As a SENCO I have had almost ten years of collaborative work with the London Children’s Practice. Over the years, they have been able to provide my various schools with a reliable and professional team of speech therapists (and occupational therapists). They find me the speech therapist who is able to do the required hours, and in addition to teaching the pupils they are also able to do some screening of other pupils who perhaps do not require a full assessment. They also provide INSET training and regular reports for the school and parents. The speech therapists and I always encourage the school staff to go and observe the lessons from which they learn a lot about the individual needs of each child. The LCP makes my life so much easier and I hope to still be working with them in another ten years’ time.

SENDCo, Rokeby School

Read more about our services, how to support your students, training your staff, and EHCP processes below.

General FAQs

What is Speech and Language Therapy, and what do you provide?

Speech and language therapy is concerned with the management of disorders of speech, language, communication and swallowing in children and adults. At the London Children’s Practice we specialise in the provision of speech and language therapy for children up to the age of 18. We work closely with schools and families to fully assess the child’s needs and plan an appropriate intervention programme based on the needs of the child. Our service is provided in the form of screenings or assessments, reviews, and regular or intensive therapy input. Our therapists often deliver training at school INSET days and also meet with parents during Parent-Teacher evenings.

All London Children’s Practice therapists are fully qualified with many years of experience. All are registered with the Health Professional Council and meet the exacting standards of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

We can also provide Speech and Language Therapy Assistants to carry out programmes and goals, set by a qualified Speech and Language Therapist, in schools.

What is Occupational Therapy, and what do you provide?

Occupational therapy (OT) addresses the question ‘Why does this child have difficulties managing his/her daily activities, and what can we do to make it possible for him/her to manage things better so that it has a positive impact on their health and general well-being?’. Our primary goal is to assist children participate in everyday activities.

Our Occupational Therapists provide:

  • Assessments;
  • Individual therapy at school, at home and/or in our clinics;
  • Group therapy – ‘Wonderful Writers’ (Handwriting), ‘Little Hands’ (fine motor skills and pre-writing skills), ’Mover and Shakers’ (physiotherapy and occupational therapy), and ‘School Starters’ (speech and language therapy and occupational therapy school readiness);
  • Parent and teacher training, talks and advice;
  • Home and school programmes; and,
  • Medico-legal assessment reports.

Children learn best by doing so our therapy sessions are fun and meaningful and provide multi-disciplinary practice skills through a range of different activities such as:

  • Visual fine motor skills – cutting, colouring, drawing, threading, puzzles, etc.
  • Sensory motor skills– posture, balance, throwing and catching, etc.
  • Self-care skills – dressing and undressing, using cutlery, etc.
  • Handwriting
  • Planning and organisational skills

The London Children’s Practice Paediatric Occupational therapists work tirelessly to assist and help children succeed in performing their self-care and school/play activities.

What is Educational Psychology, and what do you provide?

Educational psychologists are both psychologists and qualified teachers who undertake specific post graduate training in educational psychology. They have an in-depth understanding of the educational and psychological needs of children and young people both at home and within school. All our educational psychologists are experienced practitioners and all hold chartered status with the British Psychological Society.

Our psychology team offers a full range of services for children and young people of all ages. We can also offer psychology as part of a multi-disciplinary service in partnership with other professionals working at the London Children’s Practice.

Our Educational Psychologists specialise in:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Specific learning difficulties (including dyslexia)
  • Language and Communication
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders and related social communication disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Behaviour
  • Medico-legal work, including tribunals
  • Our psychologists are also involved in training and research

When required, our educational psychologists carry out detailed assessments to determine the nature of a child’s difficulties and then suggest a plan of intervention which may involve both parents and school. Where necessary, we can also link to other services provided within London Children’s Practice such as speech and language therapy. In other words as part of the wider multi-disciplinary practice, we are able to provide more than just assessment and our aim is to provide a pro-active individualised intervention service for each child.

We also offer a consultation service to parents and professionals and provide a range of services specifically for schools.

