[PDF] Resource Manual for Commissioning and Planning Services for SLCN - Learning disabilities

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists - RCSLT
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
Publication date:
03 February 2012


1. Learning difficulty is a lifelong condition, which impacts on the individuals, educational, social, economic, and life choices. There is a high prevalence of communication and swallowing disabilities occurring in this population. 2. Service providers need to be aware of demographic factors associated with an increase in the numbers of individuals with learning difficulties, requiring support and treatment 3. Speech and language therapists have a unique role in identifying the social communication characteristics of importance to diagnosis, contributing to differential diagnosis and facilitating identification of retained abilities and comorbidities e.g. hearing loss 4. Difficulties with social communication is a predominant feature in reducing access to education, employment and social integration. 5. Communication difficulties are associated with increased prevalence of challenging behaviour. 6. Swallowing disorders associated with increased ill health, chest infections and reduced survival 7. Speech and language therapists should be integral members of the multidisciplinary team supporting children and adults with learning difficulties, their families and carers. 8. Interventions by speech and language therapists are set within a social model driven by principles detailed in Valuing People 9. Speech and language therapists have a key role in educating/training others involved in the care of those with learning difficulties including the family, health, education and social care staff. There is research evidence of the positive impact of speech and language therapists conducting training packages on the behaviour of others in promoting communication with persons with learning difficulty 10. There are critical periods in the life of a person with a learning difficulty, where additional speech and language therapy intervention may be needed. For example, primary to secondary school, death of a member of the family etc 11. There is evidence that the use of augmentative and alternative methods of communication are effective in facilitating communication and do not reduce speech production capabilities. 12. As part of all service delivery there is emerging practice and developing roles. Within Learning Disability this might include building capacity in other services and the wider community and helping services to make reasonable adjustments.