What a Speech and Language therapist does

We help children and young people who have a variety of needs. Below lists the areas of need we can support with. Scroll down for more information on areas of Speech, Language and Communication need. 


Cleft Lip and Palate

  • This is a condition in which a child's lip and/or palate do not form properly before birth, leaving a gap in the palate and/or upper lip.
  • The Cleft Lip and Palate Specialist Team at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital support babies born in this area of the North West with this problem. Specialist health visitors give advice on feeding and the surgeons carry out repairs to the lip and palate when appropriate.
  • Many children develop good speech following repair to their palate. Those who do need help will be referred to the Salford Speech and Language Therapy Department - where therapy will be offered at a local clinic. The Salford Therapist will work closely with a Speech and Language Therapist from the Cleft Lip and Palate Specialist Team to provide coordinated help.

You can find further information, advice and support at the Cleft Lip and Palate Association at www.clapa.com


Speech and language problems associated with hearing impairment

Hearing difficulties can affect development of all or just some areas of speech and language, depending on the type and severity of the deafness.

Our Speech and Language Therapist may have a role in helping you and others develop your child's:

  • Awareness of speech sounds
  • Understanding of spoken and sign language
  • Talking and signing skills.

Hearing impairment can vary from mild through to profound. The National Deaf Children's society explains the difference between the two main types of deafness as:

Sensori-neural deafness, or nerve deafness as it is sometimes called, is a hearing loss in the inner ear.

Conductive deafness means that sound cannot pass through the outer and middle ear into the inner ear. This is often caused by blockages such as wax in the outer ear or fluid in the middle ear (glue ear).
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The Speech and Language Therapist's Role
Many children with conductive deafness are unable to hear certain speech sounds clearly, which in turn, affects their ability to say the words clearly. They may also have problems listening and concentrating, so their general language development may be delayed as well.

The Speech and Language Therapist will decide whether treatment is appropriate after obtaining up to date information from the Audiology or Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) department, and discussion with the other specialists involved such as the Teacher for the Hearing Impaired.

If you have concerns about your child's hearing ask your health visitor or GP to refer them for a hearing test.

Specialist Teacher's Role
Teachers who have specialist skills in supporting children with hearing impairment are available to support children with significant hearing difficulties, including children who wear hearing aids.  The Special Needs Coordinator at your child's school will know if it is appropriate to contact this service regarding your child.


Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term covering a group of non-progressive, but often changing, motor impairment conditions that affect children in different ways causing impairment in posture, movement and co-ordination.

Children with cerebral palsy need the support of a team of professionals, including a Speech and Language Therapist, who will work together to look after all the child's development needs. The Speech and Language Therapist will be able to advise on feeding, as well as communication skills.

Some children may need to use a communication system other than speech to support their speech and language development - our Speech and Language Therapist will also be able to offer advice on this.

For further information on cerebral palsy go to www.scope.uk


Voice Disorders

A child who has voice problems may have the following symptoms:

  • Husky or breathy voice
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore or dry throat
  • Discomfort when speaking
  • Sound very loud when they are speaking or speak very softly so they are hard to hear
  • Being too high or too low in pitch.
  • Excessive shouting, screaming, yelling, making funny noises, throat clearing and talking can lead to voice problems. Other factors such as exposure to cigarette smoke, emotional problems or medications may also cause voice difficulties.