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Speech and Language Therapy is concerned with the management of disorders of speech, language, communication and swallowing in children and adults.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapists are Allied Health Professionals who  work closely with patients, parents, carers and other professionals including teachers, other therapists and multi disciplinary teams of medics and nurses.

We work in a variety of locations including:

  • Hospital wards
  • Out-patient departments
  • Mainstream and special schools
  • Children’s centres
  • Nurseries
  • Clients’ homes
  • Nursing homes

Within Newcastle Hospitals Therapy Services there are 3 Speech & Language Therapy departments.

Adult Speech & Language Therapy

A team of highly skilled professionals who deal with people with acquired communication and / or swallowing problems at all stages of the conditions. There are SLT’s based at the RVI, Freeman and in the community at Denton Park Health Centre. Our aim is to provide a smooth service for people through the stages of their hospital based care and then follow up at home or nursing home.

Some of the main disorders we deal with are:

  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinsonian syndromes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Motor Neurone disease
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Brain tumour
  • Head Injury
  • Stammering

We provide intensive community treatments for Aphasia (acquired language disorder) and group opportunities. Our service is involved in research programmes and we often look to recruit patients with Aphasia to receive specific treatments in order to understand which treatments work best for specific disorders.

We are one of the few SLT services in the North East to provide intensive Lee Silverman Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. This intervention achieves significant success for selected patients.

We offer one-to-one intervention for stammering and a friendly support group.

In the hospital setting we have regular access to videofluoroscopy and fibreoptic endoscopy for instrumental assessment swallowing problems.

Paediatric Speech & Language Therapy

Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Service provides expert guidance and support for children with speech, language or other communication problems. Our commitment is to help children communicate to the best of their ability and to minimise any negative impact on their families, as well as on their education and social lives.

Our geographical boundary is Newcastle but we do also treat children via regional services. We have access to videofluoroscopy for children with complex swallowing difficulty.

The range of problems we cover includes:

  • understanding or using spoken language
  • using speech sounds
  • chewing and swallowing
  • speaking fluently (stammering)
  • using appropriate communication skills
  • voice disorders
  • Our team of highly trained speech and language therapists and dedicated support staff ensure that a child receives the best possible healthcare and treatment, tailored to their individual requirements. We aim to provide advanced, child-centred, integrated support. We assess a child’s needs and work closely with parents, the child and other specialists to develop an individual care plan which links seamlessly to the child’s everyday activities, enabling them to continue their normal lives as much as possible.

The service sees children in their own home, school or nursery, as well as at the RVI and in specialist clinics across Newcastle. 

Regional Cleft Lip and Palate eam

The Regional Cleft Service Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team serves to assess, diagnose, treat and advise on speech, language and communication difficulties associated with cleft palate and velopharyngeal inadequacy (VPI) in babies, children and adults across the whole of the Northern region.

We work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside the cleft surgeon, cleft nurse specialists, clinical psychologists, orthodontists and a paediatric dentist. We also have close ties with audiology/ENT departments across the region and the genetic service.

There are 5 highly specialist SLTs within the Regional Cleft Service based at the RVI. In addition 2 highly specialist SLTs work in Cumbria and Teesside.

We provide assessment, diagnosis, treatment and advice to patients, families and other health professionals in the area of speech problems related to cleft palate and velopharyngeal inadequacy (VPI). This includes patients with specific syndromes (e.g. 22q11). We see patients of all ages who live in the North East of England and Cumbria. We are twinned with the service in Leeds and together make up the Northern & Yorkshire Cleft Lip and Palate Service.

When a baby has been diagnosed with a cleft palate +/- lip the specialist SLTs from this service will see the parents and baby in one of our regional multidisciplinary team clinics in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Middlesbrough or Carlisle to provide some early information and advice on how a cleft palate can affect speech and language development. We become more involved when the baby turns 12 months of age and will regularly review speech and language development in the early years between 0-3 years. We have close liaison with local community SLT teams across the region and onward referrals can be made if necessary for both delayed speech and language or for ongoing intervention for articulation difficulties related to cleft palate.

A child may also be referred to us by a local SLT for a second opinion regarding disorders of resonance and airflow and specific articulation problems without the presence of an overt cleft palate. We aim to see patients as close to home as possible in the first instance, and may also request that they come and meet other members of the cleft lip and palate multidisciplinary team at one of our regional clinics.

We also accept referrals for adults presenting with disorders of resonance due to either having been born with a cleft palate or acquired (e.g. following trauma to the palate).

The Regional Cleft Lip and Palate Service is committed to high quality care and is active in research and audit in this area.

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