Speech and Language
Some students thoughts on signing at Garston Manor School
" Signing helps me to talk. It helps me talk better. It helps my friends to know what I've said.
I feel happy that I can talk with my friends!
"Signing helps me because I can't speak clear"
Speech and Language Therapy provision into special schools is based upon the 3 Tier Model of service delivery.
The Universal Tier has a focus on prevention and is available to all. It empowers parents and staff to facilitate support and optimise potential for all children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), as follows:
- Provision of advice, signposting and training to parents/ settings to increase awareness and understanding of SLCN and feeding needs.
- The delivery of local and nationally accredited training for the wider workforce, including Elklan specialist courses.
- Provision of indirect communication support in the form of information, advice and training to enable all children and young people to access the curriculum.
- Promotion of communication friendly and linguistically modified environments e.g. use of symbols and signing within schools.
- Input into school feeding policies provided as appropriate.
Targeted Tier 1 (T1)
Interventions include those which have been established with the help of the Speech and Language Therapist or Assistant (SALT/A) which become self-sustaining within schools.
- The provision of specific training and support to school staff to enable them to deliver structured interventions to children with SLCN e.g. maintaining use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems, early language groups, AAC user groups, social communication skills groups, maintenance of specialised meal time programmes.
- Support for the school to monitor the speech, language and communication development of children, offering advice to staff as appropriate.
- Support to identify and overcome barriers to learning thereby enabling staff to differentiate the curriculum and maximise the child or young person’s understanding and participation in day to day activities e.g. advice on establishing communication friendly environments.
- Advice and support for children with managed feeding difficulties e.g. where an established feeding programme is in place or where feeding difficulties can be supported by general advice to school staff and parents.
Targeted Tier 2 (T2) (on caseload)
Interventions include those that require the direct involvement of a SALT for assessment and monitoring but which can be delivered by staff and/or parents.
- Programmes devised by SALT, modelled to teaching staff who then deliver the programme throughout the week.
- Access to groups established, modelled and monitored by a SALT/A if required.
- Work with individual children and groups of children in conjunction with parents, schools and early years staff, who can embed the approach into the child’s everyday environment.
- Review of specialised feeding programmes and advice when children’s needs change.
Specialist (on caseload)
Addresses the needs of those children who have a defined clinical need and where the SALT’s expertise together with the agent of change e.g. parent or school staff member will make a significant contribution.
- SALT/As may work directly with children to provide highly specific and effective interventions in the most appropriate environment.
- The provision of specialist assessment, advice and intervention to support and monitor a child’s progress.
- Specialist training to support schools/settings and families, for example to establish new forms of AAC techniques.
- Intervention will usually take place in the child’s educational environment unless there are clinically agreed exceptions.
- Specialist assessment and management of children with feeding and swallowing difficulties.
Not all children with complex learning needs will require specialist therapy intervention, for example where language is in line with learning levels and needs can be met at the universal and/or targeted level. This is in accordance with guidance from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists:
“Some children with complex learning needs will not require a specialist level of speech and language therapy intervention as their SLCN may be more appropriately met through universal or targeted services and in some cases no intervention is required. This may be the case where their learning needs are not related to their speech and language difficulty.”
(RCSLT Guidance on Quality Standards for Local Authorities and Schools as
Commissioners of Speech and Language Therapy Services in the UK, 2011)
The relationship between the SALT and a school is central to the success of the SALT provision. It is vital that there is good communication between the SALT and the school to enable training, advice and interventions to be effective.
It is expected that a meeting between the SALT, school link representative and School Communication Champion will be undertaken on a regular basis. This is an essential meeting, where decisions are made about which children the SALT will work with in the coming term/ year.
Decisions will be made jointly, with the school link representative taking an active role in planning and prioritising support with the SALT.
New referrals should be made via the school link representative, so that one person in school has an overview and that all referrals are discussed and agreed with the SALT.
When making a referral the following paperwork will be required:
- Speech and Language Therapy Referral form, with signed parental consent
- Copy of most recent IEP/Personal Learning Plan (PLP) showing at least one communication/feeding target
Schools will be required to demonstrate support and to provide some evidence of this together with at least one term of IEP/PLP targets relating to SLCN/feeding difficulties before making a referral to their SALT. In a few cases there may be exceptional circumstances and the decision to refer without evidence of early support will be made in discussion with the link SLT.
Following initial assessment the SALT will agree the future clinical management of the child with school and parents.
Children who may have SLCN, but at a level not requiring direct SLT input will be supported through the Universal and Targeted (T1) levels of provision.
We offer a range of training courses for schools, both locally and nationally accredited e.g. Elklan. We strongly encourage schools to engage in training from our service, to develop the skills to support the many children with SLCN.
Training can be delivered at staff meetings, twilight sessions, or on INSET days.
School Support Surgeries
School staff who are providing ongoing SLCN interventions (e.g. language groups) may access informal advice and support about their groups via School Support Surgery sessions. At least one Support Surgery will be provided during an academic year, additional surgeries may be requested by the school.
During these sessions the SALT will be on hand to give advice about next steps, ideas for new activities and targets, as well as to problem solve SLCN/feeding issues.
Sessions should be coordinated by the school link representative to ensure that teachers or TAs are available to meet with the SALT at a specific time. TAs should bring any plans or record sheets they have for that group or programme to the meeting.