Paediatric speech and language therapy (SALT)

COVID-19 update

Service running via telephone and video calls where possible, with some face-to- face support available.

We are supporting children and young people with Education, Health and Care Assessment Plans (EHCP) predominantly through direct contact via their parent/carer using telephone, email and online video consultations. The therapists are able to provide resources and coaching on how to best support a child’s speech, language and communication difficulties. If feasible, assessment of progress and direct therapy is delivered via a video link. Therapists are also available to local authority colleagues and education staff to discuss individual cases and provide updates and advice as part of a collaborative approach. We are actively working towards reinstating some face-to-face contact informed by risk assessment and priority of need.

Our speech and language therapists are qualified to provide advice and support when children and young people are experiencing a range of communication difficulties such as the ability to understand words spoken to them (receptive language) or the ability to use words to express themselves (expressive language). 

For adults, please visit our adult speech and language therapy pages.

The service works across Dorset in nurseries and pre-schools, children’s centres, schools and health clinics.

Speech therapy also addresses the mechanics of producing words (articulation, pitch, fluency and volume). When children and young people need speech therapy, it often involves working towards milestones that have been delayed. Some need help with multiple features of speech, language and swallowing difficulties.

Speech and language therapists use a variety of methods to assess a child or young person’s needs and determine what approaches will work best and will use fun activities to strengthen areas of weakness. For language, this might involve games to stimulate word retrieval, comprehension, or conversation. For mechanics, this might involve exercises to strengthen the tongue and lips.  It is vital that the supportive approaches identified by the therapist are practiced at home with family encouragement and assistance.  

Education staff at their early years or school setting are also key partners in supporting the child or young person by following the advice and personalised programmes of support provided by the therapist.

If your child is aged under five and you have concerns about the development of their speech, language or communication skills, please speak with your health visitor, GP or local children’s centre, nursery or pre-school. They will make some initial checks, and can refer your child to us for a specialist assessment if required.

For school-age children, we accept requests for our specialist support and advice from schools where support by education professionals has not resulted in the expected progress. Paediatricians and other health professionals may also refer children for assessment and support for problems associated with hearing impairment, cleft palate, velopharyngeal impairment, swallowing difficulties and where a diagnosis of Autism is being considered.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech, language and communication needs, please contact your school, nursery or health visitor. For all other queries, contact our administration office on 01202 443208  or dhc.slt.queries@nhs.net

Ideas to support your child’s speech, language and communication

ican

Talking Point

Afasic

Autism

The Communication Trust

If you need to contact the service directly, please call 01202 443208.

Virtual therapy

Click on the links below to see a variety of speech and language video resources produced by our speech and language therapists to help children, young people and their families and others with activities, ideas and information relating to speech, language and communication disorders and delay.

Physical Health