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Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Children’s Speech and language therapy – Oxfordshire

We support children and young people who have speech, language and communication difficulties to develop the best possible communication skills that they can: for some, this might be spoken communication, and for others it might be learning to use a communication aid, or an approach based on signs, symbols or gestures.

You can check your child’s communication skills on Talking Point’s progress checker, and see below for detailed information, activities and resources about how you can support your child’s progress: pick the right area for you, and then tap left or right to find the right age range (check age ranges just above and below too, to find the activities that would work best for your child).

What is Speech and Language Therapy?

A Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) supports children’s speech, language and communication development. They do this by:

  • assessing and treating speech, language and communication problems
  • offering advice and support about speech, language and communication
  • running speech, language and communication groups
  • training other professionals and parents in identifying and managing speech, language and communication difficulties and
  • sign posting to other services, groups, support networks according to a child’s needs.

Speech and Language Therapists also assess, treat and advise on eating, drinking and swallowing problems.

Where do we work?

As part of Oxford Health’s integrated service, we work in partnership with the occupational therapy and physiotherapy teams in:

  • Community Health Centres
  • Children’s homes
  • Nurseries
  • Mainstream schools
  • Resource Bases
  • Special Schools

Who do we work with?

In Oxfordshire, Speech and Language Therapists work with children, young people and their parents or carers to provide advice, support and treatment for children and young people with a range of problems, such as:

  • Social communication difficulties
  • Hearing impairment
  • Feeding and swallowing difficulties
  • Language difficulties (understanding / use of language)
  • Selective mutism (when children are able to speak in some settings but not others)
  • Difficulties making the sounds used in speech
  • Stammering
  • Voice disorders

Sometimes these difficulties are alongside other problems such as learning difficulties, but this is not always the case. Children might have these difficulties from birth,  or acquire them later in life (as a result of illness or trauma, for example).

We work closely with early years’ settings, school staff and other health professionals, such as health visitors, school nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians and psychologists.

In Oxfordshire, the Integrated Speech and Language Therapy Service works closely with communication and interaction advisory teachers who offer advice and strategies to schools to support language development and social communication.

What do we do?

Depending on your child’s needs, a Speech and Language Therapist will try a range of different activities and work in different settings. This could include any one or a combination of the following:

  • Reviewing your child’s skills and offering advice
  • Observing your child in different settings
  • Liaising with school/nursery staff, professionals and parents
  • Input to target setting as part of the individualised education plan (IEP) process
  • Informal/formal training of parents/staff/other professionals
  • Group work
  • Individual work
  • Jointly planning activities with school staff
  • Optimising access to the curriculum
  • Creating and modifying programmes of therapy to be delivered by other professionals including families, settings and school staff.

Groups

The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team facilitate speech and language groups across Oxfordshire. These groups are for children and young people with a range of ages, abilities and needs: your Speech and Language Therapist will recommend a group that is right for your child

See below for our list of groups:

Narrative

 This group is a great opportunity for children aged 5-7 to develop a range of skills including attention and listening, developing their vocabulary, storytelling and improving their ability to produce sentences. During the week activities will be based around a central theme, typically a story such as “The Smartest Giant in Town”, with associated activities and games based around this.

Social Communication

 This group is a great opportunity for your school-aged child to develop a range of key social communication skills. There will be activities throughout the week to raise awareness of the challenges faced in different environment, and opportunities to practise social skills such as: meeting new people, starting and maintaining conversations, problem solving and asking for help and working together

Signing

 The Early Signing group is a programme of 6 sessions each lasting 1 hour for around 6 to 8 children accompanied by a parent. The group provides the opportunity to target children’s signing development together with their attention and listening skills, play and interaction skills, understanding of language and spoken use of language. These are the building blocks for language and communication development.

Sounds

This is a 6 week course for children aged 4 to 5 years with delayed speech sounds. Each child is given a target sound and there is a graded programme of activities starting with listening and discrimination games and then introducing the production of the child’s sound in isolation, blending with a vowel, into real words and phrases. We use the Jolly Phonics pictures to play a series of fun games and activities. 

Early Language

 The Early Language group is a programme of 6 sessions each lasting 1.5 hours for around 6 to 8 children accompanied by their parent(s). The group provides the opportunity to target children’s language development – their attention and listening skills, play and interaction skills, understanding of language and their use of spoken language. These are the building blocks for language and communication development. 

Fluency/Stammering Groups

 These groups are run at different points across the year at the Apple House, Oxford’s specialist stammering centre. These groups typically run for one week and aim to develop a child’s fluency through a range of different activities and games. Please click here to learn more about the fluency groups currently available. 

