Speech and Language Therapy

Michelle Hamill is our Speech and Language therapist who works in the School Age Speech and Language Therapy Services for Sirona Care & Health Community Children’s Health Partnership (CCHP). She works at Westhaven two days a week on a consultant basis. 
Nancy Hurman is our Speech and Language therapy assistant, with an over 10 years work experience at Westhaven School.  As a speech and language therapy assistant, she works closely with speech and language therapists, learners, staff, and parents to support and deliver high-quality provision. 

The role of the speech and language therapy service in Westhaven is to support the development of a learner’s understanding, use of language and/or speech production, as well as ensuring the school environment is communication friendly. This is so that children and young people with SLCN can communicate to the best of their ability. 

The speech and language therapy service in Westhaven School supports learners with Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). This can include learners with:

  • A language disorder
  • Speech sound disorders
  • Alternative and augmentative communication needs (using a communication aid like a communication book or an iPad). 
  • Autism 
  • Communication needs associated with complex medical conditions and acquired brain injury 

Support from Speech and Language Therapy is based on a model that has three levels:

Universal support: For all learners. This involves providing helpful advice, resources, and signposting to useful websites to support all children and young people with their communication skills.

Targeted support: For some learners who require more support and advice. This involves regular meetings with a learner’s class team to discuss concerns, provide advice, carry out school-based drop-in sessions with the learner, provide training in specific approaches to school staff and/or sign-post staff to SLT training.

Specialist support: For those learners that require more specialist support from the SLT. This includes; formal assessment, informal assessment, observation in class or the playground, liaison with class teacher and teaching assistant, liaison with parent/carer, and blocks of direct therapy. These learners usually have direct speech and language provision listed in their Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Important: Many learners can be well supported in school using this Universal and Targeted level of support. 

Speech, language, communication, and learning at school are very closely linked.  If learners are having difficulties in understanding or using language, this will affect their ability to learn.

At Westhaven School, a variety of speech, language, and communication strategies and interventions are used:

  • Attention Autism 
  • Lego Facilitated Therapy 
  • Blanks Levels 
  • Colourful Semantics 
  • Communication boards (chat mats)
  • Makaton
  • Visual Timetables & Now/Next boards
  • Social Stories & Comic Strip Conversations 
  • Vocabulary strategies (e.g., word maps)

Please visit: Top tips and resources library – Children and Young People’s Services (sirona-cic.org.uk)  for more information about these strategies Some examples can be seen below:

Colourful Semantics
Communication Boards (Chat Mats)
Communication Boards (Aided Language Displays)
Now/Next Boards
Comic Strip Conversations
Vocabulary Strategies (e.g word webs)

Michelle and Nancy are both based at Westhaven on the following days:

Michelle– Monday and Tuesday 

Nancy– Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language, please speak to your child’s class teacher in the first instance, or your department SENCo. Please always feel free to contact the school office on 01934 632171 or email reception@westhavenschool.org.uk

For more information about Sirona Care & Health, please visit their website:  Children and Young People’s Services – Providing NHS and Local Authority funded children’s community services for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (sirona-cic.org.uk) 

For more information about the School Age Speech and Language Therapy Service, please visit this website: School Age Speech and Language Therapy Service – Children and Young People’s Services (sirona-cic.org.uk)