Assessments and Consultations are generally carried out within the practice but home- or school-based assessments can be offered when the need arises. Email and Telephone Consultations are also available.

Services we offer include:

  • Assessment (including developmental and IQ assessments and/or academic learning assessment)
  • Diagnostic Assessment
  • Assessment and Planning of intervention programmes for overseas families
  • Assessment for Examination Special Arrangements
  • Assessment for and representation at Special Educational Needs Tribunals
  • Medico-legal reports and assessments
  • Attendance at reviews and advice to schools
  • Advice & Intervention for behaviour problems in school and at home
  • Social Skills Training
  • Anger Management Training
  • Individual therapy and counselling
  • Training workshops and Advice to schools
  • Parent and Family workshops

Do you work with medical professionals such as paediatricians?

Yes! We work closely with our Consultant Paediatricians who provide multi-disciplinary and diagnostic assessments in collaboration with our practice team. Our paediatricians only work within the clinic setting, but school SENDCos are welcome to refer students to our clinics.

For more information, look under the ‘Assessments’ section of the FAQs.

What are the benefits of buying in to a private service for my school?

Our services are comprehensive and specifically tailored to fit each school’s environment and their students’ needs. We are competitively priced, and our schools are able to direct our therapists towards their desired model of working, or get advice on how best to meet their students’ needs. Our therapists are able to help establish a universal service to implement strategies across the school setting, or work directly with individual students or students in small groups. We also offer training on a range of topics to help up-skill your staff during INSET days or after school hours.

 

How can I expand the Special Educational Needs provision in my school?

Funding for state-maintained schools are typically sourced from Additional Support Funding (ASF) and Top-up funding. Schools that need to provide support for a greater number of pupils with SEN than anticipated typically request additional funding from the Local Authority.

SEN funding for independent schools is usually obtained from the school budget, or directly from parents.

 

How can I buy in to your services, or find out more?

To discuss buying into our services, or for more information, call our Head Office at +44 (0) 207 467 9520 , or email wimpolest@londonchildrenspractice.com, where our friendly admin team will be able to direct you to our Schools Managers, who will be very happy to discuss your school’s needs and how we can help meet them.

 

How to Support Children in Schools

Is it ok to allow breaks for SEN children and not others?

Yes, it’s important for children with SEN to have regular movement breaks, particularly if they are often a fidgety child, as this will help their general level of attention. It’s more advisable to fit as many proprioceptive activities into the day for the whole class as possible (e.g. Animal walks or posture preparation before any writing activity) – this will help everyone’s attention and concentration, and ensure that the child with SEN feels included in the classroom.

How can we support a child with Occupational Therapy Needs?

Dressing Skills (P.E.)

Children struggling with dressing skills may have an underlying difficulty with motor co-ordination, particularly if they are significantly behind their peers. An Occupational Therapy assessment would be recommended for these children. They can be supported to develop skills through a backward chaining approach where the adult starts off the dressing and then the child finishes it off (e.g. adult helps child step feet into trousers and child pulls them up).

Scissor Skills

Children struggling with scissor skills can be prompted to always place their thumbs on top of both hands, and to point their scissors forward when cutting. Children often need prompts to adjust the position of their supporting hand in order to make it easier to cut a shape. Adapted scissors can be recommended by an Occupational Therapist.

Handwriting

Children struggling with handwriting should be prompted to use a dynamic tripod grasp (where they move their fingers). This can be encouraged with a ‘cross guard ultra grip’ or ‘large ultra grip’ (available from Task Master online). Some children may also need a writing slope to support their wrist position. Children struggling with the positioning of their letters on the line can be encouraged to use ‘sky, grass, soil paper’. Occupational Therapy assessment and intervention can provide recommendations for specific input to help children develop their handwriting and assessment of underlying causes of difficulties.

