to and we can arrange a convenient time.
Your child's communication needs will change and develop, therefore we will need to re-assess skills at various times during the year. We will keep you up-dated on the outcome of assessments.
Every child is different and their communication needs vary, therefore your child's intervention will be individually tailored to meet their needs. This means that your child's intervention is likely to be different to other children in the same class.
When assessment or evaluation of previous goals has been completed, the Speech & Language Therapist will look at the results and set appropriate goals for your child - these will be written on an intervention plan and shared with you, education staff and any other relevant professionals. The Speech & Language Therapist will also collaborate with your child's class teacher to incorporate these goals into their Individual Education Plan (IEP).
If a child is to achieve success with their goals the Speech & Language Therapist, Class Teacher, Teaching Assistant and Parents must work together - one person or professional can not achieve this by working alone.
The Speech & Language Therapist will support your child's communication needs by:
- working with education staff and other professionals;
- preparing programmes of intervention;
- supporting education staff and parents to carry out intervention programmes;
- attending meetings with other professionals;
- attending Annual Review meetings;
- providing training to staff supporting your child;
- meeting with parents/carers;
- assessing your child;
- working individually with your child;
- working with your child as part of a group;
- working with education staff to implement whole class strategies;
- working with education staff to help your child re-integrate into mainstream school or other educational setting as required, or to transfer successfully to high school;
- working with Specialist Speech & Language Therapists when necessary.
Although your child may not always receive direct intervention from the Speech & Language Therapist, we are always working to provided your child with the most appropriate support to meet their needs.
Working Towards Discharge
The aim of the Speech & Language Therapy Service is to enable your child to achieve their communication potential. Discharge will be considered when the Speech & Language Therapist feels that your child has achieved this goal.
If discharge is to be considered, it will be discussed with you, education staff and other relevant professionals involved.
What is the role of the Parent?
Generalisation of skills from one situation to another is one of the hardest things for children to achieve. You can help your child to achieve this by:
- being aware of what your child's Speech & Language Therapy targets are - you will be given a copy of their intervention plan at regular times throughout the school year;
- attend information/training sessions provided by the Speech & Language Therapists - they will help you to understand strategies and approaches that you can use to help your child;
- practise activities that the Speech & Language Therapist send home from school - practise as often as you can and provide feedback to the Speech & Language Therapist.
- think of opportunities for your child to practise their communication skills at home and in everyday activities - your child will achieve greater success if they practise in lots of different situations;
- take opportunities to meet regularly with your child's Speech & Language Therapist - contact the team to make an appointment or to observe a session with your child.
- attend appointments offered by the Speech & Language Therapist during school holidays - this will help your child to maintain skills and give you a chance to meet with the Speech & Language Therapist.
- if your child attends appointments with other professionals, please let us know. This information may be useful in planning the support we give to your child.
'Help! I don't understand what the Speech & Language Therapist is talking about!' - Jargon-busting
Children that attend Meadowbank School have specific difficulties with the development of their speech and language skills, which means that they have found it extremely challenging to develop their communication skills in the way other children of their age group have been able to do.
Therefore we need to modify and adapt the way in which we try to develop their communication skills. This means that we use lots of different strategies and approaches - some verbal and some non-verbal - in order to achieve this.
Some strategies that you might hear us talk about or see your child using include:
Signing - there are lots of different signing systems, for example, Paget Gorman Signed Speech, Makaton, Signalong. Some are used to replace verbal communication and some are used to support the development of verbal communication. At Meadowbank School we mainly use signing systems that support the development of verbal communication skills - there is evidence to show that the use of signing can help to support the development of language skills.
Cued Articulation - a system of using hand gestures to provide a visual representation of speech sounds (or phonemes). This can be useful in helping children to develop speech sounds and literacy skills.
Colour-coding & Shape-coding - many children have difficulty understanding how sentences are put together and the rules of grammar, and they definitely don't understand the terms 'noun', 'verb' and 'adjective'! However we can use shapes and colours to represent parts of language and give the children a visual structure of how sentences can be put together.
Vocabulary strategies - there is evidence to show that if a child is having difficulty learning and remembering words, they will find it much easier if they know lots of information about the word. For example, how many syllables it has? What sound it begins with? Where it can be found? How does it work in a sentence? Can you describe it? etc
BLANKS - research shows that there are 4 levels in the development of a child's verbal reasoning and abstract language skills. The more advanced skills in these levels are prediction, problem solving, justifying answers, and inferencing skills. All skills that are important for developing relationships and for accessing learning opportunities. BLANKS is an approach that helps us to support the development of these skills.
Parent-Child Interaction (PCI) - this a way of working on the development of core communication skills between parents and children, such as shared attention, turntaking skills, play skills and appropriate use of language.
Approaches to speech sound development eg Popat, Nuffield - there are various approaches that may be used for the development of speech sounds. The choice of approach will depend on your child's needs. For example, Popat places emphasis on the development of auditory discrimination skills (hearing the difference between sounds); Nuffield places emphasis on the way in which a child articulates a sound (uses their tongue, lips, teeth, palate etc to say a sound) and puts sounds together.
Visual schedules/timetables- within the classrooms, staff will often use visual schedules or timetables to let the children know what is happening during the day. This may be for various reasons - some children may find it difficult to understand verbal instructions but they do understand pictures; some children may have difficulty remembering and so a visual reminder is something they can refer to; some children get anxious if they don't know what is happening during the day and a visual schedule helps relieve some of this anxiety; some children need to see a visual representation of events so that they know when they day will end. They are used for many reasons.
The Speech & Language Therapy Team will be providing information sessions on various approaches and strategies during the school year - details will be provided nearer the time. But you are welcome to contact us with any queries or to ask for a demonstration of strategies, and we will try to arrange a time that is convenient.