Speech & Language Therapy
Heathlands School has a team of Speech and Language therapists and assistants supporting children to achieve their full potential in speech, language and communication.
The Speech and Language Therapy team will offer tailored intervention to suit each child which may include
- Individual or group therapy sessions, known as Communication Time
- Work in the classroom
- Support for both BSL development and spoken English
- Close collaboration with classroom staff to ensure a focused approach to communication throughout the school day
- Work with families to support the continued development of the child’s skills outside of the school day
- Bespoke training for the wider school staff team
- Involvement in pupils’ Annual Reviews
- Workshops and consultations with parents
Assessment and Intervention
When children join Heathlands, their communication needs are assessed through formal or informal procedures and/or ongoing evaluation to ensure each aspect of communication is observed.
The Therapist will be design therapy interventions to match assessed needs for example:
- play skills
- interaction skills with adults and other children
- active listening and watching skills
- the development of their language in British Sign Language (BSL) and spoken English
- use of voice and accurate lip patterns
- speech reading skills
- understanding of lip patterns
- functional communication skills when communicating with non-signing children/adults
- alternative and augmentative ways to support communication
- feeding and swallowing skills (if needed)
Promoting Functional Communication Skills
It is important for Deaf children to develop the skills to communicate in wider society outside school and home. The Speech and Language therapy team support functional communication through inclusion and trips to a number of settings where pupils can develop their skills and confidence in communicating with hearing peers and adults.
Pupils also follow the evidence based speech and language therapy programme called “smiLE Therapy”, smiLE stands for Strategies and Measurable Interactions in Live English. This programme is jointly delivered by smiLE trained therapists supported by teachers. It helps pupils to develop successful functional communication for everyday situations including when meeting non-signers. It links well with the school’s PSHCE curriculum.
Pupils follow modules on:
- Understanding Deafness
- Developing Skills for Group Work
- Communicating in Cafés and Restaurants
- Supermarket skills: Finding your way around
- Communicating for Independent Travel
- Communicating at Work Experience
- Communicating at College Interviews
Pupils are assessed to see how they communicate in a particular situation then taught the skills they need to succeed using role play and peer learning. Pupils learn to take responsibility for their own communication to self-assess using video. At the end of each unit of work pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate their new skills and confidence in a real life situation.
Experience and research has shown that the “Live English” approach is effective in providing Deaf young people with the functional skills and confidence they need to interact with English speakers.