Doncaster School for the Deaf Speech Therapy
Doncaster School for the Deaf Speech Therapy

In Speech and Language Therapy we believe that every pupil has a right to develop their communication skills to the best of their ability, using the most appropriate methods for them (be it speech, sign language, picture exchange or a combination of these). We aim to prepare them to communicate effectively with both hearing and other Deaf people in society.

Pupils are encouraged to use their personal hearing aids and cochlear implants throughout the day to enable them to communicate more effectively.


Speech and Language Intervention

All pupils have access to direct Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT), which is delivered on an individual basis or in small groups depending on the need of each pupil.  Therapeutic input is also provided within the classroom, to ensure teaching and support staff are confident in using recommended strategies, and staff also receive training from the SaLT team. 

Therapy focuses on improving various skills in order to optimise communication potential. These skills include:

  • Attention
  • Auditory training
  • Lip-reading
  • Understanding and use of spoken/written English
  • Use of voice and developing speech skills
  • Establishing and developing the use of assistive communication systems (e.g. PECS)
  • Conversation skills
  • Functional communication skills to get by in society and to improve confidence when communicating with non-BSL users.
  • Skills in emotional literacy and emotion regulation. This involves recognising and understanding emotions and strategies to regulate emotions effectively. 
  • Social skills, including making and maintaining friendships and relationships

Pupil’s needs are assessed through formal testing, observations and interactions with them, and liaison with relevant staff members and parents. The most appropriate means of supporting and developing their communication is then decided upon.  Many factors are taken into account when setting individual therapy targets, including current communication levels, motivation and potential to improve, and any additional needs to be considered.

In addition to developing listening skills and spoken language we use some of the following approaches with our pupils to encourage optimal functional communication based on their individual needs:


Reporting Progress

Progress is continually monitored, and therapy plans are adapted as and when required. Progress is discussed with pupils and colleagues and documented in Annual Review Reports with contributions to Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and individual targets.

We liaise with the audiologist, teachers and other staff who are directly involved with the pupils, and parents are welcome to arrange informal consultations with us in addition to parents’ evenings.

We also have strong links with and where needed work alongside other specialist teams (e.g. cochlear implant teams, Deaf CAMHs and local SaLT services). 

The Speech and Language Therapy Team

  • Emma Robinson, MMedSci, MHCPC, MRCSLT
    Speech and Language Therapist (Specialist in Hearing Impairment/deafness, Learning Disabilities and Autism)
  • Lauren Woodcock, BMedSci, MHCPC, MRCSLT
    Speech and Language Therapist (Specialist in Hearing Impairment/deafness, Learning Disabilities and Autism)
  • Emma Taylor, BMedSci, MHCPC, MRCSLT 
    Speech and Language Therapist (Specialist in SEMH, Learning Disabilities and Autism)
  • Lana Cook - Communication Specialist Teacher
    25 years of experience helping Deaf children improve their communication skills
  • Ruth Merrit, , Dip SLT, MHCPC, MRCSLT, ASLTIP - Consultant Speech and Language Therapist with over 30 years’ experience in deafness and 12 years’ experience in Cochlear Implants provides regular supervision and support to the onsite SaLT team.