Speech and language therapists are registered allied health professionals (a trained health professional who is not a doctor or nurse). They aim to help to develop the skills of parents, carers and other people who support the child in their everyday environments. This ensures that therapy can be non-intrusive, practical and the most effective for the child or young person.
The Speech and Language Therapy Service supports children and young people aged 0 to 19 years who have difficulties with:
Everyone can play a part, sometimes as part of a child’s therapy. We will offer training to parents and other people working with the child. Some pre-schools and schools may already have attended training that will benefit children with speech and language needs and may be able to provide what your child needs without needing to contact to our service.
Not all requests for help will need to have a face-to-face appointment. After a telephone consultation some may get a pack of activities and/or may be given advice and clear criteria to meet before contacting us in the future. Others may be signposted to another service or group, or attendance at a training course may be recommended.
We would value your feedback, please take the time to complete our service survey.
We have links with the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Assessment Team. This is a multi-agency team made up of professionals from the Trust and Cornwall Council.
The team can provide an assessment to establish whether a young person would benefit from using a voice-output communication aid, up until they are 18 years old. Referrals to the team are through the student’s speech and language therapist only.
If you have concerns about a child or young person's eating and drinking skills, fill in a referral form (DOCX, 61 KB) and send completed forms to the Speech and Language Enquiries Team.
We support children with difficulties in the following areas:
If you’re not sure and would like to speak to a specialist speech and language therapist for dysphagia, please call 01208 834 488. A member of the Dysphagia Team will return your call as soon as possible.
Your child will be seen at home, or if it’s more appropriate in their pre-school, education or care setting. Inpatients will be seen in hospital.
The therapist will take a case history and observe your child eating and/or drinking. Following the assessment, your therapist will write a report with recommendations and will discuss sharing this report with any other professionals who may be involved in your child’s care. You and the education or care setting may also receive a mealtime plan to describe your child’s feeding recommendations in detail such as positioning, textures to be offered or avoided.
Depending on your child’s needs, they may be offered a review appointment to monitor progress with the recommendations or the case may be closed with the option to re-refer if required.
Your child’s case will be closed when they have developed their eating and drinking skills to their potential, or when they have the appropriate personalised mealtime plan to ensure that they are able to eat and drink safely.
To get general communication advice, email the Request for Help Team with your contact details and a brief message describing the advice you need. If you need to discuss a specific child or young person with us, complete the request for help form below.
If parental consent has been given to discuss concerns about a child's speech, language and communication needs (except those concerning eating and drinking difficulties), you will need to complete our request for help form to request a telephone consultation with our specialist speech and language request for help team.
Read the guidance below before completing the form to make sure you have all the information required.
Read the request for help prompts (DOCX, 1 MB), so you can prepare the information required before completing the form.
Once the electronic form has been received, your request will enter our waiting list for a call back. There is no need to submit another request for the same child or contact us again whilst waiting for a call back. The specialist request for help team will review the information and arrange a time to call you back for a consultation.
The speech and language request for help team will discuss your child’s presentation and undertake an initial assessment of their needs. The most appropriate next steps will be provided depending on your child and the support they require.
During the call we will discuss the information you have already given us. We may ask you follow-up questions so we can find out more information. This will allow us to offer the most appropriate help to support the child or young person’s communication skills.
After the telephone consultation we will email you a copy of the consultation form. This will include any recommendations we have made and whether the child or young person will be seen for a further assessment session with the speech and language therapy service. If you are not the parent or guardian, this information may be shared with the child or young person’s parent or guardian following our call back.
Sometimes we send work packs for you to complete with the child or young person, and advice for when to request for more help. Sometimes we advise that at the present time, other services can support the child or young person’s speech, language, and communication needs.
Between the ages of 2 to 6 years old it is common for children to have speech sound errors as their communication skills are still developing. Some children speak very clearly from the moment they talk. Others have lots of sound errors that gradually resolve as they get older.
If your concern is around a child or young person’s speech sound development you will need to complete the speech sound screening checklist (DOCX, 1 MB) with the child or young person before completing the form. You will need to enter this information in the form to be able to submit it.
If you have concerns around a child’s speech sounds and their language skills (understanding and/or use of language), select speech sound difficulties (articulation) as the main communication need from the drop-down, to populate the speech sound screening checklist.
We are unable to give any advice or support around a child’s speech sounds unless this information has been received which may delay your telephone consultation.
You will need to complete the speech sound screening checklist in full and submit it. You will be able to save a copy of the form for your own records once submitted.
Input from the children’s speech and language therapy team may be delivered in a variety of ways.
Please note, during the COVID-19 pandemic the therapists are following a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment. This may require them to wear PPE including a mask or visor, apron, and gloves, dependent on situation and maintain social distancing where possible. A copy of this risk assessment can be provided on request.
The most appropriate next steps will be provided depending on your child and the support they need. This may not necessarily be the speech and language team, instead it might involve signposting to other services involved with your child, or access to training for those supporting them.
The most effective way to make improvements is when everyone involved with your child is also involved in their treatment, including their educational setting.
Work with your speech and language therapist may be done in a variety of ways and will be for a specific amount of time depending on what your child needs and will best respond to.
It may include but is not limited to:
There are high levels of demand for speech and language therapy. It is proven that the best results come from everyone involved with the child being actively engaged in their improvement plan. If your child is assigned a speech and language therapist, we need active engagement from home, setting and at times other professionals currently involved with the child.
The service follows a strict was not bought policy that will be implemented when there is a lack of engagement from those involved with the child. If your child is closed to the service, you will be able to make a new request for help in the future if it is felt further support is required.
For a baby or child of any age if you have concerns that the child is experiencing difficulties in swallowing food or drink or difficulties in chewing, contact the speech and language therapy team.
If you are unsure whether your child needs to be supported by the service, read the information below.
To discuss a child or young person’s specific communication needs, complete our request for help form, available in the request for help section above. Parental consent needs to be obtained to complete this form.
Below are some things for you to try before you contact the specialist children’s speech and language therapy team.