St Mary's front sign

Speech and Language

Our onsite Speech and Language team support pupils' communication so they can achieve their potential

St Mary's School and College is specialist school for children with speech, language and communication needs. We take a Total Communication approach to enabling our pupils to communicate.

Speech and Language at St Mary's

The Speech and Language Therapy team consists of Speech and Language Therapists and Speech and language therapy assistants. All of our Speech and Language Therapists are HCPC and RCSLT registered and offer a high level of expertise in working with children and young people with communication disorders within the context of a complex range of needs. The team supports the assessment, diagnosis and management of speech, language and communication needs; social skills and pragmatic language development, and eating and drinking difficulties. The Speech and Language Therapy team is based on site and interdisciplinary working is a core part of our provision. We provide advice and work collaboratively with colleagues including teachers, residential staff, and Occupational Therapists. This allows us to support and extend speech, language and social communication skills in the classroom, community, and other settings.

The Speech and Language Therapy team have a range of specialist qualifications, knowledge and experience in areas and approaches including: Autistic Spectrum Disorders; Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia ; Hearing Impairment; Developmental Language Disorder (Specific Language Impairment); Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC); Talking Mats; transition; software and apps; building language through Lego; Social Stories; social language use; Dysfluency; and Dysphagia. We also have specific experience of working with pupils with Worster Drought, Di George Syndrome, Down's syndrome, Tuberous sclerosis, Prader-Willi and Pathological Demand Avoidance.

Total Communication

St Mary’s advocates a Total Communication approach. This involves the use of a combination of verbal and non-verbal strategies to support expressive and receptive communication. A range of methods can be employed as part of a Total Communication approach, including: facial expression, gesture and pantomime; voice and speech; drawing and writing; signing (at St Mary’s all staff and pupils are taught Sign Supported English); low technology aids e.g. Symbol books/PECS; high technology aids including tablets and speech apps.

Our Speech & Language Therapists and Specialist Speech & Language Therapy assistants are able to offer ongoing support to pupils, staff and parents. Specialisms held by our Speech and Language Assistants include Signing and AAC. Signing is used to reinforce concepts and vocabulary, and to support processing, learning and retention. For those pupils who require (AAC) systems to support our stand in place of speech we are able to offer specialist assessment and ongoing support. Systems used may range from personalised communication books to hi-tech voice-output technology. A wide range of resources using picture communication symbols are also used throughout the day to support communication, learning and independence.

We have created 20 Sign Language videos for you to view on our YouTube channel. www.youtube.com