Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapists offer support to children and young people where speech, language and communication difficulties are impacting on their ability to fully participate in daily life.

We take the lead on the assessment, differential diagnosis, and intervention with and management of children and young people with the following:

  • Speech, language and communication difficulties
  • Mechanical feeding and swallowing difficulties

Children & Family Health Devon provides a service for all GPs in Devon except for Plymouth, South Devon and Torbay.

If you are unsure about anything you can access information and advice via the Single Point of Access:

For South Devon and Torbay patients here

For Plymouth patients see here


If the child has a Stammer please refer them to us straight away. For other speech and language difficulties, evidence suggests that early intervention by the family or educational setting using the tool kits on our website can help resolve difficulties quickly without the need for a referral and intervention from a specialist service.

Parents will need to access the information and strategies on the website as a first step. This will enable them to ascertain that their child requires additional support in developing their speech, language and communication in the first instance, and will also provide strategies for them to use at home. In most cases, these strategies need to be tried for 3 months prior to referral to the service.

If the parents may struggle to access the toolkits themselves due to vulnerability/language etc please send a request into our single point of access and we will help them access the toolkits.

If the child's difficulties are urgent please send in a request to us straight away as well as directing parents to the tool kits on the website so they can begin to support their child while they wait.

These toolkits will enable families and those working with them to establish the extent of the child's level of need. The strategies themselves will allow early help to be implemented straight away. The information gained by the families from employing these strategies should be sent in with a request for services, if after trying them for the time suggested on the website there is little / no change. This additional information will inform a robust triage process to establish if a referral to our service is required.

Children aged from 2 years up to their 3rd birthday should be referred for a Let's Talk More screen which will be undertaken either by the Health Visiting team or at the Children's Centre. This will establish the nature and extent of the difficulties and inform the pathway required. The exception is if a child has a stammer, in which case please refer direct to us and a Let's Talk More assessment is not required.

For school age children and young people, schools have access to Speech Link and Language Link screening tools and you should encourage parent(s)/carer and school professionals to pursue this option.

You can contact our Single Point of Access on 0330 024 5321 (we are open from 09.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday) or visit our website for more information on our services. To help us make the right decision about where the child or young person is best supported it is important that you include information about severity, complexity and duration of their difficulties. This should include the impact on the child's life and whether there are multiple risk factors present.

Red Flags

If a child presents with a stammer (dysfluency) please refer to us immediately as well as direct parents to the self-help tool kits on the web site.


Children exist within a support network that includes home, school and other social settings and it is really helpful for us to have as much information about this as possible to help assist us in making decisions about what to do with your request.

As mentioned earlier we would expect to see evidence at the point of referral of what has already been tried. A guide to what should be considered can be found in section 2 of the request for services form on the website.

Consent for the referral should be obtained from someone with parental responsibility and / or, where appropriate the young person themselves.


Even after making a referral, you retain clinical responsibility for monitoring the referred young person until you have had confirmation from our services that we have seen them. Please put any necessary safeguards in place for example regular review appointments, or ensuring that relevant responsible adults are aware of the young person's needs. Please also remain in contact with us as to any significant changes in the young person's presentation that might alter our view of the urgency of their need.


Anyone can refer to Speech and Language Therapy including parents, young people themselves, school staff and other agencies. The person or agency who has the most information may be the most appropriate to make the referral.

Use the website to guide you to what information needs to come in with a referral.

Where possible please could all referrals be made using the request for services form. This form is available on some GP systems, we are rolling access out to all practices across Devon.

This helps you think about why you are referring and what outcomes are desired for the child you are referring and their family. It also ensures that you pass on the correct information about the child.

A consent form should also be included with the referral form if possible.

Forms that do not have sufficient information in them to allow us to undertake effective clinical screening will be returned to the referrer, the parent or another suitably placed person to provide this. This can delay processing a referral.

If you are unsure about anything you can phone into the Single Point of Access for support on making a referral:

Supporting Information

Pathway Group

This guideline has been signed off by Devon CCG.

Publication date: December 2019


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