Speech and Language Therapy
At The Chiltern School, we believe communication is central to learning. The Speech and Language Therapists (NHS and School funded) are working together with classroom staff on implementing a joint approach between Speech and Language Therapists (S<), teachers and parent/carers. The approach involves working within a shared communication framework developed from Communication and Cognition Framework (Latham and Miles 2001). The framework is developmental and looks at what the children want to communicate; the jobs they need their communication to do for them, how they meet those communication needs, and what we; communication partners, need to do to support their communication.
S<’s, teachers and family together complete an initial communication assessment which informs teachers on how to best support the child’s communication in the classroom. Functional strategies, and specific communication approaches are embedded into everyday teaching and where identified, are modelled by the therapists in class. There will be a number of children who will be identified through the assessment as needing more specialist interventions, these will be delivered by the therapists and trained Communication Assistants.
The S<’s predominantly work in the classroom directly working with the children modelling communication strategies. Very occasionally they withdraw a child from class, this may be for specific assessment purposes or to introduce a new skill. The S<’s offer training to staff as well as referring on to other specialist agencies such as CASEE (Communication Aid Service for the East of England.)
The framework is inclusive of other approaches and resources which complement its ethos including:
– ‘Total Communication’
– Makaton Signing
– Communication books/boards based on Developing and Using a Communication Book C, Latham, (2004)
– Intensive Interaction
– Colourful Semantics
– Blanks Level of Questioning
– Zones of Regulation
Provision of Speech and Language Therapy services can be described in terms of Universal, Targeted and Specialist input, Gascoigne M. (2006) “Supporting children with speech, language and communication needs within integrated children’s services” RCSLT Position Paper, RCSLT: London.
Universal – All children have access to the universal provision. Key features of the universal provision include assessment screening for all, training to parents and professionals, and support to enhance the environment so all can receive a communication supportive environment.
Targeted – Some children require more support to meet their communication needs. Key features of the targeted provision include training tailored to the child’s needs, modelling of specific communication strategies and specific advice and coaching to significant people in the child’s life.
Specialist – Few children require regular specialist intervention from the Speech and Language Therapist to support their communication needs. Key features of the specialist provision include regular direct therapeutic interventions with the child, regular liaison with families and education staff and bespoke programmes of intervention.
At the Chiltern School this provision looks like the following:
- Assessment including suggested targets and recommendations to support the child’s communication in the classroom and at home.
- Implementation of the Classroom Environment Package.
With the above, the environment will be able to meet the child’s communication needs.
- Training on specific interventions for the child.
- Modelling strategies in the classroom.
- Support target setting and implementation of the targets in the classroom.
- Support differentiating activities for the child.
- Specialist Package Interventions
I can sense the energy of the teaching staff. It feels like the kind of school where my child will thrive rather than stagnate/plod along.