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For latest advice, please visit www.nhs.uk
This website sets out information on Speech and Language Therapy services we provide to young people and children at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust. For general information about child health and development, visit CLCH Health Matters.
Our children and young people's Speech and Language Therapy teams assess, diagnose and provide children and young people with speech, language, communication and/or swallowing problems.
- CLCH paediatric Speech and Language Therapists deliver distinct services in the following geographical areas:
- Brent - Outer West Division
- Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster - Inner North West Division
- Merton - South West Division
We see children and young people who have one or more of the following conditions:
- developmental language disorder
- speech sound difficulties
- language disorder linked to with a sensory, cognitive or physical disability
- autism or social interaction difficulties
- voice disorders
- selective mutism
- eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
Who is our service available to?
Brent (Outer North West Division):
Merton (South West Division):
Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster (Inner North West Division):
The Speech and Language Therapy Early Years Service (pre-school) provides support to children who have Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) and Eating and Drinking Difficulties (EED/Dysphagia) who have a GP within these three inner London boroughs. The school aged SLT service is for pupils who have significant speech, language and communication or dysphagia in Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.
Should you have any concerns about your child’s communication skills in the future, please discuss these directly with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at your child’s primary school.
Local arrangements for children’s Speech and Language Therapy in Merton can be accessed by contacting the locality lead for the service based at The Civic Centre, Morden.
The following services are provided across three inner London boroughs:
Community Early Years Speech and Language Therapy services
Our service is available to preschool children (0 - 5 years), who have speech, language and communication needs. Our Speech and Language Therapy service mostly takes place in clinics, children’s centres, nurseries and nursery classes attached to schools. The support we provide includes assessment of needs, group and individual therapy for children, and training and collaborating with parents and carers and staff involved in the child’s care. Our Speech and Language Therapists run drop-in sessions at children’s centres, for parents/carers to find out more about speech and language needs and our service, and to discuss any concerns they have with their child’s speech, language, and communication development.
The child must be registered with a GP within the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea or Westminster.
- Referral form for Speech and Language Therapy (electronic version)
- Referral form for Speech and Language Therapy (print version)
- What to expect from your Speech and Language Therapy service
Please ensure you refer to the audiology service at the same time or call: 020 3704 6060. NB: audiology only accept referrals from healthcare professionals, please do ring audiology directly if you have any queries about the service.
For information about expected language development and key milestones in the Early Years (0 - 5 years old), please refer to our Monitoring Form.
We work as part of the multidisciplinay teams at the Cheyne Child Development Service and the Neurodisability and Child Development Service at Imperial College Healthcare Trust.
Information on parent/carer workshops can be found here.
A range of training options is available to staff working in early years including early years practitioners, voluntary staff and health visitors, to help support all children and young people’s communication, click here to find more information on the workshops available.
Community Education Speech and Language Therapy services
Our Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) service for mainstream primary schools, secondary schools and colleagues offers dedicated support to parents/carers and school staff to empower them to meet the speech, language and communication needs of all children and young people through a whole system approach. This includes providing advice, training, and information to school staff and parents/carers to help them with identifying and meeting speech and language needs through universal and targeted support, and when needed, episodes of specialist intervention. Read more about our school aged SLCN pathway here.
The education service runs a variety of free training which is updated termly. Please visit the Services to schools website to book your free place. For parent training and events, please visit our communication hub to find out more.
All children in mainstream schools with eating and drinking needs will be supported by SLTs working in the special schools SLT team.
Some schools also buy in additional Speech and Language Therapy for students attending their schools. Some schools buy in SLT support from the CLCH NHS team, other schools choose to buy in additional SLT support from independently employed Speech and Language Therapists. To find out more about what is happening in your child’s school to support them, please speak to their school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).
Special Schools and Additional Resource Provisions
Within Special Schools and Units, SLTs work as part of the school teams to develop the approach to supporting communication within the school setting. The needs of students’ with Education Health Care Plans are met functionally within a wide range of school activities and therapists work alongside class teams to support the development of communication skills within the whole school community throughout the day. Parents are welcome to contact therapy teams within the schools to discuss their child’s communication and interaction needs and current care plan at any time.
School therapists work with the individual school provisions to respond to identified training needs within the school.
SLTs will work with school staff and families to support children with eating and drinking needs where this is required.
Out of borough schools
Children attending schools outside of CLCH or independent schools will usually access therapy and other support at their school.
If a child has SLT provision on an Education Health and Care plan, please speak with your child’s Local Authority EHCP Coordinator regarding arrangements that have been made for them to receive SLT support in their school. The H&F Local Authority EHCP Coordinators can be contacted on SEND@lbhf.gov.uk or 0208 753 1021. The K&C and Westminster Local Authority EHCP Coordinators can be contacted on email@example.com or 020 7361 3311.
Children without an EHCP who attend out of borough schools or independent schools can be referred to the ‘School Aged SLT Assessment and Advice Clinics’ as detailed in the ‘referrals’ section above by their GP.
School Aged Assessment and Advice Referrals
Children and young people who are school aged and also have a Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, or Hammersmith Fulham GP can be referred to the ‘School Aged SLT Assessment and Advice’ Clinics. The Assessment and Advice Clinics are for pupils who appear to have significant speech, language and communication needs which are impacting on their access to the curriculum and ability to integrate with peers. It is anticipated that schools have followed the school aged SLCN pathways before making a referral.
If a referral is required, please ask your GP to complete a referral form and email it to: CLCHT.firstname.lastname@example.org. Referral forms can be found here and will be accepted from any GP in H&F, Westminster or K&C. GPs in other boroughs should refer to their local services.
Following receipt of a referral form, the child/young person’s school will be asked to complete a teacher questionnaire with details of the impact of their speech, language or communication needs. When this information is received and reviewed, they will be offered and assessment and advice clinic appointment if appropriate.
