Frequently Asked Questions about Speech and Language Therapy

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    Cartoon image of four children

    Children's Speech & Language Therapy Service
    Frequently Asked Questions

    My child’s speech is hard to understand, should I refer them to your service?
    My child does not seem to understand what is said to them, should I refer them to your service?
    My child does not speak and use the same words as other children of their age, should I refer them to your service?

    Your child may need to be seen by our service.  Please see the referral section for information on whether a referral is appropriate, as children develop their speech and language skills at different ages.    

    Please also speak to your Health Visitor or School Nurse about whether a referral for a hearing test may be needed.

    How can my child be seen by your service?

    If you are worried about your child’s speech, language, communication and/or eating and drinking skills, then you can refer the child using our referral form.  However, it is often helpful if you ask your child’s school, nursery or Health Visitor to do this on your behalf as they can provide valuable information about your child’s development that your therapist will need.  Some referrals may not be accepted by our service if they do not meet our referral criteria or may be returned to the referrer if the form is not fully completed. 

    Who needs to bring my child to the first appointment?

    For the first appointment an adult with parental responsibility must bring the child in order to give consent for assessment and possible treatment.

    Where will my child be seen by a Speech and Language Therapist?

    For your initial assessment appointment your child will be seen at a Health Centre.  After this your child may be seen in the Health Centre, their school/nursery and/or home depending on their needs.  Your therapist will discuss with you where is the best location for your child to be seen.

    For swallowing difficulties, children are seen in the best environment for a therapist to observe a child’s skills.  This could be at home, in school or in a hospital.  Your therapist will discuss this with you to help you decide.  

    What happens if my child needs Speech and Language Therapy?

    Some children may need a short number of sessions to provide advice to parents/carers, whereas some children with more complex needs may need a longer episode of care.  
    Your therapist can advise you on how much help your child needs, and this may change depending on your child’s progress.  

    If necessary, a plan to support your child’s communication will be developed, taking into account:

    • Your concerns, priorities and views on your child’s needs. 
    • The therapist’s assessment of the child’s needs and the current research evidence on how best to help. 
    • Expectations of all parties about the role they will play.
    • Expectations of the benefits of the intervention.


    Therapy intervention may include:

    • Direct work between a child and Speech and Language Therapist in school, at home or in a Health Care Centre.  
    • A commitment from parents for activities to be carried out at home.
    • A programme of activities for school/nursery to carry out.
    • A recommendation for a training course to be attended by parents/carers and/or school.


    For example, a child with severe pronunciation difficulties may receive support in a Health Care Centre and work for home and/or school to help develop their speech sounds and help them to speak more clearly.  

    How many times will my child be seen by a Speech and Language Therapist?

    This will vary depending on their needs. Some children may have only mild difficulties whilst other children may have long term communication needs. Children are usually discharged from our service when the therapist feels confident that the child is learning language skills in line with his/her general development and that the recommended strategies to support his/her communication are being used effectively.

    The therapist will discuss the discharge process with parents and support staff and explain how to get help in the future if needed. This will be confirmed in a written discharge report.

    Why has my child been discharged?

    Your child will be discharged when they no longer need our service.  The main reasons for a child being discharged are: 

    • The agreed aims of the therapy have been achieved.
    • The child is not well enough to attend.
    • The family or settings feel that they are unable to carry out the agreed activities at that time.
    • Communication skills are no longer a cause for concern/priority.
    • The people involved with the child have the knowledge to carry out strategies and support the child’s communication.
    • The child is being transferred to a specialist centre or other service(s).
    • The child is not able to cooperate with the therapy.
    • The child has not attended appointments or has moved out of area.


    Children can be referred again if they need further help.  

    What if English is not my first Language?

    If English is not your first language and you think you may not be able to communicate well with our staff please let us know this on the referral as a professional interpreter can be booked for appointments.

    What happens if my child misses or cannot attend an appointment?

    We have many children needing to be seen by Speech and Language Therapy so it is important that we make good use of our appointments. If your child cannot attend an appointment then you need to ring the office number printed on the appointment letter or on this website to cancel your appointment.  If you do not attend and do not cancel your appointment, your child will be discharged.  

    How will Speech and Language Therapy benefit my child?

    The benefits of Speech and Language Therapy for children with communication difficulties are numerous, the main reasons are highlighted below:

    • Your child will be easier to understand.
    • Communicating will be less frustrating for both parent and child.
    • Increased self-esteem.
    • Reduction of parent’s anxiety.
    • Better communication at school, resulting in better learning.
    • Improved social relationships.

    What do I do if we can't make an appointment?

    Please call us as soon as possible to let us know you can't make the appointment. We will then try our best to offer you an more conveniet time or place for your next appointment.

    What happens if my child misses an appointment?

    Please ring as soon as you realise you have missed an appointment. Usually if you miss an appointment you will be discharged from our service. This will mean either yourself or another person will need to make another referral to our team and this is likely to mean a longer wait for treatment.