S L Therapy London was founded by Sarah Lyons, a consultant speech and language therapist. She set up her private practice in 2012 working with families, schools, and nurseries to develop children’s communication skills. Sarah holds a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Leeds (2003-2006) and a BSc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy from Birmingham City University (2007-2010)
Sarah has extensive paediatric therapeutic experience; working in a range of settings such as mainstream schools, special schools, and early years settings, outreach (delivering therapy to young person’s attending independent colleges in the North West London area) and managed a Hearing Impairment Service.
Sarah has worked as Head of Therapies for an independent school for students with complex communication needs, autism, and challenging behaviour. She led a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Music Therapists. She was responsible for service delivery development, devising policies and involved with strategic planning for the therapy service within the college. She also held a specialist caseload at the college working with students with complex communication needs and associated difficulties.
Sarah has specialist training in a range of approaches including Selective Mutism, Makaton, Picture Exchange System, Attention Autism, Social Skills Caroline Bowen Articulation Disorders, and Lego Therapy.
She has extensive experience in providing assessment and advice as an Expert Witness and has postgraduate training from Bond Solon.Sarah holds the position of Past Chair for the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP). Sarah is a Committee Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist’s Professional Policy and Practice Committee (RCSLT).
Welcome Sarah, thank you for coming on board with us, can you introduce yourself to us?
Hello, thank you for having me, its wonderful to be part of your community! I am Sarah Lyons, a Paediatric Speech and Language therapist which means I work with children who have difficulties with communicating.
My company offers speech and language therapy for: Children with communication difficulties such as Stammering, Autism, Downs Syndrome Language delay/disorder, Speech sound production difficulties, Developmental delay, Learning disabilities, Cerebral palsy, Hearing Impairment, Selective Mutism and many more.
Children with eating/drinking/feeding difficulties such as baby feeding difficulties (breast and bottle feeding) ,Feeding difficulties associated with Down’s Syndrome, Feeding difficulties associated with Reflux and other gut problems, such as constipation, Feeding difficulties associated with nasal gastric feeding and/or tube feeding, Motor based feeding difficulties associated with neuro-developmental disability, Respiratory based feeding difficulties associated with respiratory or heart conditions, Behavioural feeding difficulties – Fussy / faddy eaters.
We also offer The Thrive Approach for children with emotional difficulties. This a way of assessing and supporting children’s emotional and social development. These assessments can then be used to provide personalised programmes for parents, home sessions, school classes, groups, and individuals. With the support of Thrive, we will work with parents to help children and young people to:
- Feel good about themselves
- Know that they matter
- Become more resilient and resourceful
- Have a positive place in society
- Form trusting, rewarding relationships
- Be creative
- Be compassionate and empathetic
- Be thoughtful and self-aware
- Be productive
- Be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks
We provide therapy in your home, school or nursery setting, or online. We also provide specialist speech and language therapy in a comfortable, safe and modern environment at our Twickenham or Harley Street Clinics.
S L Therapy London are specialists in providing high quality speech and language therapy medico-legal and expert witness reports for legal proceedings for children and adults with communication difficulties.
We specialise in carrying out and reporting on Legal Assessments including:
- SENDIST/SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Tribunals
- Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
- Medical negligence resulting in speech, language or swallowing difficulties
- Personal injury
- Determining the ability of a client with speech and language difficulties to be a witness in court
In addition to our extensive clinical experience, our therapists have attended the legal training from Bond Solon on:
- Excellence in Report Writing
- Cross-Examination Day
SL Therapy London work extensively throughout the UK, providing comprehensive medico-Legal assessment/expert advice and attendance at hearings.
We also provide bespoke training packages for educational staff/parents/ medical centres/charities which are tailored to your needs, such as:
- Identifying & supporting children with communication difficulties
- Communication strategies for the educational environment
- Delivering successful therapies
- Lego Therapy for children with communication and emotional difficulties
Can you talk us through the path you have pathed to where you are now as a speech and language therapist?
My brother has Down’s Syndrome and as a child, I would wonder who this lady was who came to play games with him! When I learned she was a speech therapist I was fascinated by the role. So after studying English Literature and Language at Leeds University BA Hons, I pursued a career in Speech and Language therapy. I completed my BSc Hons at Birmingham City University in 2010 and my first job was in Surrey for the NHS. It was a great start to my career, at that time therapy services were able to deliver regular consistent therapy for clients. I then moved into London in 2012 for my next role at an NHS Trust. Two years into that role, the amount of therapy I was providing to clients had dramatically dwindled. As the clue was in my title – Therapist I left for a role where I could deliver therapy!
As Head of Therapies at an independent complex needs school, I built a strong multidisciplinary team of Occupational Therapists, Music therapists, Speech and Language therapists, and drama therapists and designed an effective therapeutic model for our students.
The focus was on functional and effective therapy, in the kitchen during science lessons, out in the community, in the residential setting after school during tea time, wherever worked best for the student, we were there!
I had always held an independent caseload of clients and in January 2017 I took the plunge and left to set up my own company – S L therapy London.
When I started – I was on my own with a handful of clients but within 18 months had grown to 5 therapists, 1 PA and opened 2 clinics! It was and still is such an exciting time for me and S L Therapy London, the therapists are fantastically experienced at what they do and feedback from schools and parents is Phenomenally positive!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different which is why I love my job and running the company, I work with children with Selective Mutism and I also specialise in medico-legal work so a day could be a trip to Cornwall from London for an assessment or a visit to school or to a restaurant with a family to help their child develop their communication skills. The joy of my work is being able to provide functional and effective therapy for the children we work with.
What sparked your interest to work with children aged between 2-18 who are experiencing language and communication difficulties?
My brother has Down’s Syndrome and as a child, I was intrigued by this lady who would come to the house and play games with him! As an only sibling of Andrew, we were very close and I learned a lot personally about helping to develop his communication.
What methods are you using to make sure the therapy that you offer is fun and effective for your clients?
We use clearly evidence-based therapy approaches such as PECS, Makaton, Prompt. Lego Therapy, Attention Autism, Bobath, Lidcombe, Hanen, SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding and resources in our sessions. All our therapists are highly specialised and trained in a range of approaches to best suit the development of the child’s communication needs We always ensure that our therapy is child-focused – if they are not interested, it’s not going to work, so we always use toys/resources/apps that spark joy and intrigue!
Where can you see yourself within the next 5 years and how are you planning to grow or diversify SL Therapy London?
In the next 5 years, I hope the company will have grown – more therapists with keen ideas and exciting approaches! Developed my practice of legal work and empowering families with knowledge. Keen to franchise the business across the UK and to expand internationally.
What avenues are you exploring to promote SL Therapy London?
Facebook Ads, Instagram and Linked in – local advertising for our clinics also work well.
Number one rule in business you stick by?
Go with your gut instinct
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Forging your own way of doing things without reinventing the wheel!
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
Looking at opening another clinic space, expanding into Dubai and Egypt and working on an exciting charity project with a London Based football club. We are passionate about working with the child and supporting the whole family unit and we will continue to offer fun friendly and effective therapy to ensure communication potential is achieved!
Image taken by Jane Allen