Sensory Needs

You should always consult an Occupational Therapist to ensure that you are providing the right type of sensory input for the child. The following are some general suggestions for children with sensory needs. Equipment such as a ‘junior move ‘n’ sit cushion’ is recommended for children who struggle to sit still at their desks. This should be partially inflated so that it is a wedge shape, this will help to promote a good sitting position as well as reduce fidgeting. A gym ball which is a similar height to the child’s knee can be used for children to sit at their desks (with close supervision) in order that they can move while sitting (they should be sitting in a posture with their knees and feet at a 90 degree angle). Theraputty is excellent for children to fidget with while they are listening- a 454g pot is a recommended size as a general guide, young children would need yellow (soft) putty), infants would need red (medium-soft) putty and juniors and above would need green (medium) putty. Please note that Theraputty also develops hand strength and cannot be substituted for Play Doh. Other fidgets include items such as ‘Tangle Junior’ and stretchy men.

Fidgeting

Children who struggle to sit still in class may have difficulties with their sense of body awareness or proprioception. Proprioception is our sense of where our body is in space, proprioceptors in our joints send signals to our brain about the position of our body. Regular proprioceptive activities that allow a child to experience pressure through their joints helps to improve their body awareness and therefore reduce fidgeting. Proprioception is also a sensory regulator and therefore will help with general attention and concentration. Activity ideas include walking like an animal (e.g. like a bear or a crab with hands and feet on the floor and bottom in the air) pushing the wall and counting to ten (making sure feet are on the floor, body straight and elbows bent), posture preparation (e.g. pushing hands together and counting to ten, pulling hands apart and counting to ten, giving self a big hug and counting to ten). Some children may need the use of a fidget toy to help them reach the level of sensory input they need in order to be able to attend and concentrate, children should be allowed to use these when teachers are giving the input.

How can we support a child with Speech and Language Therapy Needs?

Attention and Listening

Children typically have an attention span matching their age in years. A child’s attention skills also develop over time and younger children may present with single-channeled attention, in which they are able to attend to only one thing at a time – either looking at their task or listening to instructions. Being aware of which level of attention a child is at can help us tailor activities to match their needs. Some useful strategies for children who struggle with maintenance of attention include: the use of visual timetables to outline their tasks; using now-next boards; using a ‘working for’ token chart. An Occupational Therapist may also recommend regular movement breaks between tasks to help a child regulate their energy and processing levels.

Some children may present with a lack of joint attention skills (in which the child is able to pay attention to something you point out, or something you are showing them). This is a key foundational skill for language learning and is usually targeted first in therapy. For a child who lacks joint attention skills, it is usually recommended to use high-motivation or high-interest toys (like spinners, toys that light up or make sounds) and objects (like food) to engage with the child.

Play Skills

As with all parts of development, children move through stages in their play development as well. Very young babies tend to be able to participate in exploratory and people play, in which they are learning about the world around them and enjoy games with their carers, like ‘peek-a-boo’ and tickles. Young toddlers enjoy cause-and-effect play, like pressing a toy to make it emit a sound. Children around two years of age begin to develop the ability to play with more than one item at once, and use an object based on its function – for example, pretending to drink out of a toy cup. Further on, children develop better imaginative play sequences and are able to play elaborate imaginative games and re-enactments.

To support a child in developing their play skills, adults and carers should play alongside the child and model different ways of playing with a toy at the child’s developmental level – for example, for a young child, people games like peek-a-boo, jumping, and tickles, give opportunities for the child to request ‘more’ and develop interaction skills. For older children, modelling pretend play sequences like pretend-eating toy food, pretend-cooking toy food, or combining different food items to make a sandwich, or feeding and dressing a baby doll, can be helpful.

Comprehension

Comprehension of language is usually referred to as ‘Receptive Language’ by Speech and Language Therapists. Receptive language involves the ability to listen, understand, and carry out instructions and commands, and participate in interactions or conversations.

