If your son or daughter is having problems talking and understanding what others say, you might need to seek help. These are some of the professionals who can help, depending on your child’s needs.
Health Visitor: Your Health Visitor will probably carry out your baby’s regular health and development reviews during their early years. You can discuss your child’s development with your Health Visitor. Your Health visitor can help you to learn about how to support your child and make sure that you have the support that you need.
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GP: A General Practitioner or GP is the doctor that you see in your local doctors surgery for a variety of healthcare concerns. Your GP may be the person to listen to your concerns about your child’s talking and talk to you about a referral to speech and language therapy.
Speech and Language Therapist: A speech and language therapist (SLT) is responsible for assessing, diagnosing and treating children and young people with all forms of SLCN. SLTs can also advise others eg: teachers.
Speech and language therapy assistant: This role may be known by different names in different areas for example: Healthcare Assistant, Technical Instructor. A speech and language therapy assistant supports the speech and language therapist by carrying out programmes of work which the therapist has set. Assistants may work on a one to one or with a small group of children.
School doctor and school nurse: These healthcare professionals usually visit your child’s school on specific days during the school term. They usually work together to respond to any healthcare needs in a school setting.
Paediatrician: A paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in treating children. Some paediatricians specialise in treating children with developmental difficulties. Because a speech and language difficulty can be the first sign of a number of different conditions, it is often advisable to see a paediatrician to rule these in or out.
Audiologist: An audiologist is a healthcare scientist who assesses, diagnoses and treats individuals with hearing problems.
Occupational therapist: An occupational therapist can help children with a range of developmental difficulties affecting their co-ordination, balance, motor skills, sensory integration and organisation.
Educational Psychologist : An educational psychologist (EP) assesses children’s skills for learning and the way they learn. EPs assess your child’s learning needs and difficulties and advises teachers how to support them. EPs also carry out an assessment and write a report as part of the statutory assessment process.
SENCO : This stands for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. The SENCO is the teacher responsible for coordinating all the information about children with special educational needs (SEN) in a school or nursery setting and arranging support for them.
Teaching Assistant: A teaching assistant (TA) often helps teachers support children with additional needs. TAs are not required to have any particular training, but some, especially Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs), may have specific expertise in SLCN or other forms of additional needs.
Specialist Teacher: An advisory or specialist teacher usually works with teachers in mainstream schools and nurseries to help them meet the needs of children with additional needs. They may also support children directly. Some advisory teachers specialise in SLCN.