Making a Referral for Language and Communication Support

Find out about the referral process.

Making A Referral for Support from the Service

Educational settings are reminded of the graduated response to supporting their children/young people with SEN under the new SEN Framework and SEN Code of Practice: Identification, Assessment and Provision by Schools:

‘A request for Stage 2 provision begins with a decision either at a Stage 1 review, or following discussions between the SENCo, the principal, teachers, appropriate EA advisory and support service and the parent or child over compulsory school age, that Stage 2 provision may be necessary.

To help inform the school’s deliberations, the school should review the actions which have been taken against the Stage 1 to Stage 2 School Checklist at Annex 3 d) for nursery/nursery classes; 4 d) for primary school settings; and 5 d) for post-primary school settings.’

Referral Pathway for Language and Communication

1 Educational Psychologist consults Special Educational Needs Coordinator

The Educational Psychologist consults with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator to determine if a referral is required.

2 Educational Psychologist Referral

An EA Educational Psychologist makes a referral to the Service on behalf of the parents or carers and the school that the child attends.

3 Baseline Assessment

The Service will complete a baseline assessment to help inform and guide appropriate support. 

4 Referral Outcome

If the referral is accepted the Service will contact the parent and the school to gather further information to inform recommendations. If the referral is not accepted the Service will contact the Educational Psychologist to discuss further.

This referral pathway is for a child with difficulties in language and communication with a Development Language Disorder profile.

Referred children can access this support with or without a Statement of SEN.

  1. A referral from an Educational Psychologist (EP) employed by the Education Authority is made on behalf of parents and the school that the child attends. Often the child will be known to a Health and Social Care Trust speech and language therapist, who may also provide relevant information on their speech and language needs.
  2. The Educational Psychologist, in conjunction with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, completes a form which details the child’s strengths, presentation of language and communication difficulties and their special educational needs. The child’s parents or carers, and their teacher/s and Special Educational Needs Coordinator will have an opportunity to contribute information.
  3. Where a referral is deemed necessary, the referral form is emailed by an EA Educational Psychologist to the Service.     
  4. Once received and processed, a designated member of the Service will get in touch with the school Special Educational Needs Coordinator to complete a baseline assessment of the child, by gathering information from parents or carers and school staff. This assessment informs and guides appropriate support, which is needs-led.
  5. Where a referral is not deemed appropriate, we will return the referral form to the Educational Psychologist, explaining why the referral has not been accepted and / or discuss any additional information which may be required. The Referral Form may be re-submitted with additional information, or the Educational Psychologist will contact school to discuss next steps.

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Contact the Language and Communication Service

The Language and Communication Service can be contacted for advice and information specific to children and young people who have, or may have, a language development need.