For a child who has receptive language difficulties, strategies such as slow and staged presentation of information is recommended, in a visual, pictured format wherever possible. For example, writing down a child’s timetable or list of tasks can be helpful. Printing out lesson slides for an older child, or using mind maps/thinking maps to organise information, can also be helpful. Adults should also be aware that children with receptive language difficulties tend to need extra processing time (count to at least five seconds in your head after asking a question or giving an instruction – it’s longer than we think!). Classroom strategies such as SLANT (sit up, listen, ask questions, nod, track the teacher), tracking, and visualisation are also useful strategies to support a child who has receptive language difficulties.

Expressive Language

Expressive language is often referred to as a child’s ‘speech’, however, in Speech and Language Therapy terms, ‘expressive language’ refers to the ability to use language to interact and convey meaning clearly through sentences or narratives. It also involves choosing the appropriate vocabulary, and using grammatical forms appropriately.

A child who has expressive language difficulties will usually find tasks like telling a story or formulating sentences using different words or connectives difficult. They may appear to use ‘general all purpose’ words like ‘this’ and ‘that thing’, use the wrong word in a sentence, or be unable to name things that they should be familiar with.

To support a child with expressive language difficulties, it is generally recommended that adults use strategies such as ‘recasting’, in which you repeat the child’s erroneous sentence with corrected grammar or vocabulary, emphasising the correct words. (e.g. Child says ‘The mouses running’, adult says ‘yes, the mice are running’) Semantic cues such as describing the function, appearance, or location of a word the child cannot name can also be helpful in supporting vocabulary development. To increase utterance length for a child who does not produce full sentences, repeating what they have said as a question is also a useful prompt (e.g. Child says ‘boy run’, adult says ‘The boy is running…?’ to prompt for additional information like ‘fast’ or ‘in the park’).

Speech Sounds

Speech or articulation refers to a child’s ability to produce all the sounds in a language clearly and correctly, especially in connected speech. This may also be referred to as ‘pronunciation’. Speech and Language Therapists assess a child’s ability to produce the sounds they are expected to have developed at their age, and also their general intelligibility (how much of their speech can be understood) in conversation.

Children develop speech sounds over a period of time from birth to around the age of 6, after which most speech sounds in English should be fully developed. Babies as young as 4-6 months begin to develop motor speech patterns through babbling, and children usually gain their first word by 12 months. Children at around 2 years should have gained simple sounds like ‘p’, ‘b’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘t’, ‘d’, and their speech sounds continue to develop up to age 6, by which time children should have gained the later developing sounds like ‘th’ and ‘r’. Children may present with developmental speech sound errors between the ages of 2-4, such as ‘fronting’ (‘key’ sounds like ‘tea’, for example), or cluster reduction (‘star’ may become ‘tar’). If you are concerned about a child’s speech sounds, it is best to consult a Speech and Language Therapist.

General strategies that can be helpful in support a child’s speech sound development is to model the correct speech sounds without expectation of copying, e.g. if a child says ‘I see wabbit’, you can say ‘yes, that’s a rabbit’.

Social Communication

Social communication skills refers to a child’s ability to utilise skills such as expressing and understanding body language; forming friendships; initiating, responding to, and participating in interactions or conversations; manage their emotions; and respond to situations assertively. Social communication skills are usually targeted in a small group setting, and schools often find it useful to set up lunchtime or breaktime clubs to support children who struggle with making friends or with other aspects of social communication.

There are many good resources for working on different aspects of social communication skills. Your Speech and Language Therapist may recommend programs such as LEGO Therapy, the Talkabout Social Skills programs by Alex Kelly, or the Superflex program by Michelle Garcia Winner. It is best to work on social communication skills with guidance from a Speech and Language Therapist.

Training

Do you offer training for staff in schools?

Yes, we do! We have provided OT- and SLT- related trainings at a range of schools that we work with, including nurseries, primary and secondary mainstream schools, specialist provisions, and colleges. We work closely with the SENDCos or Learning Support Coordinators at our schools to ensure that we provide training that is specifically tailored to your school’s population and needs.

