Speech & Language Therapy
Speech and Language Therapists who support pupils at Woodlands are employed by Livewell SW. Therapists are based at the school during term-time and their advice and support is accessed by a referral system. The school has access to a range of therapists who have expertise in different areas of specialisms.
The school provides specialist assessment advice for pupils with complex needs, working closely with a range of external therapists and advisers. We offer assessment of individual pupils’ communication needs, equipment loans and provide detailed assessments with a multi-skilled team of professionals.
Each child is assessed individually with parents and staff involved in the process, whenever possible. Treatment may involve individual or group sessions or may be in the form of a programme to be carried out within the classroom setting. It is important to involve everyone in helping to promote the child's communication. Regular advice is given to staff and parents about how they can help.
Advice about eating and drinking is provided by dysphagia specialists. A growing number of pupils require support for eating and drinking at Woodlands and staff are trained annually by therapists to provide this at a high quality level.
How Speech Therapists work with Staff at Woodlands
Woodlands provides six days of support for communication development in school each week. This is staffed by two members of the teaching assistant team. They provide support for individual pupils and their work is overseen by the deputy head and the speech therapist. They work with classroom staff in the development of their skills to support pupils’ required communication and language needs. Our communication TAs have specific areas of specialism and have time to develop these skills with therapists. For example, they provide support in communicating with pupils who have multisensory impairment, Intensive Interaction skills, signing support and use of symbols for learning.
All staff have training in the use of augmentative communication approaches which can take many forms at Woodlands.
Signing: The school uses Makaton signing to support most pupils’ communication needs, with some pupils having BSL support or on-body (Cannan Barrie) signing as required.
Symbols: Pupils may use a range of objects / symbols to support their communication and learning. This includes using objects of reference, photographs, line drawings, PCS symbols or more advanced specialist communication devices. Some staff have expertise in Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) and this is used in some classes as appropriate.
Communication Aids: Pupils may use a wide range of Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) to support their communication, from simple Big Mac single switch talkers to iPads and Dynavox aids.