Frequently asked questions
How do I know if my child has a speech and language difficulty?
Speech and language difficulties come in many forms; attention and listening, social communication, pronunciation, understanding, fluency, expressive language…there is so much information out there it can be overwhelming! It is common for parents to have concerns about their child’s communication development at different ages and stages. If you have any concerns then the best thing to do is chat it through with someone – often this can be enough to put your mind at ease and can help you identify the most appropriate next steps. We can provide free over the phone consultation and advice whenever you need it, just give us a call!
How do I know what my child should be doing at their age?
There are some useful tools you can use as a rough guide about what to expect from your child. www.talkingpoint.org.uk has an ages and stages guide from 0-11 years, a progress checker tool and advice on some simple ways to support communication development. www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk also has an excellent leaflet called ‘Small Talk’ giving lots of information about speech, language and communication skills from 0-5 years. This can be downloaded from the ‘Resources for parents’ section of their website. Don’t forget to discuss your child’s progress with their school or nursery who might be able to give you more information about how your chid is doing relative to other children their age.
What can I do to support my child’s communication?
The links in How do I know what my child should be doing at their age? provide some effective basic strategies for supporting speech and language skills at different ages. If you are still concerned that your child may need more specialist support then it is advisable to discuss these with your child’s school/nursery and contact a Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT). All children are eligible for referral to their local NHS SaLT service (please see your local trusts website for information on how to refer). You can also search the ASLTIP website (www.helpwithtalking.com) for local independent providers (including us!). We are more than happy to discuss your concerns over the phone and decide if further assessment may be beneficial.
How do I refer my child for speech and language therapy?
Give us a call! We will discuss your concerns and if it’s agreed that further assessment would be beneficial for your child we will send you a referral form to complete and arrange a day to visit you at home for an initial consultation. (N.B. all children are also eligible for referral to their local NHS trust – see your trust’s website for referral information).
How much does speech and language therapy cost?
This depends on the individual needs of each child that we see. Our initial consultation fee is £85 – this includes a full case history, assessment, next steps planning, strategies, and a short written summary with recommendations. After this we decide jointly with each family what the most appropriate next steps are for their child and agree on ongoing costs from there.
Did I cause my child’s speech and language difficulty?
No. In most cases the exact cause of a communication difficulty is unknown and is likely to be a combination of many different factors. There is no research to say that parenting style has a direct causal link with speech and language delay/disorder, however there is evidence that parental input can have a significant impact on supporting and improving communication skills, particularly in young children.
Is screen time bad for children’s speech and language development?
We know that screens (e.g. TV, iPads) are an everyday part of life and are a necessary distraction at times for busy families! A small amount of screen time will not impact on communication development, however there is some emerging research that over exposure to screens from a very early age may increase the risk of expressive language delay. We recommend no more than an hour per day of screen time for under 3s. Additionally, screen time does not support communication development for children who have a delay, even when the content is educational. The best way to support communication development will always be face to face, two way interactions with your child!
How much do you charge for speech and language services?
We provide a full range of packages from a therapist in school one day per week to one off pieces of work. Our approach is flexible and school centred and we are happy to discuss the needs of your setting and provide you with a quote that matches those needs. Please give us a call or drop us an email!
Do you provide staff training?
Yes – training is a passion of ours! We can provide training sessions on a wide range of topics, including:
- Links between oral language and literacy
- Use of colour coding at the individual, targeted and universal levels
- Supporting communication development in the early years (including school readiness)
- Whole school vocabulary approaches
- And more!
Our approach to intervention is centred on the ethos that strategies are most effective when built in to a child’s everyday learning environment. Therefore close liaison with, and the empowerment and engagement of staff is central to our everyday work with individual children, as well as through our specific training sessions.
Can you support literacy skills as well as oral communication skills?
Research shows that good reading and writing skills are built on a foundation of strong oral language skills. 50-90% of children with speech and language difficulties will go on to develop reading and writing difficulties. We have established whole school approaches with this in mind; developing the two areas of oral language ability that are evidenced to have the greatest impact on literacy – vocabulary levels and phonological awareness. These whole school approaches plus the robust use of colour coding and developing children’s question comprehension and active listening skills provide an excellent foundation for literacy development.
Can early intervention prevent long term speaking, listening or literacy difficulties?
Yes. Research shows up to 80% of children today are entering Reception class without the adequate speaking and listening skills to enable them to access learning. If these children don’t “catch up” with their speech and language before the age of five and a half they are likely to go on to develop reading and writing difficulties. With this in mind we have developed nursery and reception “school readiness” group interventions which, along with our whole school approaches can help those children make accelerated progress and prevent them from falling further behind.
Can speech and language interventions impact on behaviour?
Behaviour difficulties can often be caused by poor comprehension skills, leading to poor self-esteem and feelings of being ‘cut off’. Therefore identifying language and communication needs is crucial to understanding the root causes of challenging behaviour and finding the most effective, appropriate and accessible interventions for the child.
Can we access any advice or services for free?
Yes! We offer free whole class narrative workshops for schools in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. We are also very happy to discuss your school’s needs and find flexible ways that we may be able to support your setting. Please contact us for further information.