Speech and language therapy

NHS speech and language therapy service for Bedfordshire and Luton

The NHS' Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Service works across Bedfordshire and Luton, providing help in both community (health centres, schools, pre-schools) and hospital settings. The service treats children up to the age of 16 years (up to 19 years in special education), who have difficulty with communication or swallowing.

The service is provided in a number of ways, depending on need. For example: individual or group treatment, parent/carer workshops and assessment clinics.

What does the service do?

Following acceptance of a referral (or following an assessment clinic for early years children) a speech and language therapist will:

  • provide full assessment of the child’s speech and language needs
  • dependent on the outcome of assessment the therapist may:
    • provide and if necessary deliver a defined therapy package appropriate to the child's need
    • liaise with special educational needs coordinators, class teachers and support staff regarding the implementation of communication strategies to support the child
    • provide support and advice regarding appropriate communication targets for the child
    • provide training specific to that child’s communication needs if appropriate

Community Paediatric SLT team

The Community Paediatric SLT team is based in health centres across Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton. The service provides access via an assessment clinic for children under school age and a referral for children school age and above.

School-age children will be seen for assessment and support in school where possible. The service will assess and (where necessary) treat children who present with delayed or disordered speech and language development, where evidence shows that intervention from speech and language therapy is needed for the child to acquire the necessary communication skills to progress in social, emotional and educational development. This includes children with:

  • receptive language difficulties
  • expressive language difficulties
  • disordered speech development
  • a stammer / non-fluent speech
  • a voice disorder, e.g. hoarse voice

Special Needs SLT team

The Special Needs team is part of the Speech and Language Therapy Service and provides a service to preschool children with complex needs (Child Development Centre/Redgrave Gardens) and to children who have identified speech, language and communication needs and /or eating or swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) as part of their Education, Health and Care Plan who attend mainstream and special schools.
We will provide information and advice to enable key adults to:

  • understand the language/ communication difficulty and / or swallowing difficulty 
  • gain skills to support the child at home and within the educational setting (preschools / schools)

The team may provide individual sessions and / or group sessions to help develop specific skills and to review progress.

The team aims to work collaboratively with parents and other professionals; and to agree a care plan which reflects identified targets to support development / management of the child’s speech, language and communication skills and / or eating and swallowing skills as appropriate.

Early Communication Support team

The Early Communication Support team is commissioned by us to work in a preventative role, supporting children's early communication skills. The team is based in children's centres and provides:

  • drop in sessions for families in children’s centres across Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire to access advice for children under school age
  • early speech and language groups for parents to access with their children in children's centres
  • home visits to support the child's early communication skills (criteria applied)
  • training and support to early years practitioners and childminders to enhance their knowledge and skills

Contact the service

Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy
Florence Ball House
Bedford Health Village
3 Kimbolton Road
MK40 2NT

Telephone: 01234 317002

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