We believe that for Speech and Language Therapy intervention to be truly effective it must be continuous across all settings. For this reason our school service operates at four levels or “Waves”.
This model is fluid, meaning that our students are likely to fluctuate throughout the levels during their time at Winchelsea. This will be determined by the Speech and Language Therapists based on the communication needs of the individual student.
Assessment / Progress Review
The aim for the Speech and Language Therapy Team is that every student’s communication needs and provision will be established, clearly reported and met by the provision they are accessing. A student’s communication and interaction provision will be reviewed as part of the annual review process.
Progress reviews will take place at regular intervals to ensure the latest SaLT report and the stated provision is reflective of the student’s needs. A progress report will be written to summarise any changes in their profile.
To enable the Speech and Language Therapy team to use their time effectively, assessments will only be completed when there is a specific need to review a student’s communication profile, needs and provision, this might be because:
- A student has made significant progress, resulting in a change of strengths and needs
- Class/parents feedback that previous recommendations/programmes given are not effective, therefore a student is not making progress when expected to
We use a variety of assessment methods within the department, including formal standardised tests, informal assessment tools and observations. Progress reviews may be completed through discussion with teaching staff to establish whether a student’s previous report and current provision is meeting their communication needs. Where this is the case, a student may not be seen directly by the SaLT team.
Reports will be written after assessment and progress review completion and will contain information relating to the areas of most impact for the pupil. Reports will be provided to parents, class teachers and are included in Education and Health Care Plans.
SaLT intervention occurs at all levels of the Service Delivery pyramid. The level of intervention offered is determined by the Speech and Language Therapist based on the evidence base of which professional has the level of training to meet the communication needs.
At a Universal Specialist Level, SaLT intervention aims to develop the curriculum and support staff to implement therapeutic strategies, approaches and interventions on a whole class or school basis. Strategies that have been effectively embedded in the curriculum following this approach includes:
- PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
- PEIC-D (Promoting Early Interactive Conversations – Dorset)
- Colourful semantics
- Social Thinking Strategies including Size of Problem and Expected/Unexpected
- Total Communication Environment (e.g. Let’s Chat boards, now and next, visual schedules)
- Social Stories
- Attention Autism
- ‘Blank Language for Learning’ Model
- Phonological Awareness
At a Targeted Specialist level, indirect intervention is offered through class-based therapy programmes written and modelled by SaLT for a Teaching Assistant to deliver. These programmes are written for students where the primary communication skill to be worked on has the evidence base to be worked on indirectly and does not require specialist knowledge from a SaLT. Through the universal offer, class teams are trained on communication and have the skills and knowledge to deliver a range of targeted interventions. Intervention that occurs in a natural environment and with adults who work with the student on a regular basis will help generalisation of skills.
At Direct Specialist levels, intervention from a SaLT or Therapy Assistant is provided where the research evidence base indicates that a student’s communication skills can only be improved through direct intervention. This is where the areas to be worked on demand the specific knowledge or skills of a trained Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) or Assistant (SALTA - under the close supervision of a trained SALT).
We encourage any adults involved with a student to speak to the SaLT Team should they have any concerns or questions.
Communication and interaction are not the singular effort of the Speech Therapy team. Instead they underpin everything we do as a school. We recognise that, in order to learn, a pupil must be able to communicate and interact. We also recognise that, as facilitators of that learning, we as a school have a responsibility to each pupil to ensure that they have their communicative needs met enabling them to interact effectively, with ease and to their potential.
As a school we believe that:
- Every pupil should be able to communicate, and be communicated with, in the best way for them.
- The staff should be well trained in the different ways to communicate and feel confident in using sign, pictures and objects of reference to support speech and understanding.
- Teaching, learning and assessment should reflect individual communication styles across the curriculum.
- Our parents should feel supported in managing their child’s communication preferences at home.
- Challenging behavior is recognized as a communication from a pupil, and positive strategies are put in place to improve communicative function initially.
The Speech Therapy team aim to underpin this ethos by:
- Profiling pupils communicative preferences, using a range of standardised and non standardised assessments.
- Being present in class and modeling good practice.
- Providing training that is ongoing, supportive and functional.
- Providing class teachers with strategies to make a ‘total communication’ environment.
- Combining direct and indirect approaches to ensure communicative skill is developed in each individual pupil.
- Providing targets that are functional, relevant and achievable.
- Supporting teachers with assessment where communication may prove a limiting factor.
- Working within both the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist clinical guidelines and Department of Health guidelines.
- Prioritizing evidence based practice.
- Ensuring all therapists are licensed to practice by the Health Professions Council and members of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
- Working with our NHS colleagues, via appropriate referrals, to ensure the pupils of Winchelsea receive the most comprehensive communication support possible.