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Language Intervention Team (SALSA Outreach)

The Language Intervention Team (LIT) support pupils that may have difficulties with their speech, language or communication skills. They visit schools in Southampton and liaise closely with school staff as well as working with pupils either individually or, in small groups.  They are a peripatetic team who receive clinical supervision from a specialist Speech and Language Therapist.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Helen O’Donovan
Contact Position
023 8083 2270

Where to go

Start Point Sholing
Wood Close
SO19 0SG
Children's Centre Areas

Local Offer

Service Provider Extended Local Offer Response

What does your service do?

The Language Intervention Team is made up of 6 Speech and Language Schools Assistants (SALSA’s) who are managed by a Lead SALSA and receive clinical supervision and support from a specialist Speech and Language Therapist.

We work with schools to meet the speech, language or communication needs (SLCN) of children and young people across Southampton City and parts of Hampshire.

We offer targeted pupil assessments and interventions to develop skills and boost children’s progress in individual, group and whole-class contexts. We may work with children from early years to further education, and provide training, support, advice and resources for education staff.

We know that:

-       Two thirds of 7-14 year olds with significant behavioural difficulties have a language impairment (Bercow, 2008)

-       At least 60% of youth offenders were found to have previously unidentified speech, language or communication needs (Bryan & Mackenzie, 2008)

-       Underlying speech processing difficulties can cause literacy difficulties to emerge even at the age of 8 years (Dodd et al, 1993)

-       25% of Year 6 children with speech, language or communication needs achieve Level 4 English, compared to 80% of the general population (Bercow, 2008)

“A language problem at Key Stage 1 ‘becomes’ a literacy problem at Key Stage 2 and a behavioural difficulty at Key Stage 3”                                           (Jean Gross, 2010)

The aim of the Language Intervention Team is to develop the child’s speech, language and communication skills to their full potential, and then to support education staff to maximise these skills for positive social interaction and learning.

Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

The Language Intervention Team (LIT) provides services to children and education staff on school premises and at training venues across Southampton.

Hampshire schools are also able to access the service through individually agreed school funding.

Who does your service provide for?

The Language Intervention Team (LIT) is primarily a school-based service, providing intervention and support to mainstream settings with some outreach to feeder preschools where required.

We specialise in educational support for children with primary communication difficulties, supporting children with speech and language impairments to access the Curriculum more fully.

We can also offer training and advice for educational staff on integrating targets and providing an inclusive educational environment for children with wider communication needs.

Additional and bespoke support can be accessed by any mainstream school through individually agreed contracts (Service Level Agreements).

How can I start using the service?

Language Intervention Team (LIT) services are available to schools through Service Level Agreements, and visits to work with children are usually organised on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

Training for staff can be arranged on an ad hoc basis, to coincide with twilight or Inset sessions as required.  Schools wishing to access these services can contact the Team on the details below.

Parents/Carers wishing for their child to access LIT services should make contact with their school SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator) in the first instance, who will be able to provide more information on the individual school’s agreement.

Once a Service Level Agreement is in place, a member of the Language Intervention Team will visit the school at the agreed frequency and children will be seen based on prioritisation of their needs.

How are decisions made about who can use your service?

The Language Intervention Team (LIT) accepts referrals directly from schools who have a Service Level Agreement in place. Referrals must be fully completed and signed by both the referrer and a parent/carer to confirm consent for LIT involvement.

All referrals will be accepted by the Team and an initial assessment completed. Following this, a child may be taken onto the caseload for further input if required. If no intervention is required, they will be discharged straight away.

A child will be discharged from the caseload when their speech and language skills are in line with their wider development and when school staff are able to understand and support their needs effectively without further LIT involvement.

Should a school decide to terminate their Service Level Agreement, a LIT practitioner would no longer be able to visit and children on that caseload would be discharged with the recommendation that school staff continue to follow advice and targets provided.

Copies of assessment, review and discharge paperwork are sent home to Parents/Carers via school and these include contact details for the relevant LIT practitioner should there be any queries. Arrangements to meet can also be made via the school SENCo.

How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making/planning?

Language Intervention Team practitioners work closely with each school’s SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) in order to best meet the needs of both the individual child and the school as a whole. Regular opportunities for feedback and joint-planning are provided via questionnaires, school agreement plans and informal discussion.

Parents/Carers are kept informed through written paperwork shared via the school, and through face-to-face or telephone discussion as required. Accessible information leaflets are distributed at referral and we work closely with Bilingual Assistants where a family’s first language is not English. Makaton (a simplified form of sign language) is used consistently to support children and families with learning difficulties.

Schools are also able to request a low-key parent information session aimed at understanding the importance of language for literacy. Delivered by a LIT practitioner, parents and carers are supported to make the link between simple everyday tasks and the positive impact on later language and literacy learning.

Is your service fully accessible?

Language Intervention Team (LIT) services are delivered in the day-to-day educational environment, which is typically able to offer access for each child’s individual needs. School staff usually inform the Team of any key requirements, such as the use of glasses or a hearing aid – however, we would encourage Parents/Carers to include any specific information on their child’s referral form in order that we can ensure their needs are appropriately met.

Training courses are provided either at a school’s own site, or at approved training venues offering appropriate facilities.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

All Language Intervention Team (LIT) practitioners have current DBS certificates and are required to attend regular training with the City’s Safeguarding Team. We are guided by a specialist Speech and Language Therapist who is a member of the R C S L T so our work is guaranteed to be based on current best practice.

Within the Team, we have a wide variety of skills and experience including practitioners with teaching backgrounds and experience in the mental health sector. Most practitioners hold degree level qualifications in a related area (such as child development, psychology or education) and have practical classroom experience within both mainstream and special educational settings. All LIT practitioners will have a minimum of Foundation Level Makaton training.

How will I know my child will be safe using this service?

All Language Intervention Team (LIT) practitioners undergo pre-employment checks and are required to hold current, Enhanced Level Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) certificates, which confirm that there is no known reason why they should not work with children.

Services are provided on school sites, usually alongside members of school staff and within an environment that is familiar and purpose-built for the safety requirements of children and young people.

How do I give feedback, make comments or raise concerns?

We are continually developing our Service and welcome any positive feedback, comments and suggestions for improvement.

Parents/Carers:                                                                                               Parents/Carers wishing to discuss individual targets can contact their named practitioner via: 

Helen O’Donovan
023 8083 2270

Schools:                                                                                                                           School staff wishing to discuss matters relating to their specific caseload can contact their named practitioner via:

Helen O’Donovan
023 8083 2270

Training:                                                                                                                               For training enquiries, please contact:

Helen O’Donovan
023 8083 2270

General Enquiries:                                                                                                              For all other enquiries, queries or complaints, please contact:

Helen O’Donovan
023 8083 2270

Who can I contact for further information?

Please use the contact information given above.

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