Speech and Language Therapy
We are the provider for the NHS children’s Speech and Language Service in West Essex which includes Harlow, Epping and Uttlesford District.
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 & swallowing.
We do this through a child and family centred approach to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of speech, language, communication and feeding & swallowing difficulties in children and young people.
We offer support for children aged 2 years 6 months to 18 years where communication difficulties are impacting their ability to fully participate in daily life. Children with complex communication difficulties associated with multiple and complex medical needs may access earlier support.
We offer support to children with swallowing and complex feeding difficulties at any age following referral by a health professional.
How can we help?
We work together with parents, carers and the team around the child, seeing children in a variety of community settings, for example in our family hubs, clinics, pre-school and schools, or at home for some children with additional needs.
We recognise the importance of helping you to help your child, and working alongside those who spend the most time with your child.
Our work includes training and supporting parents, teachers and health professionals to meet each 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 advice sheets below and suggested weblinks. These advice sheets will give you ideas to support and encourage your child’s development.
Here, you will find some useful Youtube videos that cover various topics from visual supports through to understanding words.
What happens next?
We offer a telephone drop-in for parents and Carers of Pre-School children age 2 years 6 months and over who have a West Essex GP (West Essex is Harlow, Epping Forest and Uttlesford districts). This provides easy access to our Speech and Language Therapy service without the need for a formal referral.
The telephone drop-in is held on Tuesday mornings between 9am and 11am. You are welcome to contact us at the drop-in on 01279 342170 if you, a Health Visitor, 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.
When you call, one of our Speech and Language Therapy Assistants will ask you some questions. A Therapist will then call you back to discuss your concerns. We will give you some ideas to help you to support your child’s speech, language and communication at home.
Please note, these drop-in clinics are for parents of children with speech, language and communication issues, not feeding difficulties. They are only for parents and legal guardians, not professionals.
School age children
School staff are very skilled at supporting children with speech, language or communication difficulties. If you have concerns about your child’s speech, language or communication development please first discuss these with your child’s teacher or SENCo. There may be additional support they can offer your child in school. School staff may be able to give you ideas of how you can also help your child at home.
If your child is not already on our Speech and Language Therapy caseload a referral to us may be appropriate. In most cases we require information about what support your child’s school has already put in place. Your child’s class teacher or the school SENCo is therefore often the best person to make a referral.
If your child is already on our Speech and Language Therapy caseload and you want to update us on your child’s progress or share any concerns about their progress with speech, language or communication, you are welcome to contact us on 0300 247 0122, option 3, option 3.
Information for referrals
Please read the information below before submitting a referral.
Referrals for Pre-school children with speech, language or communication difficulties
Parents of Pre-school children with a West Essex GP (age 2 years 6 months and over) can access the telephone drop-in without a referral. Please see the flyer.
Where a child has profound or complex communication difficulties associated with multiple and complex medical needs support may be available from Speech and Language Therapy at an earlier age. For these children a referral from a health professional will be required. Please complete the referral form and email it to the administration centre.
Referrals for School age children with speech, language or communication difficulties
In most cases we require information about what the class teacher or SENCo has already put in place to support the child’s speech, language or communication development. We therefore encourage school staff to make the referral for children presenting with speech sound difficulties, language difficulties or social communication difficulties.
Community referrals for children with feeding difficulties
Referral to our feeding and swallowing specialist Therapists must be made by a health professional.
Please complete the referral form and email it to the administration centre. We aim to see all urgent feeding referrals within 10 working days and non-urgent referrals within one month.
Referral of a child with a stammer or suspected Selective Mutism does not require background information from school. These referrals could be made by school/other professionals or parents.
Referral of a child with a voice problem must be via the GP and include an ENT assessment.