_0002_Speech and Language Therapy.jpg


We want everyone with Down syndrome to have access to syndrome-specific speech and language therapy to support communication and learning and to develop speech, language and social interaction skills, and eating and drinking skills.

Our specialist team is made up of highly experienced Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs), some of whom are leading experts in the field, and developing specialists. All of our speech and language therapy staff working in other services are knowledgeable about the syndrome specific profile of speech, language and communication needs associated with Down syndrome, and are supported with expert knowledge from our specialists.  We advocate that all speech and language therapy for people with Down syndrome should be informed by this knowledge.

Since 1998 we have been working with the Down syndrome community, speech and language therapists, and education staff to spread awareness of what people with Down syndrome achieve with the right support, and building services that provide this. Along with partners like local Down syndrome support groups and national organisations, we develop services, training, and resources that cater for the unique profile of strengths and challenges associated with Down syndrome.

We provide speech and language therapy for people with Down syndrome of all ages, including:

•       Speech and language therapy in schools commissioned by local authorities in London and the home counties

•       Intensive speech and language therapy ‘camps’ in conjunction with local support networks

•       Groups for teenagers and young adults with Down syndrome offering support with communication, relationships and identity using our CIRCLE model to achieve co-production

•       Consultations offering expert guidance on developing speech, language, communication and eating and drinking skills, and reports for EHCPs and other formal processes.

Co-worker Training Flyer 2019 (1).JPG

We developed the co-worker network to address the shortage of speech and language therapy for people with Down syndrome by training people with relevant experience to run speech and language groups organised by local networks and supervised by speech and language therapists with specialist knowledge about intervention for people with Down syndrome. Working with the Down Syndrome Development Trust, we support local networks, for example, local DS support groups, schools or school clusters, and early intervention services to set up groups. We provide the 3 day co-worker training course usually annually, in various locations.

We run an extensive programme of training to ‘Bring out the Best’- that is, to enable families, speech and language therapy services and education staff to deploy strategies that play to the strengths associated with Down syndrome, and to realise the communication potential of people with Down syndrome.

•       Our four day specialist development programme for speech and language therapists working with people with Down syndrome of all ages provides a comprehensive and in depth review of relevant literature about Down syndrome, the evidence base that informs speech and language therapy intervention, and discusses in depth tried-and-tested, evidence based strategies to address speech, language and communication skills, and eating and drinking skills. Each four 1 day modules provide participants with a knowledge base and practical strategies to not only provide speech and language therapy intervention with this population, but also to support colleagues to develop practise and improve outcomes. For the date of next course or to book your place, please contact  barbara.Flook@symbolconnect.co.uk.

•       Module 1 of the specialist development programme provides a comprehensive introduction to Down syndrome for all professionals (education staff, psychologists, researchers) including medical, social, and historical perspectives, and discusses in detail health and sensory impairments, the features of the communication profile and learning style associated with Down syndrome, and lifespan perspectives.

•       We provide 1 and 2 day training courses to speech and language therapy teams working with people with DS in specific age groups and settings (e.g. in mainstream schools, in early years services) and can devise bespoke training to meet local needs.

•       Our one day course ‘Working with Children with Down Syndrome in Mainstream Schools’ provides a rapid induction into what school staff may need to know to support a pupil with Down syndrome. For the date of next course or to book your place, please contact  barbara.Flook@symbolconnect.co.uk.

•       We also offer half day workshops  that education settings or local networks can buy in, looking at key areas in more depth including differentiation made easy, sensory processing issues and DS, alternative methods of recording, supporting speech and language skills through curriculum work, using visual strategies in schools, promoting positive behaviour, Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder, and more.

•       We look at supporting and developing communication in our 1-2 day courses: ‘Starting Out’ the early years, ‘We’re All in this Together’ in primary phase, and ‘Communication for Life’ with adolescents and young adults. Local networks can buy in these courses.

To book a place on any of our upcoming courses, or for more information on buying in courses, please contact barbara.Flook@symbolconnect.co.uk

What is syndrome specific speech and language therapy for people with Down syndrome and what interventions do you recommend? COMING SOON

Where is the evidence that syndrome specific interventions work? COMING SOON

How much is enough- specifying and quantifying speech and language therapy input in EHCPs and other documentation COMING SOON