The service will let you know which team is most appropriate for your child to see at their first appointment.

Your child's speech, language and communication skills will be assessed by the speech and language therapist. This might be through a combination of formal or informal assessment, observation, and discussion with parents and others involved with the child or young person, such as teachers and child minders.

Once a referral is received and accepted, the following happens:

  • We ask the parents to contact the service within two weeks to arrange a suitable date and time for the appointment
  • Once contact with the service has been made a suitable appointment will be offered within six weeks of the referral being accepted
  • The appointment will be confirmed in writing and parents will be sent a case history form and patient registration form to complete and bring with them to the appointment.
  • After the appointment, a report is written including the findings and outcomes from the appointment and a care plan, target and strategy.

If parents do not contact the service to arrange an appointment within two weeks, the child is discharged and a letter is sent to the parent and the referrer to let them know. Similarly, your child will be discharged, if you do not attend the appointment and do not contact us to let us know you can't make it.

If you cannot attend the appointment or require an interpreter, please contact the CITS advice on 01895 488 200 or email and we can rearrange the appointment to another date and time and/or book an interpreter.

The appointments last between 45 and 60 minutes. If you are referred to the Child Development Centre (CDC) for the appointment, please allow plenty of time for parking.

During the appointment the therapist will:

  • Ask about your child's development so far and discuss any worries you have
  • Watch, listen to and play with your child
  • They may watch your child eating and drinking
  • Talk with you about child's speech and language development and/or eating and drinking skills based on what was observed during the appointment
  • Agree the next steps and a care plan with you for your child.

You can expect the assessment to run as follows:

  • You and your child will be given a chance to settle and feel at ease. There will be activities set up for you and your child. There may also be other families in your assessment
  • The therapist will talk to you about your child's general development, discuss why your child has been referred, how they communicate with you and other people and any concerns you have
  • The therapist will observe your child playing and may join in, if your child is happy for them to do so
  • In the observation, the therapist will assess what your child understands and is saying through play and then discuss that with you
  • The therapist may use books and pictures with your child, as part of the assessment.

Once the assessment is finished, the therapist will explain whether your child needs speech and language therapy and what they think would be the best therapy for your child. You will also be given a chance to put forward your views. The next steps will then be agreed. This will be your child's care plan.

Parents are expected to be heavily involved in their child's therapy because they are with them everyday. The therapist will give you ideas of what you can do at home to help your child. It is important that you follow this advice and start to make the small changes that are suggested because it will really help develop their child's speech and language skills.

After the assessment, the speech and language therapist will write a report. This report will contain the following information:

  • Your child's current speech, language and communication needs
  • A description of what will happen next (the care plan)
  • Advice on how you can help your child at home until the next therapy sessions.

This report will be sent to:

  • You, the parents
  • Your GP
  • The person who referred your child to the team
  • Your child's nursery or school
  • Any other professional working with your child.

We will ask for your permission before sending the report to the nursery/school and other professionals. It will be important for the nursery/school to receive this report so that they can follow the same activities for your child at school.

  • Group therapy
  • Joint therapy sessions with other members of the disciplinary team
  • A programme of activities for home and nursery
  • Phone or clinic review of speech and language and/or eating and drinking skills at an agreed time scale.

The next step may include discharge if the team believe no further input is required.

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