BCHC staff with child and parent image


Children's Speech and Language Therapy

Referrals information

Specialist support to children (0-19) with a range of specific speech, language and communication difficulties and those with difficulties swallowing, eating and drinking.

SLT referrals


SLT referrals banner

We provide evidence-based support to children (0-19) with a range of specific speech, language and communication difficulties and those with difficulties swallowing, eating and drinking. Please find the referral form on the right-hand side of this page. The following information will guide you through our criteria and answer some frequently asked questions.


Referrals: frequently asked questions

Who can refer to the service?

Referrals can be made by anyone with parental permission. They will be forwarded to the relevant team and managed in line with the Balanced System® approach. However, it will also be possible to access speech and language therapy support directly for children where there are concerns regarding their communication:

  • For school aged children SENCO's or Communication teams will be able to raise concerns with their assigned link SLT to receive advice and agree referrals as necessary.
  • For early years (pre-reception aged) children, we are working towards a model where parents can be sign-posted to a local drop-in session, run by a speech and language therapist. However currently all appointments are being booked so please continue to refer as usual until we are able to confirm times and venues for regular drop-ins.

For children with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties: 

  • A referral form is required for all new referrals for eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.  
  • If you are considering making a referral, please review our pre – referral checklist which can be found on our website. This will help you to identify if and when it is appropriate to make a referral to our service or signpost you to advice that may be appropriate to offer in the first instance. 
  • We will consider each referral based on the information you give us and decide the best next steps for the child. This could be in the form of a telephone conversation to offer advice and support, sending a letter to signpost you to further advice, or placing the child on a waiting list for an assessment.

If you have any further questions about making a referral to the Children’s Speech and Language Therapy service, please contact our advice line on 0121 466 6231.


Do you need parental consent?

We require parental consent for the referral. Consent includes allowing the Speech and Language Therapist to observe in setting (nursery or school), discuss progress with support staff around the child and share relevant information across health and Local Authority Children's Services staff as necessary.  Our eating, drinking and swallowing referrals no longer need medical consent.


How will I know when you have received a referral for my child? 

When a referral is received, it is added to our system to be screened by a therapist. This should take place within two weeks. You will receive a letter telling you whether it has been accepted or rejected. All letters will contain signposting to additional resources and rejection letters will explain the reason for the rejection and provide information for next steps.


speech and language therapy image


Who do you accept referrals for?

The SLT service works with children with specific speech, language and communication needs and those with difficulties swallowing, eating and drinking.


When does the service not accept a referral?  

The SLT service does not accept referrals for the following: dribbling; written language difficulties (dyslexia); diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder outside of a multidisciplinary team.


How long do I have to wait for an appointment?

There is a target wait time of 18 weeks for an initial assessment for children with communication needs and eating and drinking difficulties. This is being achieved for many children, however longer waits are being experienced in some teams. There is a small group of children whose needs pose a risk to their health, who are identified at referral and seen more quickly.

You can contact the SLT admin team to get an update on waiting times on 0121 466 3370.


Do you accept referrals for children who speak other languages?

Yes. Please indicate the child and parent/carer's main languages on the referral form, or tell us when you call to arrange an appointment so that we can book an interpreter, as needed.


My child attends a special school, how do I refer?

If you have concerns about your child’s communication or abut the safety of their eating and drinking, please speak to your child’s school who can put a referral in on your behalf. 

SLT in special schools leaflet


Where will my appointment be?

Appointments for school age children are typically taking place in schools with some also being offered in community clinics. Appointments for pre-school children are typically taking place in Children’s Centres or other community bases including clinics.

These will usually be offered face to face, but telephone and video calls are also available.


What do I do if my child is ill on the day of the initial appointment?

Please phone the telephone number on your appointment letter as soon as possible to cancel the appointment. You will then be given the opportunity to re-book at a different time.

Our patients and their carers and families are the reason we're here, so we want to hear your views about the Trust and our services.