A team of Speech and Language Therapists and Speech and Language Therapy assistants work across both of the college sites and provide individual, small group and integrated therapy approaches for students. The team support individuals with a range of complex communication difficulties associated with multiple and profound learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, acquired and progressive neurological disorders, hearing impairment, visual impairment and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Speech and Language Therapy team work as part of a multi-disciplinary team alongside education staff, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and an on-site nurse, to ensure that students receive a holistic and integrated therapy approach. The SLT team also deliver therapy within specialist therapy sessions such as Rebound Therapy and Hydrotherapy to further develop students’ skills and ensure that their experience and opportunities are maximised.
A Total Communication approach provided within the college, ensures that all methods of communication are acknowledged and supported. The Speech and Language Therapy team provide support and training for a range of communication methods including; BSL/SSE, Makaton, PECS, Intensive Interaction and a range of both high tech and low tech AAC devices. Therapy is integrated into all aspects of the college environment to ensure that students are supported to develop their communication and social skills.
Eating and drinking difficulties are supported by dysphagia qualified Speech and Language Therapists, who assess, monitor and manage students difficulties across the mealtime. Students also benefit from being supported by staff who are trained by the Speech and Language Therapy team, ensuring that they possess basic knowledge of dysphagia.
Ellie Stevens – Speech and Language Therapist
I completed my MSc degree and qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2015 from Queen Margaret University. I have been working at Hedleys College since May 2017. Before this, I worked in mainstream nursery and primary schools with a focus on supporting children with a variety of complex speech, language and communication needs including speech sound impairments, receptive communication difficulties and autism spectrum disorder. Following my move to the college I have been able to utilise my skills and experience to support young adults with complex learning and physical disabilities and have undertaken further training in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, PECS, BSL and smiLE therapy. I have undertaken an additional postgraduate qualification in dysphagia which allows me to assess and manage our students’ eating and drinking needs. I have a particular interest in supporting the integration of Speech and Language Therapy across the college curriculum and Fir Trees activities to ensure that students have maximum opportunities to achieve their outcomes.
Victoria McGuinness – Speech and Language Therapist
I completed my MSc degree and qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2010 from Newcastle University. I also hold an additional postgraduate qualification allowing me to assess and manage students’ dysphagia needs. I took my first role as an SLT with The Percy Hedley Foundation within Adult Services. Since this time, I have worked in both Australia and different parts of the UK, developing my skills whilst supporting both children and adults with complex learning and physical disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, challenging behaviour and eating and drinking difficulties. I am pleased to have returned to The Percy Hedley Foundation to support the students who attend Hedleys College. I am keen to ensure that my skills and experience can be used to support the development of students social and communication skills as part of their college placement.
Matt Muir – Speech and Language Therapy Assistant
I have worked at the college in various capacities since 2013, starting off as a learning support assistant before joining the therapy team as a speech and language therapy assistant. I also have a great deal of experience working with individuals with disabilities outside of the foundation, in education, social care and domiciliary care settings. I am a qualified speech and language therapist, having graduated in 2009. I also have a previous degree in computing science which added to my personal interest in AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) and particularly high tech communication aids means I am able to bring a great deal of technical knowledge to the team. In 2016 I became a rebound therapy trainer and am now working jointly with the college physiotherapy team in supporting communication during rebound therapy sessions. In addition to my therapy role I am also one of the college Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme leaders and have supported a group of students in achieving their bronze and silver awards. I believe very strongly in the potential for integrating therapy into this scheme in order to maximise potential for our students.