Schools & Early Years
The Buckinghamshire Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service works in partnership with staff within the following settings:
Settings staff may also be interested in information about some of the following areas that Speech and Language Therapists are commonly involved with. Click on the boxes below to find out more:
Bilingualism refers to the understanding and use of two or more languages. This can be an advantage for many reasons, as it provides children with opportunities to communicate with their extended family and community, and experience different cultures. Good foundation skills in one language can support learning of an additional language. There is no evidence that bilingual children speak later than children who only speak one language. Bilingualism in the family neither increases nor decreases the chances of a child having speech or language difficulties.
Information and advice for parents of bilingual children is available in our handout ‘Your Bilingual Child‘.
Complex Communication Needs
We may see a variety of children and young people who may have complex communication needs due to conditions such as cerebral palsy, genetic conditions, severe epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, ABI (acquired brain injury) (e.g. head injuries) including RTAs and degenerative neurological conditions.
Early Years Complex Needs Team
School Aged Complex Needs Team
Buckinghamshire Speech and Language Therapists have training in working with children with Down syndrome and have access to a wide range of specialist resources. Therapists can also access support from colleagues with more specialist clinical knowledge and experience in the areas of hearing impairment, eating and drinking difficulties, visual impairment and other clinical difficulties which may also form part of a child with Down syndrome’s difficulties.
Our service for children and young people with Down syndrome
Eating, drinking and swallowing
Speech and Language therapists work with children and young people who have difficulties with eating, drinking or swallowing (which are referred to as dysphagia). The signs of eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties may include:
- Difficulty with oro-motor movements of eating, such as biting, sucking and chewing
- Frequent chest infections
- Coughing and choking whilst eating or drinking
- Failure to thrive
If you are concerned about any of the above signs, please contact your GP or Consultant to discuss making a referral, as we are only able to accept referrals from medical professionals for this area of input
Our service for children with eating and drinking difficulties
We work with children with different types of hearing loss including congenital and acquired sensorineural, permanent conductive and auditory neuropathy/dys-synchrony. We also work with hearing children of Deaf parents where the home language is British Sign Language (BSL).
We assess and support children and young people in their homes, Early Years settings, schools and Further Education (FE) colleges to maximise opportunities to develop effective communication within the context of their hearing difficulties. We use a range of communication approaches including spoken language, Sign Supported English, and/or BSL as appropriate.
Find out more about our service for children and young people with hearing impairment
Some children have difficulties learning and using language, that are not caused by other factors (such as autistic spectrum conditions, hearing impairment or more general learning difficulties, although these conditions may co-occur). Children who seem to have more difficulties with language than in other areas of learning and development can be described as having language impairment (also known as specific language impairment, or language disorder). These children may also develop communication skills in a different way to other children e.g. having difficulties producing grammatically correct sentences despite having a good vocabulary.
Find out more about language impairment
Selective mutism is a condition where children can talk comfortably in some situations (such as in the home) but not others (such as playgroup, preschool or school). It is a form of anxiety disorder and is a psychological problem related to fear of others hearing them speak. It is not due to shyness or stubbornness.
More about selective mutism
Social Communication Difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Children and young people with social communication difficulties struggle to communicate with other people, which can affect all aspects of their academic and social lives. They may need help to communicate using a variety of different methods, such as pictures, signing, and/or spoken language. We can help support children’s social skills in a range of areas, such as understanding and following common social ‘rules’ (e.g. how to take turns in a game, or answer a question in the classroom), developing understanding of emotions, facial expressions and body language, and working and socialising with others. Some children with social communication difficulties will have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
More about Social Communication Difficulties (SCD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
The National Autistic Society
Stammering (also known as 'Dysfluency')
Stammering (or stuttering) is a complex difficulty that can vary at different ages, in different situations and for different children. It is relatively common for children under the age of five years old to go through a short phase of stammering, which is often more noticeable when they are under some pressure to communicate. However, it is less likely that older children who stammer are going through a phase. There is good evidence that early intervention is beneficial for children who stammer and referral is advised if a child has stammered for more than a couple of months, or if the child or parents are very concerned.
Speech and Language Therapy for children who stammer
Links and resources
Voice refers to the way we produce sounds for talking using our lungs and vocal cords (or vocal folds). We can provide advice to help children and young people look after their voices. Disorders of the voice involve problems with volume and quality.
Talking Point progress checker
Talking Point progress checker - Click here to go to Talking Point's Progress Checker, where you can check the progress of your child's language development by answering questions about their communication skills.
Bucks Family Information Service
The Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website contains information about services and activities for children and their families in Buckinghamshire.
Buckinghamshire Healthcare Children and Young People's Services
Click here for information about Buckinghamshire Healthcare's health visiting, school nursing, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy services.