Welcome to Communicate SLT’s services for
the Borough of Halton
Communicate SLT Community Interest Company (CIC) is a not-for-profit organisation, providing speech, language, and communication services in the North West of England. Our vision (aim) is to facilitate effective communication for all, so that individuals have improved quality of life and reach their full potential.
We achieve this by providing services which support children and young people aged 0-25 years directly and through others. We use high-quality, evidenced-based approaches to maximise impact where they live and learn.
We have been commissioned by Halton Borough Council and NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board to provide Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) services for children and young people in Widnes and Runcorn.
The services are for all children and young people aged 0-19 years, and up to 26 years for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or whose Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) are identified in an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP).
We delivered universal and targeted services in Halton between 2015-2017. You might remember some members of our team, our Information Stations, All Aboard Family Groups and Hanen workshops.
We have included lots of information on this page to answer the questions we think you may have at this stage.
We will add more details as we consult with people in Halton to refine plans for a service that best meets The Community’s needs.
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Our team will be involved in:
- Universal support and training for The Children’s Workforce in Early Years settings and schools.
- Targeted support for children within Early Years settings and schools.
- Specialist level services following a referral. This will include assessment, target setting and therapy.
- As well as services integrated within the:
- Family Hub Team offering support for select Early Years settings and parents’ groups and workshops.
- Youth Justice Service providing assessment, advice, and interventions.
Will services be affected by the change in service provider?
The team who provided services prior to the 30th October 2023 (who were employed by Chatterbug Ltd) have been given the option of transferring their employment over to Communicate SLT CIC, so you may find that the person delivering the services for your child does not change.
We ask for your patience and support during the first few months of this transfer of service as we will need time to support the transferring team members as they adapt to a new way of working. We will also need to recruit further Speech and Language Therapists if required, consult with different groups of people about our service plans and develop systems to support our high quality service delivery. Please be assured that we have agreed the absolute priorities for the service with commissioners for those first few months whilst we take the necessary steps to develop the service to full capacity.
Making a referral
We have an open referral system, which means that anyone can refer, with parental/carer consent.
Most referrals are made by parents/carers, Health Visitors or the nursery, school, or college that the children or young person attends.
Referrals for SLT services are made using an online form, which will be on our main page from the 30th October 2023. Before that date, all referrals should be made using the current form provided by Chatterbug Ltd.
All children under 6 years old should have a WellComm screening score included on the referral.
The WellComm screening tool identifies children as Green (language developing appropriately), Amber (mild to moderate difficulties), and Red (may have significant difficulties). Parents can request for a WellComm screening to be completed by a Health Visitor, nursery, or school.
What happens after a referral is received?
Following a referral, we will:
- Acknowledge the referral by sending you and the referrer an email.
- Get in touch with parents/carers (within 2 weeks) by email and/or phone to:
- Find out more information about your child or young person.
- Explain the next steps.
- Suggest ways you can help the child or young person in the meantime.
- If we can’t reach the parents/carers, we will contact the referrer or the child’s nursery, school or college and ask them to help us reach the family.
- If we cannot reach parents/carers, but the child attends a nursery, school, or college in Halton, we may go ahead and accept the referral if parental consent has been given at the referral.
- If the child or young person does not go to nursery, school or college and we cannot reach the parents/carers to arrange an assessment then we cannot accept the referral and will notify the referrer.
Once we have all the information needed, we will ‘triage’ the referral. This means we will decide what services are best to meet the need.
We will then let parents/carers and the referrer know the triage decision by email.
The online referral form will be added on the 30th October 2023
We will deliver appointments for children, young people and families within Family Hubs, Children’s Centres or within the child’s nursery, school, or college. Where possible, we will offer a choice of location, days, and times.
Following most referrals, the next step will be an assessment of the child or young person’s speech, language, and communication skills.
Where appropriate, children and young people will be assessed within the nursery, school, or college they attend. This allows our team to observe their communication skills in practice and witness any impact on their learning and socialisation. In this case, the perspective of parents/carers and a case-history may be gathered before the appointment via a phone call or an online form.
When the child or young person is not yet in nursery, is home educated, or for those within Youth Justice Service, assessment may take place at a clinic or community venue or in conjunction with a partner service or within the family home.
We aim to facilitate effective communication for the children and young people in Halton. Often this involves working with children and young people’s “conversation partners” rather than the children themselves. By doing so, we can ensure that the everyday conversations, activities, and routines that children and young people experience are successful, positive and a valuable learning experience.
Our work, therefore, will often involve providing information, resources, training and support for parents, carers, and the workforce that support children and young people’s learning.
A small number of children and young people may need interventions to be delivered by a member of our team. In these cases, we will define the targets, the time-period and we will always aim to coach the people in the child/young person’s life so that they can support the child/young person further.
When a child/young person has an Education and Health Care Plan in place, they may have longer term input from our team.
Our team will develop close links with Early Years settings, childminders, primary and secondary schools, and the Virtual School in Halton. We will allocate team members to clusters of educational settings to act as a central point of contact, providing universal, targeted and specialist advice and support.
We will assign members of our team to work within Halton’s Special Schools and SLC Resource Bases, providing and overseeing input for children and young people with specialist levels needs.
Support within all educational settings will focus on:
- Leadership – promoting whole school policy, planning and processes which support Speech, Language and Communication (SLC).
- Workforce – supporting people within school to be confident and competent in working with children and young people with Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).
- Environment – ensuring that interactions, activities, and routines maximise opportunities for learning.
- Early Identification of SLCN and the use of referral pathways.
- Intervention – using WellComm, Talk Halton and other resources and specialist interventions.
- Linking with parents/carers to jointly offer workshops, information, and resources focussing on the home communication environment.
We will also offer regular consultation cluster sessions to educational settings to:
- Provide updates to the group.
- Discuss individual children and young people.
- Share and model strategies and interventions identified through referrals to the service.
These cluster consultations will have a coaching ethos, valuing the collective wisdom within this sector, promoting high-quality evidenced-based interventions, and providing advice, strategies and guidance for individuals and groups of children identified by the educational settings.
We will also attend Educational Psychology Service consultations when the children and young people being discussed have significant Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).
We will provide a rolling programme of training so that the workforce in Halton has the necessary confidence and skills to support Speech, Language, and Communication.
Over the next few months:
We will consult with the Halton community to define the training offer. However, we know that this will support the continued implementation of the Wellcomm screening and intervention tools and the Talk Halton Communication Hub materials (including the audits, toolkits, and language resources).
We use an online booking system to manage all training events. Here is a link to our events page
A member of our team will be seconded to work within the Family Hub team in Halton.
They will then work with colleagues to:
- Support selected Early Years settings (nurseries).
- Plan and deliver parent/carer workshops and training.
- Plan and deliver training for The Children’s Workforce.
Communicate SLT CIC will support young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) who access Youth Justice Services (YJS) in Halton.
When providing this service, we will work closely with the YJS team and other professionals to:
- Enable the identification of SLCNs.
- Create environments which maximise the young person’s current skills.
- Enable the young person to use their communication skills in the best way possible to maximise success in education, personal life and the community.
- Provide advice and training so that the YJS team can modify interventions to account for SLCN.
- Support others to modify their communication and the environment to help the young person.
- Enable the use of visual support systems (signs, symbols) so that the young person has greater understanding of the information presented.
- Maximise the chances of positive engagement and reduce the risk of reoffending/mental health issues.
If you have any queries at this stage, or would like to find out more about Communicate SLT CIC and the services we provide, please contact us on the details below:
Telephone: 01928 263253 (please note that we may be slower to respond during November 2023 due to service transition work)
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