Speech and Language Therapy

n the 2018-2019 academic year, the Virtual School Rotherham(VSR) identified a need for speech and language assessment for the looked after population, and therefore decided to second two Speech and Language Therapists from the local NHS service. The therapists were commissioned for a total of 3 days a week, term time only. In April 2020 this was increased to 4 days a week, term time only.

The original decision to employ the Speech and Language Therapists was influenced by the fact that 63% of children in care have Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) as found by a joint factsheet, “Supporting Looked After Children” produced by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and ICAN, and SLCN are the second most frequently reported difficulty for looked after children.

Speech and Language Therapy can also be preventative of difficulties in adulthood. For example, without effective help up to a third of children with SLCN need treatment for mental health problems in adult life. According to research (see below paragraph) 81% of children with emotional and behavioural disorders have significant unidentified SLCN. Looked After Children in Rotherham continue to be able to access core NHS Speech and Language Therapy Services, but this new service can provide additional support for those who need specialised assessment and intervention due to being in care.

Please contact your Virtual School Education Advisor in the first instance if you have any concerns around the Speech and Language skills of any Rotherham LAC.