Monday, 14 July 2014

Speech and Language Therapy: a need for clearer guidance?

We have today written to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists' (RCSLT) Chief Executive, Kamini Gadhok, to raise concerns about speech and language therapy practices which may arise within the SEN process. You can read our letter here.

There are many excellent speech and language therapists (SLTs), often working on very tight budgets with limited resources but, sadly, the ERA has also heard uncannily similar complaints from different parts of the country about the way SLTs sometimes work with local authorities. These concerns include:

  • an assumption that the SLT working for the LA will inevitably give evidence to support the LA's case - a position seemingly acknowledged by the RCSLT's current SENDIST guidelines;
  • confusion about the law relating to information exchange as per the Data Protection Act and the common law duty of confidentiality;
  • the provision of reports by SLTs who have never personally met or assessed the child to whom the report refers or reports which are updated without seeing the child;
  • claims that telephone calls to schools constitute therapy visits;
  • a lack of transparency in the working of SLTs and LAs and the exclusion of parents from communications;
  • the failure to quantify and specify provision as required by the law; and
  • an absence of evidence based practice in the setting and measuring of targets and outcomes.

We understand the RCSLT is planning to develop new guidelines in relation to SEN work and we are asking for the opportunity to share our views. We believe strongly that contracts betwen SLT services and local authorities should not be allowed to undermine duties to the patient.

We shall keep you posted on developments but please do contact us ( if you would like to share your experience.

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