The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) department consists of a team of specialist therapists each of whom work into specific areas of the Foundation.
Within the Percy Hedley Schools there is a team of therapists who work across the two sites. In addition to the Head Therapist there are highly experienced Lead Therapists who offer clinical support and guidance to the department. Each class in school has a designated therapist as part of the staff team. Therapists’ caseloads are small to allow for intensive input and high levels of in-class working.
All of the speech and language therapy team are skilled in the assessment, diagnosis and management of complex communication disorders. These can be associated with cerebral palsy or with developmental speech and language disorders. Communication disorders associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorder also form part of the departments’ expertise.
At Percy Hedley School, the Speech and Language Team team work collaboratively with all other staff to maintain and improve practice and raise pupil achievement. There is a strong ethos of joint planning with teaching staff to implement high quality teaching of literacy, social communication and thinking skills – areas which often are particularly difficult for our pupils. A small number of therapists are also qualified as teachers and may hold post graduate qualifications in the management of specific literacy difficulties such as dyslexia. Others have additional qualifications in the management of dysphagia – the eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties experienced by many of our pupils.
How the team works
The therapists work in the classroom as part of the core class team – both supporting other staff and leading the class as the key person for certain sessions. The aim is to ensure that pupils understand information presented to them and have every opportunity to develop and achieve their communication potential. Therapists work into literacy lessons, social communication sessions and life skills work in particular to ensure that no opportunity for functional and effective communication is missed.
Percy Hedley School adopts an experiential, real life approach to learning and therapists frequently accompany classes on outings and residential visits. The inclusion of therapy staff on break and lunchtime rotas ensures that they work with pupils in every situation so enabling them to evaluate and facilitate a pupil’s ability to generalise skills beyond the classroom.
It is recognised that some pupils find a one to one work situation with an adult stressful and yet, working with the whole class group can also be distracting or difficult. There is often great benefit in withdrawing pairs or small groups of pupils from class for speech and language therapy input to concentrate on specific communication skills and to give more opportunities for practice so that they can learn to generalise skills into all situations.
Whilst many of the therapeutic aims for each pupil can be met through class based work there are some pupils who also need to be supported individually. These sessions are agreed with the class team when developing the timetables to allow the pupil maximum access to a broad and balanced curriculum while still ensuring that therapy needs are met.
At Percy Hedley School all therapists working with pupils who have cerebral palsy have a good understanding of the principles of Conductive Education. These therapists may have higher numbers of pupils on their caseload who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems.
Please click below to see our policies relating to AAC