Within Oxfordshire, we currently provide training to school staff, parents, staff within children’s nurseries and early years settings, as well as others.

Training can cover areas range from how to adapt learning environments to support children with speech, language and communication difficulties, to specific skills such as the use of colourful semantics or signing.

Please do get in touch with your named speech and language therapist for more information or to book training, or email us on oxonchildrens.therapies@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk.

We currently offer the following training sessions:

Purple File Training (For those working in Early Years settings)

– For nursery staff working in early years
– Identification of speech, language and communication needs
– Strategies to support areas of need

Green File Training (for primary school staff)

  • For school staff working with children aged 5-11 years
  • Identification of speech language and communication needs
  • Practical strategies to support specific areas of difficulty

Blue File Training (for secondary school staff)

– For staff working with communication and interaction needs in students aged 12-16 years
– Identification of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)
– Understanding the impact of SLCN on behaviour and learning
– Building profile or learning strengths and needs for young person
– Practical strategies to support areas of need

Signing Training

An introduction for parents and staff to signing everyday objects and actions e.g. animals, food and social signs.

Specific training packages

 For school staff in areas such as vocabulary development, auditory memory, and narrative skills.

Early Language Parent training

We offer this to the parents of 2-3 year olds who have been to speech and language therapy, but have no other medical difficulties. The training helps parents use strategies that encourage language development.

Transition Training

We offer this to educational settings every September, when they have a child with complex or special educational needs coming into their care.

Puffin Training

A programme for parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder.

Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support training

SCERTs (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support) training may be offered to settings on an ad-hoc basis, according to need.

'All Things Autism' course for parents

Our speech and language therapists deliver the session on communication in this course, which has a many different professionals providing training.

Special School Training

 This is also offered to parents and staff. This may include training in a range of areas, such as signing, how to create everyday opportunities for communication, using a communication system based on pictures,  SCERTS, managing swallowing difficulties.

Software Training

 This can cover a variety of communication software e.g. Boardmaker, InPrint, Grid 3 and Clicker, as well as alternative and augmentative Communication (AAC) devices, communication books and iPad communication apps is delivered by other teams.

Career Sessions

We offer regular hour-long career sessions for people interested in following speech and language therapy (SLT) as a career: these sessions give general information about what speech and language therapy is, and you can ask questions too. People attending these sessions will:

  • Understand communication difficulties in adults and children
  • Understand what speech and language therapists do
  • Get information about studying speech and language therapy

Please contact menna.hull@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk if you’re interested in these career sessions.

We may also be able to arrange a shadowing session after you have attended a  career session, but SLT undergraduate students will be given preference for these limited opportunities.  In any case, University course admission tutors will generally look at your understanding of the profession and the needs of people with communications difficulties, and your ability to communicate with them, rather than whether you have observed therapists at work.

Further Information

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists – Accessing Work Experience
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists – Careers
Health and Care Professions Council – Information on Degree Courses

Further Reading

• A Career in Speech & Language Therapy (2004) by Jannet A. Wright and Myra Kersner
• The Man who mistook his wife for his hat (2011) by Oliver Sacks
• How to manage communication problems in young children (2002) by Myra Kersner
• Listen to your child: A parent’s guide to children’s language (1989) by David Crystal
• The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (1997) by Jean-Dominique Bauby
• Children’s Communication Skills: from birth to five years (2003) by Belinda Buckley
• Small Talk: simple ways to boost your child’s speech and language development from birth (2013) by Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake

Contact us

Email us on oxonchildrens.therapies@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

Or get in touch with the specific team you’re working with:

North Oxfordshire:
Children’s Integrated Therapy Services
Orchard Health Centre
Cope Road, Banbury, OX16 2EZ
Tel: 01865 904 435 Fax: 01865 262314

Central Oxfordshire:
Children’s Integrated Therapy Services
Cornwallis House
Cornwallis Rd
Oxford, OX4 3NH
Tel: 01865 904464

South Oxfordshire:
Children’s Integrated Therapy Services
Abingdon Hospital
Marcham Road
Abingdon, OX14 1AG
Tel: 01865 904 114 Fax: 01865 261 760

Requesting our involvement

If  you are concerned about a child or young person’s communication, or eating and drinking skills, you can request our involvement if you have the parent’s consent. See below to find the form that is right for you: please note that for children at school, both a referral and a school screening form needs to be completed. GPs should use the LMC-approved proformas, available via the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Please email the completed form to oxonchildrens.therapies@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk, or post the completed form to your nearest speech and language therapy team.

Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS)

PALS is a free and confidential service that can provide support to parents, families and friends about the care of your child

Children & Young People services

Last updated: 1 October, 2018

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