Joint Occupational/Speech & Language Therapy
How does this work?
There are certain circumstances when it is in the best interests of the individual client to have both the Speech Therapist and the Occupational Therapist work on overlapping goals at the same time.
Very broadly speaking, there are four main areas where it can be best to have both an OT and SLT work together at the same time (Social Skills, Attention, Play Skills and Feeding). It is not a hard and fast rule, and as always, it is the clinical recommendation as to what is best for the individual, that drives the decision.
Generally the Occupational Therapist focuses on the sensory and motor co-ordination areas which enables us to live our lives and perform daily tasks. Additionally, the Speech Therapy discipline focuses on the areas of communication, understanding and speech. When it comes to areas such as Social Skills, Play Skills, Feeding (and feeding issues), and Attention (and attention issues), the roles of the SLT and OT may overlap. Each of the therapists will have a different angle or approach on the same issue, which can be helpful in addressing difficulties from a holistic point of view.
For example, some children find it difficult to engage in therapy tasks, or have difficulty paying attention. Joint sessions can be very helpful, to get the optimal results from therapy sessions. The Occupational Therapist helps the child to attend to tasks, for example by helping them regulate themselves from a sensory perspective. Movement activities also may lead to increased speech attempts. The Speech and Language Therapist helps to create a language enriching environment during activities, and also help support communication attempts during the sessions.
Referrals for Joint Speech & Language/Occupational Therapy arise in several ways:
- Directly from a parent or carer.
- As a result of existing SLT or OT services, where the therapist feels better results may be obtained by a Joint Therapy session.
- Referred from another healthcare professional, such as Psychologist, or GP.