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Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) are key members of the multi-disciplinary Community Adult Learning Disability Team.  SLT’s working with adults with learning disabilities are experts in the management of both communication difficulties and dysphagia (eating/drinking and swallowing difficulties).

SLT’s have three key roles in supporting adults with learning disability:

1. Communication 

  • SLT’s work closely with service users who have communication difficulties and their families, carers and the core multi-disciplinary team.  Intervention may include assessment of communication abilities, with the subsequent provision of reports, advice, communication profiles and appropriate intervention programmes.  Intervention may be direct on an either individual or group basis, or indirect, via staff, carers or families.  Intervention programs can include intensive interaction, individualized sensory environments, development of visual resources such as social stories, communication passports, schedules, objects of reference and TEACCH systems as well as Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems.  AAC may be either low –Tec (e.g. communication books / symbol systems) or hi-tech such as the use of IPad or eye gaze technology.  SLT are key in the promotion and facilitation of the use of Makaton, which is a communication system widely used by those with LD.

2. Dysphagia

  • SLT provide expert support to those presenting with difficulties with eating, drinking and swallowing.  Assessment and management is person centred and includes extensive liaison with service users, families and carers as well as the wider MDT.  SLT’s will complete an eating, drinking and swallowing assessment. This can take place at home or during access to day time services. Following assessment, SLT’s provide recommendations to help promote a safe eating, drinking and swallowing regime and reduce the likelihood of aspiration and/or choking and the associated consequences.

3. Hearing screen 

  • SLT’s can carry out a hearing screen assessment. Hearing screening can help identify hearing loss which can greatly impact upon communication. If any hearing difficulties are identified during the hearing screening, SLT’s can support with the referral for further investigations.


A Speech and Language Therapist:

  • helps you with your communication.
  • can help you to use speech, signs, and pictures. This will make it easier to tell people what you think.
  • can help other people to use speech, signs and pictures with you.
  • can check your hearing.
  • can help you with your eating, drinking and swallowing.
  • will watch you eating and drinking.
  • can talk to you about foods which are easier to eat.
  • can talk to you about how to make drinks easier to take.


  • Copies of leaflets/information sheets
  • routes to access the service

    If you require the support of a Speech and Language Therapist, there are many ways you can access the service.  Referrals are accepted by:

    • self- referral
    • case manager
    • GP
    • Key workers
    • Family/ carers

    Contact your local Speech and Language Therapy Team for advice

  • Referral criteria
    • Confirmed Diagnosis of Learning Disability
    • Resident in The Southern Health and Social Care Trust area

    (Learning Disability defined as an IQ of below 70, or have a confirmed diagnosis of ‘significant’ or ‘severe’ impairment in cognitive function (below the threshold of full scale IQ<70) and an equivalent deficit in social functioning). IQ assessment must be completed by a SHSCT Psychologist.

  • Videos

    Strive to Meet the Five DVD

    AHP’s working in Adult Learning Disability Services

  • Makaton Signing/ Easy Read
  • Events & photographs
  • Contact Details

    Newry & Mourne Community Adult Learning Disability Team

    Drumcashel House

    2a Rathfriland Road


    BT34 1HU

    028 30256780

    9am – 5pm


    Armagh & Dungannon Community Adult Learning Disability Team

    Ward 5

    St Lukes Hospital

    Loughgall Road


    BT61 7NQ

    Tel: 028 37564640

    9am – 5pm


    Craigavon & Banbridge Community Adult Learning Disability Team

    293 Bridge Street,


    BT63 5AR


    9am – 5pm


    Adult Disability Transition Team

    Acorns Office

    St Lukes Hospital

    Loughgall Road


    BT61 7NQ

    Tel: 028 37564476

    9am – 5pm


    Community Adult Learning Disability Forensic Team Trust wide

    Ward 3

    St Luke’s Hospital

    Loughall Road


    BT61 7NQ

    Tel  02837565365

    9am – 5pm

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