We treat all problems affecting; speech, language, communication, eating & drinking.

Learning difficulties

At Manchester SLT we treat children with learning difficulties with a range of speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties. Our specialist therapists provide individualised treatment plans to maximise the child's communication to their highest potential and to eat and drink as safely and independently as possible.

What are learning difficulties?

Learning difficulties refer to children who have reduced intellectual ability which affects their functioning of everyday tasks. Children with learning difficulties will have lower IQ's than their typically developing peers and will experience difficulties in one or more areas of their development.

Children with learning difficulties will often experience difficulties in their speech, language, communication and swallowing. The type and severity of their difficulties will vary for each individual.

Learning difficulties often occur before, during or shortly after birth and can be caused by disruption to brain development, genetic difficulties or trauma at birth e.g. lack of oxygen to the brain. There are number of developmental disorders which are classed as learning difficulties these include:

  • Down Syndrome
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy

Learning difficulties can range from mild, moderate, severe or profound and will affect each child in different ways. Learning difficulties are lifelong disorders and children will need support from a team of health professionals throughout their life, including speech and language therapists.

Children with learning difficulties will usually have significant impairment or delay in one or more areas of their development; this includes their physical, cognitive, play, emotional and speech and language development.

Speech and language therapy is beneficial in helping children with learning difficulties to communicate to their highest potential and support them in carrying out their everyday tasks as independently and effectively as possible.

What problems caused by Learning Difficulties in children can speech and language therapy help with?

There are many difficulties experienced by children with learning difficulties which speech and language therapy can help with, these can include:

  • Receptive language difficulties - difficulties understanding spoken or written language
  • Expressive language difficulties - any difficulties expressing spoken or written language
  • Speech disorders - any difficulties producing speech sounds
  • Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
  • Attention and listening problems - problems attending and listening to information
  • Social communication difficulties - any difficulties understanding and expressing communication in social situations including, body language, emotions, tone of voice, turn-taking in conversation and appropriate use of language.

Learning difficulties will also affect children in all areas of their life including their ability to access their learning and social environments.

How does speech and language therapy help children with Learning Difficulties?

Speech and language is highly beneficial for children with learning difficulties. Due to the range and severity of difficulties experienced by children with the learning difficulties, speech and language therapy goals will be different for each child.

The main goal of speech and language therapy will be to improve, develop and support any speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties. Speech and language therapy will focus on maximising the child's communication to their highest potential.

One of our speech and language therapists at Manchester SLT will carry out an initial assessment which will determine the type and severity of difficulties experienced by the child. An initial assessment will also identify how these difficulties are impacting on other areas of their development. Following an initial assessment an individualised treatment plan will be created which will be tailored to the child's specific needs and abilities.

At Manchester SLT our team of highly specialised therapists provide therapy which is fun and highly motivating for the child and will be created around the child's age, ability and interests.

There are a variety of treatment options available for children with learning difficulties. An appropriate treatment option will be chosen to suit the needs of the individual child. In milder cases a child with learning difficulties may be able to speak but have higher language learning difficulties which will affect their social interaction and completing more complex tasks. In such cases the speech and language therapist will focus on supporting the child's social communication and social skills.

In more severe cases, children with learning difficulties may not be able to talk at all, in such cases the speech and language therapist will work closely with the child and their parents / carers in exploring alternative ways of communicating. Alternative and Augmentative Communication is any way of communicating other than speech this may include sign language, pictures, symbols and high-tech aids e.g. electronic computers.

Other treatment options for children with learning difficulties may include:

  • Language programmes
  • Speech programmes
  • Eating, drinking and swallowing management
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Social skills programmes
  • Parent / carer groups
  • Pre-school communication groups
  • Advice support and training for parents, carers and other professionals
  • Training

Speech and language therapy at Manchester SLT is highly beneficial for children with learning difficulties. Our highly specialised therapists will provide individualised treatment programmes tailored to the specific needs and abilities of the child. Speech and language therapy will help to improve, support and develop any speech, language, communication or swallowing difficulties. Speech and language therapy will also have positive effects on other areas of the child's development including their play, social and emotional development.

How can I book a speech and language therapy appointment for a child with Learning Difficulties?

If you feel that speech and language therapy would be beneficial and would like to book an appointment with one of our highly specialised speech and language therapists please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing info@manchesterslt.co.uk or calling 0161 883 0111.

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