Speech and Language Therapy
What is Speech and Language Therapy?
Speech and language therapy (SaLT) provides treatment, support and care for people who experience difficulties with speaking, having conversations, understanding social situations, being able to understand and use language, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.
Speech and Language Therapists work holistically along with the other members of the Allied Health Professionals Team (Occupational Therapists, Drama therapists, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team etc.).
Therapy can target:
• Attention and Listening
• Speech Sounds
• Understanding Spoken or Written Language
• Using Spoken or Written Language
• Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)
• Social Communication
• Feeding Behaviour
What we do
We assess the children’s strengths and needs in relation to their speech, language and communication skills using a combination of formal and informal assessment methods.
Following an assessment, all children receive a report, which includes goals and strategies that can be embedded in the classroom and form part of their EHCP & IEP.
At Bensham Manor the Speech and Language Therapy team provides intervention through either direct 1:1/group therapy, indirect class-based support and/or social skills groups. Following a direct block of therapy all children will receive a summary report outlining their progress during the block. We follow a 3 tiered service delivery model which is outlined further below.
The Bensham Manor team deliver parent workshops, staff training across Croydon primary and secondary schools and seminars on a range of topics. Some of the team are also qualified trainers for ELKLAN and have successfully delivered accredited Speech and Language training across Croydon. Over half of Bensham Manor School’s staff have a recognised Speech and Language Therapy Qualification. Bensham Manor is proud to hold Elklan status as a Communication Friendly School one of the few schools in London with this award. SaLT students from local universities on clinical placements are also supported by the Bensham specialist team.
At Bensham Manor we follow a three tiered Service Approach as suggested by Law et al. (2013). This looks like figure 1.
Figure 1. The Three Tiered Service Approach
Tiers are broadly matched to interventions (Ebbels et al., 2017), but focus on child need of Speech and Language Therapy. 3 Tiered models are often used within mainstream settings. As we are a special needs provision the majority of our pupils would already fall within the targeted and specialist triangle within a mainstream setting. Therefore, we have adjusted the tiered model to reflect our working within a specialist provision with higher need for services for all students.
Universal interventions are by definition available to all. This includes training, raising awareness and upskilling of staff and parents to better support SLCN within the classroom. Training includes formal training such as Elklan and specific training on SLCN and how to create communication friendly environments.
Targeted interventions are interventions that may be SaLT led and /or maintained by designated school staff with appropriate training such as social skills groups run by our SaLTA, interview skills training and SPOT groups. This also includes referrals to other services as needed and consultative advice/recommendations for individual students.
Specialist interventions are direct interventions led by SaLT such as direct 1:1 therapy, feeding groups and full speech and language assessments.
Speech and language therapy is school-based and made up of 2 full time therapists and 1 full time speech and language therapy assistant therapist employed by the school. As part of Croydon’s commissioned service with the NHS there is also a part time therapist and assistant therapist. Therapists are involved in assessment, diagnosis and management of speech, language and communication needs as well as eating and drinking difficulties.
Our Speech and Language Therapists are registered under the Health Care Professions Council and hold Royal college of Speech and Language Therapists membership. The SaLT team are supervised on a regular basis to ensure best practice. The SaLT team regularly attend training to keep up to date with current practice and to continue professional development.