What topics can you provide training on?

We are able to provide training on a range of areas relating to Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy. Some of the trainings we have run for schools in the past include:

  • Speech, Language, and Communication Needs in the Primary/Secondary Setting
  • Speech, Language, and Communication Development in the Early Years
  • Introduction to LEGO Therapy
  • Selective Mutism
  • Sensory Processing
  • Activities of Daily Living and Self Care
  • ALERT program and Zones of Regulation

amongst others. We also run a two-day in-house training for teaching assistants or carers of children with speech, language and communication needs, aiming to support their understanding of child development in these areas and the strategies and activities that can be used to support them.

How can I access training for my school's staff?

If you are interested in discussing training options or booking a training for your staff, please contact our Schools Managers as below:

Education, Health, and Care Plans

When should I consider an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment?

It’s a good idea to request an EHC needs assessment when:

  • A child’s learning difficulty is impacting their ability to access the curriculum or is holding them back at school
  • It is felt that the school is not able to provide adequate support to meet the child’s needs.

How do I start the EHC process?

The parent of a student under 16 can request an EHC needs assessment by writing to the Director of Education or Head of Children’s Services of their Local Authority (LA). The school can assist with this process through provision of a letter supporting the parental application or this can also be completed on behalf of the parent by the school.

This application must show that:

  • The child potentially has a special educational need (SEN)
  • The provision to meet this need will need to be made through an EHC Plan

By law, the LA must respond to this request within six weeks, so keep a copy of the letter and make a note of the deadline for this response. If the application has been refused, the parent can consider appealing to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal.

What types of assessment should I recommend?

Speech and Language Therapist

  • Difficulties with attention and listening skills
  • Difficulties with age-appropriate play skills
  • Difficulties with understanding language (e.g. following instructions, understanding words, questions and stories)
  • Difficulties using language (e.g. limited vocabulary, poor grammar, difficulty using complex sentences)
  • Difficulties with speech sounds (e.g. incorrect pronunciation of words, low intelligibility when speaking)
  • Difficulties with social skills (e.g. holding conversations, making friends, body language, eye contact)

Occupational Therapist

  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Slouching/slumping in seat
  • Needs lots of breaks
  • Poor focus in class
  • Difficulties with handwriting/pencil grip
  • Poor organisation skills
  • Difficulty with physical activities such as climbing, kicking a ball and jumping
  • Clumsiness

Educational Psychologist

  • Poor reading, writing and spelling
  • Specific difficulties with Maths or Numeracy
  • Obvious discrepancy between verbal and non-verbal skills
  • Overall lack of confidence in academic ability
  • Memory difficultiesAny other learning difficulties
  • Difficulties with concentration/focus

If you remain unsure about which is appropriate, call us on +44 (0) 207 467 9520 and ask to speak to a therapist.

What types of assessments do you provide?

We are able to provide the following assessments:

  • Autism Diagnostic Assessment
  • Dyslexia Assessment
  • Educational Psychologist Assessments (see ‘General FAQs’ for a list of EP assessment types)
  • General Developmental Assessment
  • Dyspraxia Assessment
  • ADHD Assessment
  • Speech and Language Therapy Assessment
  • Occupational Therapy Assessment
  • Feeding Assessment
  • Assessments for the purpose of Education, Health, and Care Plans
  • Legal Assessments

See the blurbs below for more details about the different types of assessment.

Autism Diagnostic Assessment

Time taken: 4 hours

The assessment involves:

  • General Development Assessment (1 hour – conducted by a developmental paediatrician)
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview (1 hour– conducted by a developmental paediatrician)
  • Autism Diagnostic Observations Schedule-2 (ADOS-2) (1 hour- conducted by 2 therapists)
  • Parent Feedback (1 hour – conducted by the developmental paediatrician)
  • Following assessment, there is a comprehensive report written up detailing the results of the assessments.

The assessment is conducted by our Consultant Paediatrician and ADOS-trained therapists.

