Is speech and language therapy available on the NHS?
Yes, and this is free of charge. You can refer your child directly to the NHS Speech and Language Therapy Service in your area. Alternatively, ask your GP, a Health Visitor or education staff about a referral.
My health visitor has referred my child to our local NHS Speech and Language Therapy service but there is a long waiting list. Can we see an independent Speech and Language Therapist while we wait?
I can usually arrange to see your child by the following week and provide an assessment and input if required while you are waiting for your NHS appointment. You can then take up your NHS appointment when it comes and either continue solely with NHS input, or if you wish to continue with both, I can work alongside your NHS Speech and Language Therapist. In this situation I can, with your consent, liaise with the NHS therapist to ensure that we are working in harmony in the best interests of your child. Alternatively you can opt out of NHS provision altogether.
How does Independent speech and language therapy differ from the NHS?
Independent therapists charge fees for their time. They tend to be able to offer appointments sooner and see your child more frequently at a time convenient for you. Your child is still entitled to the NHS Service even if you choose to have private therapy as well.
Should a Speech and Language Therapist be registered?
All Speech and Language Therapists must be registered with the Health Care Professions Council. You can check membership by looking on the HCPC website. An Independent Speech and Language Therapist should be able to show you their HCPC Certificate
Can I pay through my insurance?
You may be able to claim for the cost of therapy if you have private health insurance. It is the responsibility of parents to pay directly for therapy sessions and then claim from the insurance company themselves. You are advised to check the extent and terms of your cover in advance of making an appointment.
Do I need a referral from my GP?
No, you can refer your child to me yourself. See my contact details or ring me for a free initial telephone consultation on 07970 191985 to talk through your concerns and see whether you need to take it any further.
Can you really work with a child as young as 2 years old?
At 2 years old, your child will be unable to sit through formal testing and so assessment will comprise observation, discussion and informal assessment through play. Early intervention is crucial. Therapy is always play-based at this age, as play is the ‘tool' for your child to learn communication skills.
Where will my child be seen?
This can be in my home setting, be at your home, in nursery or at school. Sometimes it is useful to see a child in more than one setting to assess how they are coping in different situations. We can discuss which may be most suitable for your child.
Can I watch the sessions?
It's really important that you are involved as you are the key person in your child's day to day life in helping to develop their communication skills. If I see your child in school, you are very welcome to come in and watch, but I also write in a home-school links book and email you after each session with a summary of what we have done and ideas for the week. I provide activities around the targets each week, and am contactable by phone or email between sessions to address any queries.
How long will the assessment take?
The initial assessment session normally lasts about 1 hour and 30 minutes, including discussion with parents, and will depend on the age and attention span of the child. In some cases it may be necessary to offer a further session to complete assessments or to see your child in a different environment.
How long are the therapy sessions?
This depends on your child's needs and their age. Mostly sessions are one hour, most of which is direct time with your child, but also includes time to go through how the previous week has been and what activities to move on to. Sometimes sessions are longer as I feel it is so important to give you time to discuss activities and any concerns as they arise.
How much do the sessions cost?
Please contact me to discuss fees. All treatment charges are to current published independent guidelines and nothing is planned without agreement.
My child also sees other professionals- will you work together?
I think working together as a team with you and your child is incredibly important. This can take several forms: liaising on the phone, sharing reports, attending sessions, attending appropriate meetings. These are always done with your permission.
How do I know you are fully qualified?
I am a registered member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice and the Health and Care Professions Council.