Youth Communication Team

The Speech and Language Therapy Youth Communication Team is a three year project which has been running since November 2013 and is funded by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).

This project offers a radical approach to working with young people aged between 11-25 years with multiple vulnerabilities. In addition, we have been contracted by NYCC to provide speech and language therapy to the No Wrong Door (NWD) project until November 2016.

Our speech and language therapists are co-located in the Youth Justice Service in the Harrogate, Scarborough and Selby areas. The speech and language therapists who are co-located in the east and west NWD hubs work within the NWD project team but also work closely as part of the whole North Yorkshire Youth Communication Team.

Youth Communication Team

The first year of the project focused on setting up a service for young people who are involved in the Youth Justice Service. We screen all young people to identify if they have speech, language and communication needs. If required, therapy is provided during their involvement with the Youth Justice Service and, where appropriate, beyond. We also provide training to staff so that they can recognise speech, language and communication needs and adapt their own communication and intervention approaches.

The second year has expanded to include young people who are attending specialist educational schools: Forest Moor School, Harrogate and Brompton Hall School, Scarborough. We were tasked to begin training the staff in the Pupil Referral Services. The aim is that young people with speech, language and communication needs are identified earlier, and that their ability to be involved in education and employment is increased. This prevents them from becoming disengaged and involved in offending behaviour.

No Wrong Door (NWD)

This project was launched in 2015. The model enables young people in care (or on the edge of care) to access the right services at the right time and ultimately aims to support achievement, reduce high risk behaviour and ensure that young people in crisis receive well-organised and appropriate support.

Our speech and language therapists joined NWD in March 2015. As part of the hub teams, we have been with closely with clinical psychologists and the young people (and their families when appropriate) living in children’s homes. We have also been working with outreach cases referred to NWD. There are many reasons why this might occur, including a young person’s home situation deteriorating.

How are we helping?

Speech and language therapists play a unique role in the identification, assessment and therapy of young people with speech and language disorders.

People with speech, language and communication needs have difficulties communicating with others. This may be because they cannot say what they want, have difficulty understanding what is being said to them or do not understand social rules of communication. These issues may be minor or temporary for some young people, while for others the needs will be complex and long-term.

Studies have found that young people who have offended are likely to be at significant risk of previously unrecognised language impairment (Gregory and Bryan, 2009). There is evidence shown by other teams such as in the Leeds Youth Offending Team (Bryan and Mackenzie, 2008) that speech and language therapy targeted at improving the language skills of individuals can significantly reduce the numbers who re-offend.

If you would like more information please email

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