Speech and Language Therapy 

A Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT) supports in two areas: communication and eating/drinking/swallowing.

Communication support can include: understanding language, using language, vocabulary, speech sounds, social communication and use of AAC (augmentative and alternative communication: signs, symbols, eye gaze, communication aids, switches etc.).

Eating/drinking/swallowing support can include: assessment of swallowing, advice/support regarding safe methods of feeding, modified diet, use of thickened drinks etc.

The SaLT works across the whole college and provides individual, small group and in-class communication support for learners. Learners with the highest needs are prioritised to receive individual and/or small group support; other learners may receive whole-class support or indirect support, for example through staff training/upskilling or through communication resources/activities being provided for staff to work on during the college day.

The SaLT works as part of a multi-disciplinary team alongside teachers, learning support assistants, the senior leadership team, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and the college nurse to ensure that learners receive a holistic and integrated therapy approach. The SaLT also liaises with outside agencies where appropriate, for example other therapists and specialists in AAC/access to ICT for communication.

The SaLT provides information, resources, support and training for various communication methods such as:

  • Sign along
  • Use of visual supports such as symbols
  • Different AAC devices including eye gaze, Grid 3, switches and Go Talks.

The SaLT is an Elklan tutor. Elklan are speech and language trainers, and the SaLT completed Elklan’s Total Training Package for Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties. Following this course various staff members completed the Speech and Language Support for Learners with SLD course, and these staff are now beginning the process of cascading this training throughout the college as part of Elklan’s Communication Friendly Setting award. Horizons College hopes to gain this recognition of being ‘communication friendly’ via encouragement of a Total Communication approach across the college and by training/upskilling staff to support communication skills.

Currently eating and drinking difficulties are managed via the community learning disability team’s SaLT, as the college SaLT is not yet dysphagia trained. The community SaLT comes into college as requested to observe and assess learners at mealtimes, writes reports and recommendations based on the findings, and monitors/re-assesses learners as appropriate.

SaLT (ID 1244)