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Who we are

We are a team of Speech and Language Therapists, Assistant Practitioners and Therapy Assistants who work with children and families to develop their speech, language, communication and / or feeding and swallowing.

Our mission statement is: If I treat your child today, I can treat them today. If I teach you to help your child, you can help them for a lifetime.

We believe that training and working through parents, carers and other professionals, and giving you the skills to support your children throughout their daily activities is the best way to support them to develop functional speech, language and communication skills.

The Children's Speech and Language Therapy service has an open referral system, meaning that we accept referrals from anyone - parents / carers and professionals.

Essential referral criteria:

  • The child or young person is aged between 0 and 19 years
  • The child or young person has a Knowsley GP
  • The child has a speech, language, communication and / or feeding/swallowing difficulty which impacts on their functioning

When completing the referral form please fill in as much information as possible, including information about the impact the speech, language or communication difficulty is having on the child at home, in school or nursery, with their friends, or in other communication situations.  We also require checklists for children of all ages to provide additional information alongside the referral.

Children under three years old should be referred to Chatterbox groups at their local children's centre via the Knowsley Early Years service. WellComm screening will be completed at the beginning and end of the programme to explore progress and next steps. You will also learn some strategies to support your child to develop early language skills.

Please contact us to make or discuss a referral.

Goals will be set that your child needs to work on and our therapist will explain how much support they think your child will need to achieve these. You will be supported to work with your child to achieve these.

Therapy - This will be in clinic or sometimes at home or school. You will be shown activities to do with your child to help them achieve goals set.
We work with a parent support model where you will learn how to support your child with their speech, language and communication. Therapy staff will discuss with you how long it will take for you to achieve a target and ask you to contact them when this is achieved.

Review Appointment - You will be given activities to work on with your child and another appointment will be arranged to check their progress.
Group Therapy - You might be invited to attend a parent group with up to eight families where you will learn about your child's needs and how to support them. 

Discharge - You and the therapist might decide that your child is doing well and doesn't need any help at the moment. You can always come back if you have any further concerns.

For some children, a further assessment session may be needed, which may take place in their school or nursery, or at home. This will be discussed and agreed with you.

You will also receive some written information about how to support your child and their goals after the session, which may be in a report or an email.

Dates for intervention will be discussed and agreed with you at your child's assessment session.

We provide a predominantly clinic based service, but some children and families may also be seen in school or nursery, at home or in another venue as discussed and agreed with you.
We provide clinics in all areas of Knowsley:

Your therapist will discuss the options for clinic venues and days with you, and you will be able to choose if there are venues, days or times that will work better for you.

If you can't attend an appointment, it is important that you let us know, so that we can arrange a new appointment with you. Your therapist will give you their contact details so you can contact them directly, as well as the contact details for the office.

If you do not let us know that you can't attend an appointment, you are likely to be discharged from the service and will need to complete a new referral form and wait for an appointment.

Over the last few months there have been some big changes to the Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy department and we are really excited to be able to share these with you here. Our team has seen a lot of new faces recently and we are all working hard to make the service the very best it possibly can be and your service of choice. 

We have been introducing new ways of working, and working hard to support children in any way possible despite the challenge of Covid-19. We are all working together to fix some of the delays, including those that have happened because of the pandemic, but we know we still have some way to go and hope you can be patient with us whilst we work towards resolving these delays.

We are continuing to work hard towards a bright future for the department and we look forward to supporting you and your child.

Meet our team

Andrea Hastings.jpeg

Andrea McCloskey
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Charlotte Rees.jpeg

Charlotte Rees
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist


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Nicola Saadati
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Louise Paul
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Esther Millington
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Melanie Sharples
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Claire Robinson
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Maxine Alves
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Joy Gilbertson
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Victoria Hogg
Speech and Language Therapist
Megan Pierce
Speech and Language Therapist
Simon Rigert-Harnden
Speech and Language Therapist

Orla Desmond
Speech and Language Therapy Assistant

Jane Maxfield
Speech and Language Therapy Assistant

Sue Jones
Speech and Language Therapy Assistant


The following websites all contain information about Speech, Language and Communication and how you can support children and young people.

Makaton - Makaton uses signs and symbols to help people communicate.

PECS - Picture Exchange Communication System

Knowsley SEND - Knowsley SEND stands for Special Education needs and/or disabilities. Here, you can find further information on local services in your area.

I CAN - I CAN Help is a range of information services that provide help and advice to parents and practitioners about speech, language and communication.

ELKLAN - Elklan writes and delivers accredited courses for education and other staff working with those with speech, language and communication needs and for parents, and trains a network of licenced tutors to deliver Elklan courses locally.

Developmental language disorder (DLD) -

National Literacy Trust - the National Literacy Trust is a UK charity that transforms lives through literacy

Talking point - Talking Point supports parents and carers to help children reach their full potential in their communication skills.

PrAACtical AAC - support for children using alternative or augmentative communication (AAC) systems

The ACE centre -

Bilingual learners - Bell Foundation                      


Intensive Interaction - Intensive interaction is an approach to teaching the pre-speech fundamentals of communication to children and adults


The Hanen Centre -


Caroline Bowen – a website that reflects the professional, clinical and teaching activities and research from one of the lead professionals in speech sounds—


National Autistic Society - We are the UK’s leading autism charity.

ADDvanced Solutions – Knowsley initiative to support parents/carers with advice, information and support


Patient Advice & Liaison Support (PALS)

Child & Adolescence Mental Health Services (CAMHS)