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, who delivered Information Stations, All Aboard Family Groups, Hanen parent workshops and support for the children's workforce.

This website page contains lots of information about our services in Halton. We will update this page regularly, as details change and as we refine plans for a service that best meets the community’s needs.

 

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Making a referral

We have an open request for service system, which means that anyone can make a request, with consent from the person with parental responsibility.

Most requests are made by parents/carers, Health Visitors or the nursery, school, or college that the children or young person attends.

Requests for SLT services are made using an online form above.

All children under 11 years old should have a WellComm screening score included on the request for services.

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, family hub team member, nursery, or school.

What happens after a referral is received?

Following a request, we will:

  1. Acknowledge the request by sending the referrer an email.
  2. Get in touch with parents/carers 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.
  1. 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.
  2. If we cannot reach parents/carers, but the child attends a nursery, school, or college in Halton, we may go ahead and accept the request if parental consent has been given at the request stage.
  3. 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 request and will notify the referrer.

Once we have all the information needed, we will ‘triage’ the request. 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.

We will deliver appointments for children, young people and families within Family Hubs or within the child’s nursery, school, or college. Where possible, we will offer a choice of location, days, and times.

Following some requests for service, 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 a significant need or an Education and Health Care Plan in place, they may have longer term input from our team.

Our team is developing 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 point of contact, providing universal, targeted and specific advice and support.

Members of our team will work with Halton’s Special Schools and SLC Resource Bases, providing and overseeing input for children and young people with speech, language, communication and swallowing 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 specific interventions.
  • Linking with parents/carers to jointly offer workshops, information, and resources focussing on the home communication environment.

We plan to 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 also plan to 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.

We use an online booking system to manage all training events. Here is a link to our events page

https://communicate-slt.org.uk/event-list/

Two members of our team, Lucy Flannagan (SLTA) and Adele Banton (Early Years Teacher) have begun providing services which are  funded by the Family Hub team in Halton.

Over the next few months they will work with colleagues to:

  • Support selected Early Years settings (nurseries).
  • Deliver training and coaching for the children’s workforce.
  • Plan and co-deliver parent/carer groups, workshops and training.

Communicate SLT supports young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) who access Youth Justice Services (YJS) in Halton.

When providing this service, we 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.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Pathway Update

For parents/carers who are awaiting a speech, language and communication assessment for their child/young person as part of the ASD Pathway, you may find the following information useful:

 

We understand that the team at Woodview CDC may have recently recommended you contact us to find out when our speech, language and communication assessment will be carried out (as a diagnosis cannot be made without it).

Please be assured, whether your child’s referral was submitted in June 2022 or March 2023 for example, the below still currently applies.

Although we are incredibly busy, we are making progress in reducing the number of children and young people who are waiting for a speech, language and/or communication assessment – including those waiting for a report from us to be submitted as part of their Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Pathway.

You will hopefully understand that we’ve been asked to assess these children in the order they were referred in (and accepted) on the ASD pathway.

The commissioners and the MDT team at Woodview believe – and we’d agree – that this seems like the fairest way to work through the waiting list.

As at 02 July 2024, please be advised, we are currently booking appointments for children referred into (and therefore accepted on) the ASD pathway in July, August and early September of 2022. 

The date of referral we're using has been shared with us by the team at Woodview; it has not been impacted by the change of speech, language and communication service provider.

How you can help us

If you have moved home or changed your telephone number or email address since the referral form was first sent into Woodview, please get in touch as this is the information we'll be using to make contact with you initially. There are a handful of children/young people whose referral was submitted in June 2022 whom we have not been able to make contact with. If you believe you may be the parent of one of these children, please contact us on 01928 263253 or via email on slt.halton@communicate-slt.org.uk

To ensure we have all the information we require to book the ASD assessment when the time comes, it would be really helpful if you could complete a Request for Service Form here.

If you (or another professional perhaps) have already done this, please be assured next steps sit with Communicate SLT and we’ll be in touch with you in due course.

The Request for Service Form will allow us to do two things (if appropriate).

One) To understand when and where we should carry out the ASD assessment.

A reminder that it could be a while before we’re in touch to book an appointment for ASD assessment – when we do, we will usually call you and send an email if we cannot reach you by telephone.

Two) If your child has wider speech, language and/or communication (SLC) needs which Communicate SLT could support you with in the meantime, the form will allow a member of our clinical team to prepare to call you to dig a little deeper into the information you have supplied.

Once we understand your child’s communication strengths and challenges better, we should be able to agree which of our team is best placed to offer the support you/your child needs and when/how/where it can begin.

How you may be able to help your family in the meantime

You would have been sent a letter from Woodview when your child was accepted on pathway. Within this letter, they recommend you contact some specialists who gather regularly at local Family Hubs – you might benefit from checking back in with these professionals to see if there is any more support you can access while you are waiting. To make enquiries about these sessions, please contact the team at Woodview directly on 0151 495 5400.

We’d also recommend reviewing these links https://localoffer.haltonchildrenstrust.co.uk/training-and-events/ and Supporting Families in Halton - ADDvanced Solutions  (Email: info@addvancedsolutions.co.uk Phone: 0151 486 1788) for additional ASD support in the meanwhile.

Although this doesn’t change the fact there is still a wait for an appointment, we hope you feel better informed about the current situation and next steps for you and us.

If you would like a conversation about any aspect of this update/next steps, please don’t hesitate to get back in touch with us.

If you have any queries, please contact us on the details below:

Email: slt.halton@communicate-slt.org.uk

Telephone: 01928 263253

Please note that we may be slower to respond at the moment as we are receiving high numbers of enquiries and Requests for Service.

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