Referral Criteria – Speech

Speech difficulties occur when speech sounds are not learnt or used in the correct places in words. This can result in words being mispronounced which can make what is said difficult to understand. This can happen for a number of reasons: hearing difficulties, a delay in learning to talk or, occasionally, it can be due to difficulty co-ordinating the muscles needed for speech.

Conditions in scope

Targeted SLT

Referrals will be considered for children and young people presenting with speech difficulties. All referrals are triaged with consideration given to the impact the speech difficulty is having. This includes:


  • Impact on behaviour, such as frustration, hitting out and withdrawal
  • Lacking in means to communicate such as signing, gesture and words
  • High level of concern by parents, pre-school setting

School age:

  • Difficulty in making and maintaining friendships
  • Difficulty processing information and instructions
  • Impact on behaviour, such as frustration and withdrawal
  • Difficulty expressing needs, wants , feelings and ideas
  • High level of concern by parents and/or school

Specialist SLT

Specialist SLT services accept referrals for children with:

  • Moderate to profound sensory-neural deafness
  • Cochlear implant
  • Maxillo-facial disorders including cleft palate

The SLT service uses Care Aims principles to support its clinical decision making at triage, assessment and through any intervention offered. This approach identifies the impact and clinical risk to the child or young person and supports the decision as to whether SLT is the appropriate service at that time. Please ensure that you indicate within the Request for Service form the impact the difficulty is having/perceived to be having on the child or young person.


Children and Family Health Devon
Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Bittern Road
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW

t: 0330 0245 321