As fully qualified Speech and Language Therapists, both Gill and Rachel have a degree in Speech and Language Therapy. They are members of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. Both Gill and Rachel have experience in various areas of SaLT and chose to specialise in Deafness, studying a range of Postgraduate level courses to support their competency in this field.
Gill and Rachel support students in a range of ways at the Deaf Academy. They will assess your child’s speech, language and communications skills when they arrive and make recommendations based on their findings to your child, to you and Academy staff. Working closely with Academy staff, SaLTs raise awareness of your child’s level of comprehension and their expressive abilities so that they can be properly supported and encouraged to utilise their skill to the full. Throughout your child’s time at the Academy, their speech, language and communication progress and development will be frequently tracked.
Speech and Language Therapists are trained to support individuals (children and adults) with a wide range of developmental or acquired conditions that impact on speech, language and communication, for example children with learning difficulties; children with specific language impairments; adults following head injury or strokes; adults who stammer.
At the Academy, Gill and Rachel work with students, either individually or in groups, to focus on further developing skills. For example, improving a student’s listening skills using their cochlear implant or perhaps teaching further understanding and use of English grammar. They work closely with other specialist staff at the Academy to maximise speech, language and communication development such as the Educational Audiologist and Occupational Therapists.
In School, Gill and Rachel support your child by working jointly with teaching staff. Currently in Primary, they are working through a weekly group session and through regular 1:1 input as part of a Carousel system, where students work with one member of staff then move on to work with another. Full engagement and focus is expected for short blocks of time. The focus is on developing students’ English language skills through the use of Cued English and THRASS (Teaching Handwriting, Reading And Spelling Skills), teaching them the same phonological awareness skills as their hearing peers.
Deaf students need to have full access to spoken English, a sound-based language, in order to acquire age-appropriate reading, writing and Live English skills. Currently in Secondary, SaLTs work through a Live English programme supporting the development of English and the skills needed to communicate effectively in face-to-face, non-signing social contexts.
As Speech and Language Therapists, Gill and Rachel work with the Academy’s BSL Tutors to enhance your child’s development of both BSL and English to the best of their ability. This supports their communication as effectively as possible in both the Deaf and wider community, helping to shape their future independence and life after the Academy.