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In Summary

Symbol offers a range of specialist speech, language and communication assessments, intervention and support to children and adults with a wide range of special needs.  Specialist assessment and intervention is also available for eating, drinking and swallowing needs.

The speech and language therapy service prides itself on having a breadth of skills and experience with speech and language therapists working alongside highly experienced and trained assistants and co-workers.  This enables us to provide high-quality, cost-effective services, and to respond to the challenges of seeking to recruit staff in shortage professions.

The service strives to provide excellent intervention underpinned by evidence-based practice. Symbol recruits staff who are committed to respecting and responding to client’s needs, and supports them to develop their skills and the services in which they work by: supporting the whole person; maximising opportunities to learn through training, research and collaboration; and cultivating innovative ideas so that staff take forward, test, and develop new ways of working. All staff receive clinical supervision, and all work is quality assured through appropriate processes and structures.

The services are commissioned by the NHS, Local Authorities, early years settings, schools, colleges and voluntary sector organisations. Core services operate across the south east. In addition our consultancy and training is available nationwide. Families and parent groups are also able to directly fund our services.


Symbol works in partnership with commissioners to develop services to best meet the needs of clients, families and the workforce. Collaboration begins with a discussion and review of needs, followed by generation of an action plan that fulfils requirements and makes best use of available resources.

Symbol’s team of over 30 speech and language therapists, specialist assistants and co-workers provides cost effective, evidence-based consultation, workforce development, assessment and intervention to make a demonstrable difference to the lives of children, young people, adults and their families/carers.  We specialise in working with people of all ages who experience disadvantage associated with a range of special needs, in particular, learning disabilities and physical disabilities. Our work supports clients to develop their skills and confidence, to make choices about how to live their lives, and improves their opportunities to engage with and contribute to the community. Our teams and services are tailored to local needs and led by senior speech and language therapists.

We offer a range of services:

1.    Assessment and Intervention (Direct work)

  • Service provision in a range of special schools, including those for pupils with autism spectrum disorders, moderate and severe learning disabilities, hearing impairment, visual impairment and physical disability
  • Supporting students in mainstream schools and Colleges of Further Education
  • Providing specialist consultations and intervention programmes for children and young people with Down Syndrome
  • Early years services, including Children’s Centres
  • Developing life skills with teenagers and adults
  • Supporting adults in a range of community settings
  • Working with young offenders
  • Providing specialist assessment of parents attending Symbol Family Support Services

2.   Staff Training

  • Developing staff knowledge, skills and confidence in a range of settingS
  • Training co-workers and specialist speech and language therapists to support children, young people and adults with Down syndrome
  • Specialised short courses in, for example, Augmentative and Assistive Communication, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, Challenging behaviour, Effective working in schools, Person Centred Communication, Visual communication strategies and Management of eating and drinking disorders

3.    Service Reviews

  • Providing independent reviews of speech and language therapy provision in several local authorities.

4.    Partnership Work

  • Partnership working with organisations such as I CAN, DSA, NSPCC, The Communication Trust

5.    Clinical Supervision

  • Providing clinical supervision to SALTs directly employed by a number of schools

6.     Consultancy

Symbol staff have a range of specialties including eating and drinking, autism spectrum, augmentative          communication, challenging behaviour, Downs syndrome and hearing impairment as well as involvement in research and high levels of awareness of the national context.  As a result Symbol additionally provides consultancy in the forms of:

  • Workforce development and training throughout the UK
  • Support to other organisations in meeting the national agenda as well as the needs of individuals. 


We are currently working in partnership with:

  • Local Authorities -Kent, Hillingdon, Croydon, Reading, West Sussex, Hampshire, Ealing
  • Specialist speech and language therapy provision to local parent-led language groups, providing intensive, specialist interventions for pre-school and school aged children and young adults who have Down syndrome in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire.
  • Disabilities Trust – specialist residential and day care provision for adults who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Special schools - Ingfield Manor School, Bedelsford, Hedgewood, Pebblebrook, Wyvern, Prior’s Court, Chiltern Wood, MacIntyre, LVS Oxford, Abingdon House
  • Mainstream schools – Cippenham, Newline Learning, Penn wood, Thameside, St Anthony’s, Priory, Tolworth, Abbotsfield, Ark Primary, Orleans, Strand on the Green, Glebe Primary
  • Early Years settings – Baylis Court Nursery, Windmill CC, South Acton CC
  • East Berkshire Youth Offending Teams
  • Sussex Downs College
  • The Orpheus Centre


In addition to ongoing services described, we are able to utilise the specialist skills within our teams to undertake assignments, projects and specialist commissions.  These have included:

  • Specialist support to the NSPCC Regional Investigation Service– working with investigation teams to facilitate communication by young people with a learning disability who may have been subjects of abuse
  • H .M. Prisons: Young Offender Services – project to assess the incidence of hearing and communication problems of young offenders, and to identify the need for speech and language therapy services to this population.
  • The Communications Trust Consortium member of national umbrella organisation for those with an interest in supporting those with speech, language and communications needs developed a resource pack on meeting the needs of pupils with communication difficulties in primary education settings; developed materials to support teachers implementing the phonics screening test; developed a website to help parents understand the Better Communication research programme – www.bettercommunicationforparents.org
  • Production of a video “Now We’re Talking” aimed at parents and professionals to raise expectations about the communication skills of children who have Down syndrome, part funded by “Danny’s Challenge” and distributed by the Down’s Syndrome Association.
  • I CAN Early Years Accreditation Scheme – consultancy work to develop an accreditation system for specialist early years provision for children who have specific language impairment.
  • Specialist and complex client assessments.
  • Service reviews to assist commissioners in reviewing and designing new services.
  • Packages of training and consultancy support for key areas of need.
  • Development of national specialist services, including Intensive Speech and language therapy holidays for Children who have Down Syndrome.


Email:           info@symboluk.co.uk

Telephone:  01622 859216