How to find a speech and language therapist

If you think you, or your child or relative needs to see a speech and language therapist ask your GP, district nurse, health visitor, your child's nursery staff or teacher for a referral.

You can also refer yourself to your local speech and language therapy service. You do not have to wait for someone else to refer you.

Ring your local primary care trust (PCT) and ask for the telephone number of your local NHS speech and language therapy service. Use your local phone book, the online directory of PCTs (below) or ask at your GP surgery to find the number of your local PCT.

Online directory of PCTs:

What happens next?

This varies across the UK, because services are organised in different ways. In some places, demand for services is very high.

Some areas run a system where first referrals are sorted before appointments are made. If you have this system in your area, a speech and language therapist or assistant may telephone you first to find out more about your situation. At this stage ask what will happen next and how long you may have to wait for an appointment.

If you think you have been asked to wait too long for a first appointment or for treatment after the first appointment, contact the speech and language therapy department to ask what has happened. If you still experience difficulty, contact your PCT to discuss the situation.

Independent (private) therapists

Independent (private) speech and language therapists can usually offer an immediate appointment for assessment followed by therapy to suit the client. Many will carry out therapy in schools or homes if required.

You can pay for independent (private) speech and language therapy services.
Contact the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice to find your local independent therapists.

Some independent therapists offer specialisation in specific areas of communication difficulties, including:

  • assessment and diagnosis of complex disorders sometimes in association with other professionals
  • tutorials for specific problems, such as dyslexia
  • second opinions and reports for statements of special educational need and attendance at tribunal assessments, reports and court attendance for medico-legal claims.

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