Skip to main content

Speech and language therapy for children with a disability

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) work with children who may have difficulties with communication, eating, drinking and swallowing.

They will show you ways to support your child’s communication or feeding skills.

Communication skills

The development of communication involves many skills including:

  • social interaction
  • play
  • movement of the mouth and speech
  • understanding language
  • how to express themselves

These may be the focus of your child’s speech and language therapy.

Communication skills change as we grow – babies cry, while older children can be more specific in their communication. There are many ways to communicate including the use of:

  • voice
  • words
  • sentences
  • gestures and signs
  • photos, pictures and symbols
  • specialised communication aids

What a speech and language therapist does

The speech and language therapist aims to work jointly with you to:

  • talk with you about your concerns regarding your child’s communication or eating, drinking and swallowing.
  • assess your child’s strengths and needs in the areas of communication, eating, drinking and swallowing.
  • provide opportunities, such as one-to-one or group therapy with other children or parent support groups, to help with development of your child's communication.
  • set short and long-term goals
  • link with other relevant services, for example, hearing assessments or assistive technology to enhance communicative abilities if required.
  • liaise with schools and teachers where appropriate to support language development and school curriculum.

page last reviewed: 10/05/2019
next review due: 10/05/2022