Speech and language therapy - for children and young people (0-19 years)

COVID-19 update

Service running via telephone and video calls where possible, with some face-to- face support available.

We are supporting children and young people with Education, Health and Care Assessment Plans (EHCP) predominantly through direct contact via their parent/carer using telephone, email and online video consultations. The therapists are able to provide resources and coaching on how to best support a child’s speech, language and communication difficulties. If feasible, assessment of progress and direct therapy is delivered via a video link. Therapists are also available to local authority colleagues and education staff to discuss individual cases and provide updates and advice as part of a collaborative approach. We are actively working towards reinstating some face-to-face contact informed by risk assessment and priority of need. 

For adults, please visit our adult speech and language therapy pages.

What is speech therapy? 

Our Speech and Language Therapists provide life-improving treatment, advice and support when children and young people are experiencing a range of communication, eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.  We work with children (0– 19) who may have difficulties with:

·       Understanding language

·       Using language

·       Communication  and interaction

·       Dysfluency (stammering)

·       Speech sounds

We also help children and young people who have eating and drinking difficulties. Some children we support may have other identified needs such as cleft palate, hearing impairment and special educational needs and disability (SEND).

How do we work?

Using specialist skills Speech and Language Therapists use a variety of methods to assess a child or young person’s needs and determine if further support is needed.  We work with you and other professionals such as teachers, early years setting staff, occupational therapists, doctors and heath visitors to provide quality care and the most appropriate support for your child. The support we provide to your child is based on their needs; it is individual to them. It is vital that the supportive approaches identified by the therapist are practiced at home with family encouragement and assistance.  

Education staff at your child’s early years or school setting are also key partners in supporting your child or young person by following the advice and personalised programmes of support provided by the therapist.

Where do we work?

The service works across Dorset and we aim to offer support in the most appropriate setting for your child. This may be in a health centre, children’s centre, school, nursery or at home.  A number of our appointments are offered virtually. We are a teaching trust and therefore it is possible that your child may be seen by a student Speech and Language Therapist under the direct or indirect supervision of a qualified Speech and Language Therapist.

Please see our locations for current clinic locations, which include details of accessibility and parking. 

How do you access the service?  

·       School-age children

we accept requests for our specialist support and advice from schools where targeted support by education professionals has not resulted in the expected progress. Paediatricians and other health professionals may also refer children for assessment and support for problems associated with hearing impairment, cleft palate, velopharyngeal impairment, swallowing difficulties and where a diagnosis of Autism is being considered.

·       Under 5's 

If your child is aged under five and you have concerns about the development of their speech, language or communication skills, please speak with your health visitor, GP or local children’s centre, nursery or pre-school. They will make some initial checks, and can refer your child to us for a specialist assessment if required.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech, language and communication needs, please contact your school, nursery or health visitor. For all other queries, contact our administration office on 01202 443208  or dhc.slt.queries@nhs.net

Ideas to support your child’s speech, language and communication


Talking Point



The Communication Trust

If you need to contact the service directly, please call 01202 443208.

Forms Paediatric speech and language therapy locations

Virtual therapy

Click on the links below to see a variety of speech and language video resources produced by our speech and language therapists to help children, young people and their families and others with activities, ideas and information relating to speech, language and communication disorders and delay.

Physical Health