Speech and Language Therapy

The West Essex Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service provides support and assistance to children and young people who are experiencing difficulties with speech, language, understanding, talking, communication and with feeding and swallowing.

We support families across Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford.

We offer support for children aged 2 years 6 months to 18 years where communication difficulties are impacting ability to fully participate in daily life. Children with swallowing and complex feeding difficulties can be referred by a health professional at any age.

The children’s speech and language therapy (SLT) service offers a child and family centred approach to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of speech, language, communication and eating and drinking difficulties in children and young people.

How can we help?

We recognise the importance of working alongside those who spend the most time with your child.

We work together with parents, carers and the team around the child, seeing children in a variety of community settings, for example clinics, at home for some children with additional needs, pre-school and schools.

Much of our work involves training and supporting parents, teachers and health professionals to meet the child’s communication or feeding and swallowing needs within their everyday life.

Guidance and helpful information

If you think your child has difficulties with speech, language or communication, please use the toolkits below and look at the web links to the right. These toolkits will give you ideas to support and encourage your child’s development.


What happens next?

If you have concerns about your child’s speech, language, communication or feeding please discuss these with your health visitor or early years practitioner. You can contact a member of Healthy Family Team at your local Family Hub. Please also refer to the toolkits above for advice and ideas.

For the safety of you and our staff during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have moved our usual face to face Drop-in clinics to Telephone Drop-ins every Tuesday. Please ring on Tuesdays between 9am and 11am to register for a call back from a Speech and Language Therapist. Please look at our flyer below for more information before you call:

Telephone drop-in flyer

So if you, a Health Visitor or Family Support Worker, or another professional, have concerns about your child’s speech and language development, and you need to speak to a Speech and Language Therapist, you are welcome to contact us on 0300 247 0122, option 3, option 3.

This is a telephone assessment clinic for Pre-school age children and for families who have a West Essex GP (West Essex is Harlow, Epping Forest and Uttlesford districts). Due to the current situation with Coronavirus, you are also welcome to call our Telephone Drop-in if your child is school age.

When you call, one of our Speech and Language Therapy Assistants will ask you some questions to register your child. A Therapist will then call you back to discuss your concerns. We’ll give you some ideas on how you can support your child’s speech, language and communication skills at home.

If the number goes to our voicemail, please leave a message with your name and telephone number and one of our Speech and Language Therapy Assistants will call you back.

Pre-school aged children

Your health visitor or early years practitioner may signpost your child to a local drop-in assessment session, if appropriate. You can also discuss any concerns with your GP. Please note, the drop-in assessment sessions are for children with speech, language and communication issues rather than feeding difficulties.

There is an open referral system which means that parents/carers as well as health professionals can contact the SLT administration centre directly to discuss referral; 0300 247 0122 Option 3, Option 3.

School aged children

All schools have a designated speech and language therapist who works in conjunction with education staff to provide support. Referrals for school-aged children should therefore initially be discussed with school staff who can liaise directly with the speech and language therapy team. Appropriate advice and support can often be provided without the need for referral.

Information for referrers

Fill in the referral form below and submit it to our administration centre, either via email or post.

Community referrals for children with feeding difficulties

Please complete the referral form and send to the administration centre. We aim to see all urgent referrals within 10 working days and non-urgent referrals within one month.

Once a referral is accepted, we aim to see all children and young people for assessment within 12 weeks.

Speech and Language Therapy Referral Form