12 things I hate about indirect speech therapy

1) She has enough challenges in her learning without diverting her teacher to be a ‘shadow speech therapist’

2) She has enough challenges engaging  with her peers without diverting her teaching assistant to be a ‘shadow speech therapist’

3) You’re trading quantified targets (e.g. speech sounds) against softer unspecified goals (e.g. answer a question in class, tell a joke). One is not necessarily more  important than the other. Delayed kids need to learn on many levels at once (unless you’ve ‘given up’ on them catching up).

4) It stinks of shuffling expenses from one departmental budget to another without actually saving anyone any money.

5) I wasn’t told this plan. I found it out through questioning. 

6) Lines of accountability. Who is responsible if therapy is not done or done wrong?

7) Parents are estranged from the process: they don’t see the therapist, therapist doesn’t know how kid is engaging – everyone less likely to talk/pass on homework/share observations.

8) Targets will be updated based on how frequently the therapist re-assesses the child rather than how quickly the child meets the targets. A kid with seriously delayed speech doesn’t have months to waste waiting for reviews.

9) Not evidence based. Research shows that indirect therapy less effective. If budgets are tight, better to work in small groups with a SALT, or use a SALT assistant.

10) Musical chairs giving everyone someone else’s job. The SALT writes reports and doesn’t SALT. The teacher SALTs based on the instructions in the report and doesn’t teach. I teach based on what the school report says she doesn’t know and I don’t Mum.

11) A school linked speech therapist should have an amazing role at the heart of school’s support strategy – reducing frustration for pupils and staff. Really wrong to turn this into a way to offload healthcare provision obligations onto education staff.

12) She has a right to education. Her speech delay makes it harder for her to learn. Her learning resources shouldn’t be bartered away to make up gaps in healthcare budgets. And if they are, I should be told in good time and pointed towards which fence I should chain myself to.

The edited version of the letter I actually sent is HERE.

2 thoughts on “12 things I hate about indirect speech therapy

  1. Direct versus indirect and individual versus group modes of language therapy for children with primary language impairment: principal outcomes from a randomized controlled trial and economic evaluation

    Boyle, McCartney, O’Hare and Forbes
    NHS funded RCSLT cited research study


    Indirect language therapy for children with persistent language impairment in mainstream primary schools: outcomes from a cohort intervention.
    International Journal of Language and Communication

    McCartney, Boyle, Ellis, Bannatyne and Turnbull
    NHS funded RCSLT cited research study http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/16466/1/strathprints016466.pdf


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