The purpose of this appointment will be to assess their communication skills and provide advice on how to support communication development. A report outlining assessment results and advice given will be written following the appointment and sent to both parents and school.
Children and young people who are referred to the SLT assessment and advice clinics by their GP are generally seen in the school holidays when the clinics run.
Please be advised that we are able to offer an assessment and advice for your child however we are unable to commit to ongoing therapy.
SLT Paediatric Dysphagia Service
Speech and Language Therapists support children who have difficulties with eating and drinking e.g. chewing, difficulty progressing through textures or signs your child may have difficulty swallowing (eg coughing when drinking, recurrent chest infections). We do not see children who are fussy eaters or who have sensory issues around eating and drinking.
This service is for infants, children and young people who have eating drinking and swallowing difficulties with GPs within the inner London boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster. Infants under 6 months- must have a GP in north Westminster and north Kensington and Chelsea, falling within the boundaries of the Woodfield Child Development Service only. Infants under 6 months in Hammersmith & Fulham, south Kensington and Chelsea and south Westminster should be referred to the Paediatric SLT Team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
We aim to see them within 2-4 weeks depending on the urgency of the referral. We offer appointments during standard working hours, the appointment will most likely to take place in clinic or at your child’s school. We also offer some appointments at home or virtually where needed.
Follow up appointments will be made if it is felt your child would benefit from further advice and intervention to keep your child safe when eating and drinking. We will set goals of what to work on and show you strategies to support your child to make progress. A report and care plan with specific recommendations and strategies may be written and shared with key people caring for and working with your child. This will help support your child to remain safe when eating and drinking and achieve targets in a variety of contexts. Referrals to other specialities may be recommended and discussed, for example Videofluoroscopy, Ear Nose and Throat, Respiratory, Gastroenterology or Child Development Service.
We offer training to staff to support the safe management of children with eating, drinking and swallowing needs in schools and nurseries as well as individualised training to carry out eating, drinking and swallowing careplans. Please contact the central admin hub for information.
- What to expect from our service for children with eating and drinking difficulties
- What to expect from a referral to videofluoroscopy swallow study
- Eating, drinking and swallowing referral form
Referrals and queries:
For children and young people (0-18) where there are concerns regarding their eating and drinking please fill in this form to refer (please note we do not see children who are fussy eaters or who have sensory issues around eating and drinking):
Completed referral forms should be printed and/or sent to:
Sites and locations:
Please click here to see a list of sites and locations where paediatric speech and theraphy services are provided in the inner boroughs (Hammersmith and Fulham, Kesington and Chelsea and Westminster).
Videos & Resources for Parents/Carers
Hungry Little Minds
Hungry Little Minds is a campaign launched by the UK Department of Education to help promote what parents/carers can do to support their child’s communication and learning. The campaign offers parents and carers practical tips and strategies they can use every day to develop their child’s speaking, learning, listening and reading. Find out more here.
Creating Communication Supportive Spaces
This video from the Communication Trust gives examples of communication supportive spaces that help support your child's growing language skills. Click to watch here.
Still Face Experiment video
Watch the video to learn about the Still Face Experiment, conducted by Dr. Edward Tronick. This experiment demonstrates the link between a parent/carer's emotional behaviour and responsiveness, and their child's behaviour. Click to watch here.
Videos on Speech, Language and Communication Needs
Developmental Language Disorder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nb0wNjI6jI&feature=emb_title
Alternative & Augmentative Communication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4OL2bnSv3Q&feature=emb_title
Swallowing Difficulties (Dysphagia): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTMMZ-Cr9EA&feature=emb_title
Websites for Parents/Carers
Glossary of Resources
Additude has published a guide on how to explain coronavirus to children with anxiety.
- The National Autistic Society has put together a list of activities that parents and carers of children with autism can try at home, including ideas for keeping children entertained and a list of indoor activities.
- Barnsley Education Inclusion Services have compiled a detailed guide to help parents/carers support their child's social communication and interaction needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Undercover Autism has published an article on coping with anxiety caused by Coronavirus.
- Autism in Context has created a list of 20 tips for dealing with Coronavirus for people with Autism, in the following languages:
- The Association for Child and Adolescence Mental Health have created a podcast on how parents/carers of children with Autism can help address their concerns caused by COVID-19.
- They have also published some advice for parents on dealing with difficult behaviour during the lockdown period.
- CBeebies use Pablo and his friends to help your child understand what it means when someone has Autism with animations
Cleft Lip & Palate
Developmental Language Disorder
- The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne has created https://blogs.rch.org.au/neurodevelopment-and-disability/2020/04/13/face-covid/.
- The Council for Disabled Children have put together some broad ranging information on COVID-19.
- Contact (charity for families with disabled children)
- National Deaf Children's society: the leading charity for deaf children
- British Stammering Association
- Stammering: Tips and information for how you can help support people with a stammer
Tips for Early Years Talking
- Parent Activities: ICAN's Talking Point is a helpful tool for parents who are concerned about their child's development
- NSPCC's Look, Say, Sing Play shows you ways to build your baby/child's brain with simple activities, or watch on Youtube.
- The Communication Trust's resources for parents: supporting every child to communicate as best as they can
- Tiny Happy People: for ideas to develop your child's communication skills through play and interactions
- Afasic: a parent led organisation providing resources, information and support for children/young people with communication difficulties and their families
- Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice
- Communication Matters charity: increasing awareness and knowledge of those with communication difficulties
- LuCiD resources for parents/carers: The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development
- Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
- Twitter: Follow our handle: @CLCH_SLT_CHD, or commuication tips and sharing resources
- Words For Life: the National Literacy Trust's website for parents