Skip to main content

City Hospitals Sunderland Speech and Language Therapy Service (SALT)

City Hospitals Sunderland Speech and Language Children's Therapy Service is part of Therapy Services.  It is for children and young people aged 0 - 19.  Speech and language therapists are trained to help children to develop their speech, language and communication skills.

They can develop:

  • attention and listening
  • play skills
  • understanding and using spoken language
  • recognising and producing correct speech sounds
  • using language and communication socially
  • other ways of communicating, e.g. using signing, symbols, communication aids
  • voice production
  • fluency
  • feeding, eating and drinking and swallowing

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.
Appointments outside these hours can sometimes be made by special arrangement.

Criteria for access
Access and referral route
The Speech and Language Therapy Service has an open referral system which means that both parents and professionals can refer directly.  Children can access therapy from birth, e.g. babies / infants with cleft palate, feeding and swallowing difficulties, certain syndromes (Downs syndrome), cerebral palsy and at any time throughout their school life.  The nature of the intervention will change with the child and family's changing needs.  The majority of SALT referrals are made by Health Visitors and Education staff with the most common time for referral being two and a half to three and a half years old.

Universal services
There are currently no universal services commissioned within Sunderland CCG contract.  

Targeted services
Educationally, emotionally, physically, socially vulnerable children / young people.  The aim of SALT intervention at this level is to help the children to overcome their difficulties and attain an age appropriate level of communication skills; referred to SALT in accordance with current guidelines:

Locality based services:

  • 5 geographically based teams - Central Sunderland, Ryhope, Southwick, Houghton-le-Spring, Washington.  Services are delivered to children in clinics, nurseries, schools and home as approproate to individual needs.
  • Assessment and diagnosis of Speech Language and Communication (SLC) needs.
  • Advice, intervention and discharge including special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) related activities.
  • all intervention involves a partnership between child, therapist and parent and / or teacher and others involved
  • An individual child's pathway through the service is likely to include a variety of interventions, e.g. individual / group intervention, active support, review.
  • SALT targeted screening sessions are provided to children in Foundation Stage settings during spring term to identify children in need of referral into the service and to provide nurseries with advice / activities to assist language development.
  • A very limited level of service is available for young people of secondary school age (11 - 16 years), the majority of resources being targeted towards younger children.
  • Onward referral to other professionals, e.g. Paediatrics, ENT, Educational Psychology in accordance with identified needs.

Support and intervention from non SALT staff:

  • Support from nursery and school staff for specific SALT programmes - informally or through the child's Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Support from the Local Authority's Partnerships to complement SALT or work alongside them (e.g. raising achievements and providing an appropriate curriculum for children with SLC difficulties by training and advising school staff).
  • Training packages planned and delivered by Education - targeting school staff and covering a wide variety of topics related to language and communication
  • Input from the Local Authority (LA) Portage Service which aims to develop children's skills in all areas including language.  By working together, this service can support SALT by providing more regular help to parents working on language targets.
  • Specialist LA teams providing support e.g. Language and Learning, Behaviour Team - assessment / management.
  • Other Allied Health Professional Services
  • Referral on for multi disciplinary assessment for young children (e.g. ASD Diagnostic pathway).

Specialist services
Specialist City Wide Services:

  • Services are provided from a number of centrally based, disorder focused teams, e.g. Physical / Medical Disabilities, Complex Language and Learning, Specific Language Disorder (SLI), Autistic Spectrum Disorder (up to the end of key stage 2), Hearing Impairment, cleft lip and palate, voice problems and are delivered to children in their school, nursery, hospital or own home, as appropriate to need.
  • Assessment and diagnosis in SALT or multi-disciplinary team settings including SEND related activities.
  • Medium - long term intervention responsive to individual need.
  • Medium - long term support provided to child / family / school.
  • Integrated team working, e.g. Autism Outreach Team, Language and Learning Team.
  • Training provided to parents, nurseries / schools and other Health staff concerning specific conditions / disorders or centring on an individual child's need, e.g. Makaton training.
  • Assessment for and Provision of Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC) - low or high tech Communication Aids - and support in enabling their effective use.
  • Assessment and intervention with feeding, eating, drinking and eating difficulties.
  • Access to Specialist assessments, e.g. Videofluoroscopic Swallow Clinics, Feeding Clinic.
  • Close collaboration with colleagues in education, health and social care plus the child's key communication partners in relation to intervention.

Support and intervention fron non SALT staff:

  • Multi-disciplinary feeding clinic and nutritional teams (City Hospital Sunderland based) to assist with the management of children with feeding / swallowing difficulties.
  • Regional Communication Aid Service (RCAS) based at Hunter's Moor, Newcastle for highly specialist assessment for communication aids, ACE North, Regional Medical Physics.
  • Regional Specialist Medical Services, e.g. Paediatric Surgery, Regional Cleft Palate Team, Paediatric Cardiology, Respiratory, Neurology, ENT.
  • The Autsim Outreach Team includes SALT and other professionals and can be accessed for advice and support.
  • Other specialist Education Teams providing support, e.g. Language and Learning, Physical and Medical, Sensory Impairments, Behaviour Team - assessment / management.
  • Referral on for multi-disciplinary asessment for young children (e.g. ASD Diagnostic pathway).
  • Self-help groups, formal and informal - parents whose children have similar difficulties / disorders supporting each other.
  • Input from the Portage Service which aims to develop children's skills in all areas including language.  By working together, this service can support SALT by providing more regular help to parents working on language targets.

Who to contact

Main contact: 0191 569 9009

Where to go

The Children's Centre
Durham Road

Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
0-4 (Birth to Pre-School)
5-10 (Primary School)
11-16 (Secondary School)
16-18 (Transition into Adulthood)
18-25 (Young Adults)
SEN Provision Type
Sunderland City Council and Together for Children Sunderland do not recommend or endorse any providers or services listed. Please read our full Disclaimer here.
Back to top