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Speech and language therapy

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are professionals who work with children who have speech, language and communication needs. SLTs usually work for the NHS or local authority, and might work in clinics, children’s centres, nurseries, schools or hospitals. SLTs assess children who might have speech, language and communication needs and decide the best way to help them. They will think about the child’s age, type of difficulty they have, how severe it is and what other help they might need or get.

An SLT might decide to:
  • See a child every week for individual direct therapy. For young children this is usually in a clinic. The SLT will probably see a child for a block of sessions and then have a break.
  • See the child for direct group therapy. This is when children with similar difficulties work together, usually weekly.
  • See a child for direct therapy, but not every week. So, they might see a child once a month, but give them some activities to do at home in between appointments.
  • Give a child a programme to do at home. Usually they will see the child again to see how they are getting on with their programme.
  • Visit the child in nursery or school. They might do some direct work with the child or talk to the staff about things they can do. Sometimes they will do this more than once, so they might visit every half term or term.
  • Discharge the child, if they think everything is OK.

Sometimes an SLT will think that the child needs to be assessed by someone else and will make a referral. This might be to someone like a paediatrician or psychologist.

For information on private speech and language therapy, visit

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