Speech & Language Therapy


For most of us, speech, language and communication are things we take for granted. We can use speech to articulate our thoughts, feelings and opinions in a clear manner. We can use language - words, grammar and sentence structure - to convey these thoughts, feelings and opinions. 

And we can use our speech and language skills to communicate to others what we are thinking and feeling. We do all this - without too much thought or effort.


In our department, we have two speech and language therapists, Heidi Vignalou and Verity Woodfield, and one speech and language therapy assistant, Molly Talmage. If you would like to know more about SLT at CGS, please contact the school and arrange to speak to one of our speech and language therapists.


For our pupils at Cricket Green school, speech, language and communication are areas of struggle. 

They may have difficulties in making themselves understood, using words and sentences. They may have difficulties in understanding what others are telling them. 

Some pupils may use challenging behaviour instead of verbal communication – as a result of their frustration from not being able to use words. And some pupils may not communicate at all, rather they sit passively until another person initiates interaction with them.  Without adequate speech, language and communication skills, pupils will have difficulties choosing friends and maintaining friendships, finding and keeping a job, and maintaining good mental health.


Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are specialists in the areas of speech, language and communication.  Here at Cricket Green, we focus on helping our pupils use these skills to improve their knowledge, social interaction, independence and participation in everyday activities. We help our pupils practise these skills in functional settings - mainly school and home:


* At school, the curriculum is modified in terms of pace, content and language. Using curricular topics, SLTs work with school staff to develop pupils' speaking and listening skills in paired, small group and classroom settings. SLTs also help develop pupils’ understanding of concepts within the curriculum, as well as their expressive skills. 


* At home, SLTs work with parents and carers to develop pupils' understanding and expression around routines and holidays.


In helping our pupils develop their speaking and listening skills, SLTs use two types of prompts: visual (including photos and symbols) and verbal prompts (modification of language from concrete to abstract). These are also used to assist pupils to develop their language skills and to access the curriculum.  For those pupils who are not yet using their speaking and listening skills, SLTs can support their learning by using alternative/augmentative communication (AAC) strategies, such as communication boards, Makaton signs, Talking Mats, PODD, PECS and simple voice output devices such as the Big Mack and Supertalker. 


In addition to working with our pupils directly, SLTs also conduct regular staff and parent training to help facilitate pupils’ speech, language and communication skills.