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Speech and Language Therapy Pathways

Speech and Language Therapy services are delivered according to age group.

Information reviewed May 2018

From birth to end of Reception Year at school

Screening and initial concerns

  • Children are screened for potential developmental and speech and language difficulties at routine developmental health checks. These take place at 9 to 12 months and 2 years old
  • Parents should visit their child health clinic or their GP if they have specific concerns

Children with identified difficulties

Parents or professionals can refer children to NHS Speech and Language Therapy Services if there is evidence of significant and/or severe difficulty with speech, language, communication skills or swallowing:

  • Children must have a Merton GP, otherwise they will need to be referred to the appropriate local service by their GP
  • Referrals can be received up until the end of their Reception Year (or up to the end of Year 3 for children who move into the local area and have been receiving speech and language therapy elsewhere)
  • Children and young people who have a stammer or a hoarse voice can be referred at any age

Children of statutory school age

(From the term after their 5th birthday until end of the school year in which they turn 16)

Attending a primary school

  1. NHS Speech and Language Therapy Services transfer children to Merton’s Language and Learning Service if they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) at reception year and continue to treat children until the end of year 3 if they do not have an EHCP.
  2. The school SENCO will contact you if your child experiences any difficulties or delays related to speech, language or communication.
  3. The SENCO will assess your child’s needs, put additional support in place if needed, monitor progress, and adjust the level of support as necessary.
  4. If difficulties continue, the SENCO may ask for advice from Merton’s Language and Learning Service who can recommend a programme of support or offer training to the staff working with your child. Schools buy in this service from their own SEN budget.
  5. If your child has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), schools can request advice from Merton’s Autism Outreach Service (MAOS).
  6. If your child does not achieve the targets and outcomes set by school staff, despite a number of interventions and implementation of advice from outside agencies, the SENCO may refer your child for a statutory assessment. The Local Authority will assess your child’s needs and decide if they require provision to be specified in an EHCP.
  7. If your child has an EHCP, additional funding is provided to the school to top up their own SEN resources specifically in order to support your child.
  8. Your child will be allocated a banding level (funding level); these are published on the SEN Local Offer and may change periodically. Schools add these funds to their own resources in order to deliver all of the provision specified in an EHCP, including speech and language therapy if this is detailed in the plan.
  9. Parents are expected to take a full part in the statutory assessment process.

Attending an Additionally Resourced Provision (ARP) or Special School

If your child has an EHCP and attends an ARP or special school, the setting will ensure that they receive the provision set out in their plan

Young people aged over 16

Speech and language needs will be reviewed before a young person moves to their post 16 setting.

From Year 9 onwards children, parents and practitioners begin to work towards preparing for adulthood: this means that outcomes for your child will be adjusted to focus on work, community access and relationships, health and independent living.

Some young people do not require regular speech and language services as they move towards adulthood as they integrate into mainstream provision.

Often, young people choose not to engage with services in the same way. Therefore, speech and language provision in post 16 mainstream settings will focus on social and employment skills, access to learning materials and/or training for staff.

Mainstream school 6th forms
The SENCo can continue to buy-in advice and services from Merton’s Language and Learning Service, if necessary. Any provision detailed in an EHCP will continue to be delivered by the school.

Further Education Colleges
Some have an on-site speech and language service providing group and individual speech and language services. Other colleges require speech and language therapy services to be purchased separately. This should be detailed on each college’s Local Offer.

If speech and language provision is specified in an EHCP but the college does not commission a service directly, the Local Authority may consider a personal budget/direct payment so that you or your young person can purchase services from an independent provider.

Specialist colleges or units
If a young person attends a specialist setting, the provision set out in their EHCP will continue to be delivered by the setting.

Work-based learning such as a supported internships, apprenticeships or traineeships
Please see the post 16 funding page (under External Links on this page) for more information about speech and language therapy support in these placements.

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