Our speech and language therapy service can support children and young people from birth to 19 who have speech, language or communication needs or difficulties with eating, drinking or swallowing.
- Stammering, where sounds or words are regularly repeated or a lot of effort is needed to produce them.
- Speaking with a persistently unusual voice quality, which might sound croaky, breathy, or hoarse.
- Difficulties in saying specific sounds when talking making your speech difficult to understand by others.
- Difficulties with speaking, including difficulties putting words and sentences together to ask for something, telling a story or holding a conversation.
- Making sense of what other people say to you and/or understanding and using body language and eye contact.
- Difficulties learning the ‘rules’ of conversation such as when it is your turn to speak and when it is time to change the topic of conversation.
- Feeding or swallowing difficulties.
As well as occurring on their own, these difficulties are common in children and young people who have other diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, learning, physical or hearing difficulties.
We can see you at health centres, schools, nurseries, and at home.
As well as working directly with children and young people we support their families and carers, their teachers or childcare staff and other professionals who have regular contact or work with them.
We carry out assessments, including observations of play, learning activities and will observe meal times for children who are experiencing feeding or swallowing difficulties. We sometimes work with other professionals to help us carry out assessments.
Our aim is to help children and young people develop their best possible communications skills, taking into account their individual abilities and needs.
Most importantly we look at the impact of their communication difficulty on the child, young person’s life, their family and aim to find ways of reducing this as much as possible.
This can include one or a combination of:
- A programme of agreed targets or goals for the child or young person, parents or carers, and other professionals who support them.
- Coaching and education for parents/professionals working with the child or young person on specific communication/feeding techniques.
- Specialist support from a speech and language therapist or assistant speech and language therapist for short periods of time to help develop specific communication skills
- Liaising with other services involved in the child or young person’s care, for example, the feeding team at Royal Victoria Infirmary and Regional Communications Aids Service.
- Involvement in local authority statutory assessment procedures.
For children and young people with complex and lifelong communication and or feeding needs we also support professionals working with them when they start a new school, or start receiving support from adult services.
Access to the service
You can self-refer to this service if you live in Northumberland and North Tyneside. We also accept referrals from any professional working with the child and family. For example a health visitor, doctor, nurse, social worker or teacher etc..
For new referrals we prioritise seeing children and young people with urgent feeding and swallowing difficulties within 10 working days. Children and young people with communication difficulties will be seen within 18 weeks from a referral.
If you are a parent or carer you can contact our speech and language therapy service directly, just contact the nearest team to where your child lives (see contact details below).
You can contact us Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm. Each clinic has an answer phone so please leave a message to speak to a therapist. Alternatively if your enquiry is urgent please call the main office nearest to you at Albion Road Resource Centre in North Shields or at Northumberland Child Health Centre in Ashington.
Alternatively health visitors, GPs, school staff and any professional can make a referral for a child or young person. You can contact us to receive a copy of our referral form on any of the numbers below.
Clinic venues and contact numbers
- North Tyneside at Albion Road Resource Centre, Albion Road, North Shields, NE29 0HG
Tel: 0191 2196711
- Alnwick or Berwick at Alnwick Infirmary, Infirmary Drive, Alnwick, NE66 2NS
Tel: 01665 511 880
- Castle Morpeth, Ashington or Wansbeck at Northumberland Child Health Centre, Woodhorn Lane, Ashington, NE63 9JJ
- Blyth Valley at Brockwell Health Centre, Northumbrian Road, Cramlington NE23 1XZ
Tel: 01670 392754
- Tynedale area at Cobridge Health Centre, Newcastle Road, Corbridge, NE45 5LG
Tel: 01434 636940
- nas.org.uk– the National Autistic Society website contains information about autism as well as links to help available for both children and parents.
- Downs Syndrome educational trust
- Afasic– national charity that helps families affected by speech and language problems
- Contact a Family– UK charity providing advice, information and support to the parents of all disabled children – no matter what their disability or health condition
- ICAN– a national charity that works to help children communicate
- British Stammering Association– information aimed at adults, parents, teenagers and teachers and employers.
- apraxia-kids.org– this is an American website containing information on and about children who suffer from apraxia
- Speech Teach– for parents with children with speech difficulties and provides chat room facilities and materials for working with your child
- The Hanen Centre– information about training programmes for young children with language delay issues
- Makaton– information about Makaton, a language programme that incorporates signing into a child’s communication to assist with their overall communication development