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©2019 Sage Therapy Services

ASSESSMENTS

When planning for your child's future, it can be extremely useful to have detailed reports exploring their exact profile of skills and challenges. Our therapist is highly experienced in assessing children and young people’s communication, interaction and behaviour profile, and creating comprehensive reports which include personalised recommendations for the home and school environments.

These reports can be used to:

- create or enrich Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)

- set up a supportive education placement

- create smoother transitions between nurseries, classes or schools

- address a specific concern you have and come up with a plan to move forwards. 

Speech and Language Therapy reports: 

 

Our therapist assesses speech, language and communication needs through a combination of observations and assessments (both formal and play based). We structure reports around the ‘Communication Pyramid’ model of communication development:

 

Communication skills develop gradually, with more advanced skills resting on the foundations of skills provided at a lower level of the model. For some children and young people, there can be gaps in these foundational skills. It can therefore helpful to consider prioritising input at some of the lower levels of the model, before working on higher levels - we often see children making additional gains at higher levels without specific targets in that area. This is true for both children with lower language levels, and those that have a lot of spoken language but who still require support around their understanding of the world and interpersonal relationships. 

 

For further information on this approach, and how it relates to speech, language and communication needs, the booklet ‘Misunderstood’ by The Communication Trust (2011) provides a good summary and informative case studies

Behaviour reports and planning:

 

We assess behaviour that is challenging through a combination of data recording and analysis, observations, group discussions and direct work with the child (as appropriate).  The reports use the “5Ps formulation” format, allowing exploration of the factors of your child’s behavioural patterns - how they behave, what might trigger the problem behaviour, why they might keep using the behaviour and (most importantly) the strengths and support they have. 

 

This model also provides a basis for exploring intervention options, which are summarised at the end in a working draft behavioural plan. Our behaviour support plans use the ‘Phases of Behaviour’ model.  This means that we don’t just plan for the moments where everything has gone wrong - we also plan for more times when things are going right, and how to avoid the triggers our assessment identified. 

 

Behavioural assessments gather information to provide a ‘snapshot in time’ of a young person’s behaviour - this information works best when it is revisited, re-evaluated and revised on a regular basis. We offer ongoing training and support to guide you through this process as needed. 

We also assess children who use inappropriate sexualised behaviours. The process for this is a modified version of the process above. These reports and behaviour plans have been highly successful in reducing the risks of both safeguarding issues and legal risks that may arise from such behaviour. We are also able to provide support with policy creation and adaptations to Sexuality and Relationships Education curricula for children with speech and language needs or with diagnoses of autism.  

‘Communication Supporting Classrooms’ assessments:

 

Many of the common teaching approaches that teachers are taught make assumptions about how children learn (e.g. that children listen to and learn from the language addressed to the whole class, even when not told to by name). Autism and communication difficulties challenge some of these assumptions, and can make accessing lessons difficult for these children. 

 

The ‘Communication Supporting Classrooms’ observation tool was created using Government funding, allowing exploration of whether a classroom meets the needs of a young person with speech, language or communication needs. It explores the three factors shown in the diagram opposite, to give a measure of where a setting is doing well and create a plan for improvement. 

 

Our therapist worked with researchers at Northumbria University to create an autism-specific version of the tool, reflecting that children on the spectrum have a related but unique set of needs in an educational environment. These assessments allow us to create a detailed report of how a child copes in a classroom environment, and what additional strategies would help them access more learning and stay calmer.