Speech and Language
Lancasterian School has a team of 3 Speech & Language Therapists providing input across primary and secondary. The Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) team is part of a school wide Communication Team which works collaboratively with teaching staff to address the communication needs of pupils. The therapy team promotes a total communication approach across school using a variety of strategies to support the development of receptive and expressive language skills, including speech, voice output, signing, symbols and tactile approaches. We have pupils using a wide range of Assistive Technology to support their communication and learning. The SaLT team works with Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy to advise on the pupils’ physical access to equipment. Pupils use a range of alternative access equipment including switches, joysticks and eye-gaze to communicate.
Meet the team:
Alli Gaskin, Specialist Speech & Language Therapist has many years experience working with children and adults with alternative and augmentative communication needs (AAC). Alli is employed directly by the school and works mostly with the children who require specialist assessment for AAC strategies, including voice output and assistive technology solutions to support their communication skills and learning.
Charlotte Irvine, Speech and Language Therapist, is also employed by school. She has recently joined the Communication Team and works with a range of pupils providing a variety of language groups, including Social Communication groups as well as individual therapy sessions. She has introduced Intensive Interaction approaches with some pupils as required and supports Alli with the implementation of AAC strategies for some pupils.
Rebecca Lowe, Speech & Language Therapist works in the Nursery. Rebecca is employed by the National Health Service and facilitates the transition process from pre-school/community services into Lancasterian. Rebecca works with Alli for early intervention strategies for AAC as required.
The team also has additional input from Elaine Benson, Specialist Speech & Language Therapist for feeding and swallowing issues.
Mel Berry, Teaching Assistant with specific responsibility for communication, supports the therapists. She works directly with therapists and follows some therapy programmes independently. Mel also supports the communication team with ongoing resource development.
There are additional teaching assistants within school who work directly with the Speech & Language Therapists to facilitate carryover and generalisation of communication skills within the classroom.
The Speech & Language Therapy team provides input through direct therapy sessions (group/individual) and through advice and/or programmes of work provided for teaching staff and parents. Training is an essential part of our role, ensuring that families and teaching staff are aware of communication issues and technology needs.
The Speech and Language Therapy team at Lancasterian is committed to providing the most up-to-date therapy service. We maintain links with the Manchester Universities and regularly provide student placements. We also liaise regularly with other specialist providers such as The Ace Centre North to ensure that our skills are maintained and developed so that we can provide the best possible service to our pupils.
Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT)
What is a Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT)
Speech and Language Therapists (SaLTs/SLTs) have completed specific qualifications to at least degree level. They assess and treat speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to help them improve their communication.
Once qualified, SaLTs may choose to specialise in a specific area of interest. Speech and Language Therapists specialising in Hearing Impairment have postgraduate training, skills and experience additional to the Speech and Language Therapy qualification.
The Lancasterian Sensory Support Service has a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. Children are referred internally by the Specialist Teachers of the Deaf. The SaLT is currently working 3 days across the resource bases.
What might the SaLT work on?
SaLTs will often look at communication as a whole and set targets for different areas that might impact on effective communication or cause communication breakdowns.
This might include working on:
• Listening and following instructions
• Playing and talking with other children
• Understanding what people say to them
• Saying sounds and talking clearly
• Using words in sentences
How does a SaLT work?
Children are assessed and targets are set and shared with the relevant Teachers. The SaLT will consider the student/child's level of hearing when making these targets, to ensure they are appropriate for their developmental stage, but also achievable in relation to hearing levels.
The SaLT can work in lots of different ways and this will depend on the child's current needs.
This might include:
• Regular sessions with the child
• Providing advice for teachers and other professionals
• Providing a programme of work to be completed at home and school
• Training staff, parents/carers and other professionals
• Writing reports and liaising with other professionals