Dyslexia Assessment

Time taken: 3 hours

This assessment takes approximately up to 3 hours including a break and is conducted by an Educational Psychologist. We also have a Dyslexia Specialist Assessor who assesses specifically for dyslexia only, for children between the ages of 7-13.

Educational Psychologist Assessment

Time taken: 3 hours (including a break)

Our Educational Psychologists can assess and provide advice for the following areas:

  • IQ, developmental, and/or academic learning
  • Learning difficulties
  • Specific learning difficulties (including dyslexia)
  • Language and Communication
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders and related social communication disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Education, Health, and Care Plan applications
  • Behaviour
  • Medico-legal work, including tribunals
General Developmental Assessment

Time taken: 1 hour

Assessments Used:

  • General Developmental Assessment forms

This assessment is conducted by our Consultant Paediatricians and Occupational Therapists.

Dyspraxia Assessment

Time taken: 90 minutes

Assessments Used:

  • Movement ABC
  • Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH)
  • Beery VMI
  • Informal Assessment and Observations
  • General Developmental Assessment

This assessment is conducted by our Consultant Paediatricians and Occupational Therapists.

Please note that the standardised assessments used for the Occupational Therapy assessment will be dependent on the age of the child and the type of referral provided by parents/ teachers etc.

Speech and Language Therapy Assessment

Our Speech and Language Therapists assess the following skills:

  • attention and listening,
  • play skills
  • following instructions,
  • vocabulary and word-finding difficulties
  • receptive (understanding) and expressive (use of) language,
  • auditory processing,
  • social communication skills, including: interaction with peers, taking turns, conversational sills,
  • speech sounds and sound awareness skills
  • stuttering/stammering

Time taken: 1.5 hours

Assessments used:

  • Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-4)
  • Renfrew Action Picture Test (RAPT)
  • ACE (6-11)
  • CLEAR Phonology Screen Assessment
  • Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology (DEAP)
  • Informal Assessment and Observation

Please note that the standardised assessments used will be dependent on the age of the child and the type of referral provided by parents/ teachers etc.

Occupational Therapy Assessment

Our Occupational Therapists assess the following skills:

  • gross and fine motor skills,
  • sensory processing,
  • attention and focus,
  • coordination,
  • independent living skills, such as dressing, handwriting, postural control and movement

Time taken: 2 hours

Assessments Used:

  • Movement ABC
  • Beery VMI
  • DASH
  • Sensory Profile Questionnaire (this is a parent questionnaire)
  • Robert Hedderly Sentence Completion Test
  • Informal Assessment and Observation

Please note that the standardised assessments used will be dependent on the age of the child and the type of referral provided by parents/ teachers etc.

Feeding Assessment

Time taken: 1 hour

This assessment aims to help identify potential causes of feeding difficulties in children who are ‘picky eaters’ or who have a restricted diet intake. Our therapists can then provide advice and strategies for home and suggest therapeutic approaches to managing feeding difficulties.

The assessment is carried out either by a Speech and Language Therapist who specialises in feeding difficulties, or an Occupational Therapist, or both.

EHCP Assessments

Our assessments and reports can be tailored for the purpose of Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP) applications. We are typically asked to provide the following assessments for EHCP applications:

  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Educational Psychology
  • Dyslexia

If you are unsure as to the type of assessment your child needs, your child’s school will generally be able to provide some recommendations. Otherwise, give us a call at +44 (0) 207 467 9520 or email us at wimpolest@londonchildrenspractice.com

Legal Assessments/Tribunals

Our experienced Speech and Language Therapists and Educational Psychologists are also able to provide in-depth assessment of your child’s needs for legal purposes, or for tribunals.

These assessments generally include the following:

  • Classroom observation
  • Direct Assessment
  • Parent Consultation
  • Extensive and Detailed Report

Therapist attendance at tribunals may also be possible.

For more information, contact us at +44 (0) 207 467 9520 or email assessments@londonchildrenspractice.com.

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