Therapy is always personalised for each client. Each new client will receive an initial assessment and based upon the outcomes of this, will be offered a carefully designed package of therapy. This will take into account the amount of time and support that family and carers have available to support therapy.
The initial assessment includes:
Identification of your concerns
Discussion of relevant medical and family history
Assessment - typically including a range of standardised tests and non-standardised assessments eg observation, interaction, questionnaires
Discussion of findings and recommendations. If our recommendations include a course of therapy, you do not have to commit to therapy sessions with us unless you choose to. If you choose to continue with a course of therapy with us, communication goals and a therapy plan will be jointly agreed.
Your initial assessment session usually takes around two hours to complete, although further assessment may be required for clients with more complex needs. Following this, a short written report will be provided for the client/parents, summarising the main findings. With your consent, this report will be copied to other professionals eg GP, nursery/school staff as appropriate.
Following an initial assessment, the most common next steps are:
This will involve a specified number of weekly sessions of one-to-one therapy which will last between 30 and 60 minutes, depending upon the particular needs of each client. Every session is carefully planned and will include explanation and demonstration of strategies and techniques that are designed to address a specific area of difficulty. From the beginning of therapy, some tasks will also be provided for you to practice at home to help consolidate and transfer new skills/approaches learnt in clinic to more natural language situations. Courses of therapy run for approximately 6 weeks, but may be longer/shorter depending on a particular client’s presenting problem, the rate of progress and the particular therapy approach used.
After completing a course of therapy, it is usually beneficial to provide a short break to allow a client time to consolidate what they have learned and to use the new skills in their everyday environments. A review session will then be offered to check on progress and to identify any remaining speech and language needs. Following this reassessment, a recommendation will be made as to whether or not you/your child require another block of therapy, a home programme and review, or discharge, and this will be discussed with you.
A client may not require one to one therapy at the time of assessment, but may benefit from following a detailed programme of therapy activities to work through independently at home/school. This programme will target specific communication goals, and will include a number of tasks and activities for you/your child to follow. A review session may be offered following the completion of a home programme.
Before formulating communication goals and a therapy plan, additional observation/assessment session(s) may be arranged, to observe how you/your child communicate in different contexts (eg home/school/work environments, or when using the telephone, talking one to one or in groups). With your consent, further information/liaison with other professionals involved may also be appropriate.
Findings from the initial assessment may indicate that no intervention is needed at that time. However, a later review may be recommended if circumstances change (eg a child’s speech sounds are not progressing as expected, a stammer has returned). This will involve re-assessment and agreement about further speech and language therapy input.
We may recommend a referral to other professionals (for example to a paediatrician, an audiologist etc). If this is the case, you may need to ask your GP to make a referral on your behalf.
Clients will be discharged at the end of an episode of care. This will usually be when therapy is complete and the client’s communication goals have been met. Clients may also choose to withdraw themselves (or their child) from therapy at any time they wish, or put therapy ‘on hold’, for example, whilst receiving a block of therapy through the NHS.