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Drumbeat School & ASD Service

What is Speech and Language Therapy?

A speech and language therapist is a health care professional who works with people who have difficulty with communication or swallowing.

Speech and language therapists often work as part of a team to prevent, assess and treat a range of communication difficulties. They can work in a variety of settings such as clinics, hospitals and schools. They may work with adults or children with a range communication needs such as learning difficulties, physical difficulties, stammering, voice disorders, degenerative conditions, cleft palate or autism.

How does Speech and language therapy work at Drumbeat?

At Drumbeat School communication is at core of the curriculum. Communication opportunities are at the centre of all learning activities throughout the school day. Emphasis is placed on the importance of engaging, fun and meaningful interactions and experiences.

Drumbeat promotes a total communication approach using specific ASD interventions personalised to each child.

Hannah Robinson
(Speech and Language Therapist)

Hannah has been working with children with Learning Difficulties and Autism for the last 12 years. Hannah studied Speech and Language Therapy BSc (Hons) at the University of East Anglia. Whilst studying she also worked as an Applied Behaviour Analysis tutor with children with Autism. She qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2008 and initially worked with children with a range of communication needs in clinics, mainstream and special schools in Norfolk. She then continued her speech therapy career in Bromley working across specialist units and schools for pupils with Autism and complex needs. Hannah is now part of the school employed therapy team at Drumbeat School, working in partnership with NHS therapists, she has set up the speech and language therapy service in school, delivering communication interventions and training that focuses on functional communication in the classroom. Hannah is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Autism Studies at the University of Kent. As part of her studies she is researching communication in the classroom, particularly focusing on teacher questions.

The speech and language therapist employed by the school works closely with visiting NHS speech and language therapists and the rest of the therapy team. The speech and language therapists work within the classroom embedding a total communication approach. This may involve the use of signing, symbols, objects, drawing and writing as well as speech to support understanding and expressive communication. Communication support in the classroom enables pupils to access the curriculum throughout the whole school day. Speech and language therapist also help school staff to develop their own interaction skills to enable them to become supportive communication partners.

The speech and language therapist works collaboratively with the school staff and parents to formulate communication targets, give advice, model strategies and also carry out training. Pupils may be also be seen for group and individual interventions. Current interventions delivered by the speech and language therapist includes attention autism, colourful semantics, PECS, Lego Therapy, Superflex Social thinking and intensive interaction. Intervention is also personalised to meet the specific communication needs of pupils.

Links to useful websites

Talking Point
www.talkingpoint.org.uk/
General Information about children’s speech and language development.

Afasic
www.afasic.org.uk/
Information and support for children and young people with speech and language impairments and their families.

I can
www.ican.org.uk/
Information about speech and language impairments for parents, and training and advice for professionals.

Communication Matters
www.communicationmatters.org.uk/
A national voluntary organisation of members concerned with augmentative and alternative communication.

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
http://www.rcslt.org/
The professional organisation for speech and language therapists.

Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice
www.helpwithtalking.com
Provides information about speech and language therapists working privately.

PECS
www.pecs-unitedkingdom.com
The picture exchange communication system is an alternative or augmentative form of communicating aimed at initiating communication.

Attention Autism
www.ginadavies.co.uk/
Attention autism is a framework for developing attention skills and creating irresistible invitations for learning and communicating.

Makaton
www.makaton.org/
Makaton signs are used alongside speech to help someone’s understanding and provides an alternative or augmentative method of communication.