Redesigning a speech and language therapy service in a school for emotional, behavioural disorders: perspectives of service users
This project takes a whole systems view of the challenges and opportunities for individuals working towards integration for children with speech, language and communication needs. The context involves collaboration across mental health and special education, to improve vocabulary outcomes for children attending a school for emotional, behavioural disorders. The facilitator of this project (student) viewed collaboration from a multilayered perspective, incorporating children, parents, school staff, operational and strategic levels of collaboration. Policy and the literature will be summarised to explore effective models of collaboration. Consultation with service users and the workforce led to the development of a whole school language approach, designed around the needs of children and their families. The facilitator used The HSE model (2008b) as an effective framework to analyse the change process. The facilitator adopted an action research methodology, alternating cycles of reflection and action. Evaluation involved multiple stakeholders in health, education sectors and service users providing feedback to inform further planning. This involved evaluation of SMART aim and objectives, in order to effect changes in the educational system. There are implications of this action research at clinical, research and policy levels. Children, parents and the wider workforce can effect changes in systems to mitigate the negative trajectory of speech, language and communication effects on all aspects of children’s lives. The key is making the inter-dependent journey together, adopting shared responsibility for communication impairment.