Speech & Language Therapy

St. Joseph’s Speech & Language Therapy Department

The Speech & Language Therapy Department of St. Joseph’s Foundation (North Cork and South West Limerick) works closely with other members of the Multidisciplinary Teams at St. Joseph’s Foundation e.g. Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Music Therapy.

  • Early Intervention Team
  • School Age: Holy Family and Mainstream Teams
  • ASD Team
  • Adult Team

Speech and Language Therapy in the area of intellectual disability involves developing a person’s capacity to communicate and supporting those who spend most time with the child or adult. We do this in order to enhance and develop the individual’s communication skills. It is the right of the person with intellectual disability to communicate in the way they choose, and all methods of communication should be valued.

Some of our work is team based, some more structured examples of this include:

  • Communication through Music This is a joint SLT Music Therapy group, the activities include singing, movement to music, and playing instruments. Focusing on communication skills such as listening, turn taking, initiation and interaction skills.
  • Assistive Technology Group Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) tools can be useful to support someone’s communication skills. These groups support individuals use their communication devices to get their needs meet and interact with their peers. High tech (technology based systems) and low tech systems are used (visuals on paper and signs).
  • Food Groups for individuals who have difficulties in eating, particularly those who avoid food or are very fussy eaters. This group usually involves SLT, OT and Psychology.
  • Social Skills Group These groups are run jointly by the ASD team’s Social Worker and Speech and Language Therapist. The groups aim to promote the development of children on the Autistic Spectrum to develop and practise their social communication skills such as turn taking, conversation initiation and maintenance. These groups also provide the group members with opportunities to have fun and meet other children of their age.
  • Skills Based Summer Camps An Occupational Therapy/Speech-Language Therapy Summer Camp is run annually for children of all ages with ASD. These camps aim to develop the children’s motor planning and co-ordination skills, as well as incorporating activities which aim to develop and expand their social communication abilities.

The Speech and Language Therapists work with the families and staff of service users to ensure communication goals are implemented throughout their day, be it at home, preschool, school, work or leisure activities to maximise their effectiveness.

As well as the programmes outlined above we also provide intervention as appropriate to children and adults on an individual basis in a variety of settings, the home, classroom, workplace etc. This may be working on one or more areas of communication such as:

  • The service user’s ability to understand and use language.
  • Other ways of communicating to the service users what is happening.
  • Developing alternative means for the service user to communicate to us.
  • Creating opportunities to communicate, this includes ensuring that the service user has access
    • people who are willing and able to interact with them
    • reasons to need to communicate e.g. making choices, expressing likes and dislike
    • situations that facilitate communications
    • An environment that supports communication.
  • Broadening range of communication skills and situations in which these skills can be used.
  • Developing ability to make sounds for speech.
  • Addressing difficulties with voice or fluency
  • Addressing difficulties with Eating, Drinking and Swallowing (EDS).

Programmes available to Families and Staff

As part of our work we run many programmes which can support families and staff:


Through the use of activities and group discussions, small groups of parents learn to create and take advantage of everyday opportunities to improve their child’s communication skills. This occurs over a number of weeks with both parent sessions in the evenings and individual consultations, allowing for a personalised learning experience.

We currently provide three different types of Hanen courses to meet the various as part of our work on the Early Intervention and ASD teams.

  • It Takes Two to Talk
  • More Than Words
  • Talk Ability


Lámh is a signing system developed for those with an intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland. Lámh is the only sign system endorsed by the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists and receives a grant from the Department of Health and Children.

At St. Josephs we offer Lámh training to both families and staff:

The family course is designed for family members and sometimes attended by others close to the family, such as carers or friends. The Lámh Family Course explains clearly how Lámh can be used in a home environment as well as providing opportunities for families to share their experiences and support each other.

Lámh Module 1 and Module 2 Lámh training are for staff working with people who use Lámh as part of their communication. Members of staff from St. Josephs attend as well as people from other organisations for example schools who are working with our service users.

From time to time we run other information/training sessions on topics such as Communication, Hearing Impairment, and Visual Support for families and staff. These are in response to a need in those we work with and change accordingly.