Welcome to My Speech Therapist - children's speech & language therapy that works for you
Are you looking for expert speech and language therapy for your toddler, child or teenager? Is your 2 year old struggling to communicate? Is your child’s or your teenager’s speech unclear?
If so, I would love to hear from you. If you’d prefer to speak to me on the phone include your number when you get in touch, and I will arrange to call you at a time that is convenient. There is no fee for an initial chat with me.
BA (Hons.) Exon., PGDip, MRCSLT, MASLTIP, HCPC registered.
A little bit about me
Hello, my name is Polly Chapman. I am a HCPC registered speech & language therapist in Kent, UK & my private practice is called My Speech Therapist (Ltd). If you are reading this, you are probably wanting to know a little more about me before you get in contact. I know from my own personal experience of seeking specialists, for my children, that you are more than ready to make the time commitment & the investment in your child’s future, but you are considering whether to trust in my expertise. I hope you find the information and reassurance you are looking for within these pages. I am confident in my skills as a therapist because I absolutely love what I do, and I am also a clinical specialist in my field. But I know it can be a big decision to put your faith in a new professional: especially one for your child.
If you have specific questions you want to ask me, please do get in touch to arrange a chat, with absolutely no obligation to go any further with my professional services.
My Qualifications & Clinical Background
I am a highly experienced Speech & Language Therapist(SLT/SaLT) with an undergraduate degree from Exeter University and a Post Graduate Diploma from University of Greenwich & Canterbury Christchurch. In my diverse career (so far!) I have spent time both as team lead and clinical lead for the local NHS team. I have clinical specialisms in early functional communication, language development, speech sound disorders (including Childhood apraxia of speech-CAS), social communication, Neuro-developmental Diagnostics. Alongside assessment & direct therapy with a broad & neurodiverse range of children (0-19), I have been working as part of the local neuro-diagnostic team of Community Paediatricians & Clinical Psychologists delivering ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) assessments & advice to families going through the diagnostic process.
I specialise in helping Neurodivergent children & young people and/or children & young people with specific Neuro-developmental differences (such as Down Syndrome) to reach their own goals for communication, learning, friendships and fun – through dynamic, holistic assessment, joint goal-setting, evidence-based effective therapy and a neurodiversity positive approach.
I entered the Speech Therapy profession after a ‘lightbulb moment’ when my own children were very small. I decided to take the very big step of not going back to work and instead going back to University to retrain in a new profession – and it was the best decision I have ever made! I loved every minute of the Postgraduate course and graduated with a Distinction – since graduating I have never looked back – I had found the career I was meant to be doing! I have spent my professional career working in the NHS, in clinics, nurseries, mainstream schools & specialist provisions and have been lucky to have been offered a multitude of opportunities for self-growth and ongoing professional development.
It still feels an incredible privilege every single day to be able to help parents & children connect & communicate, help children say their own name, see them make friends & have the confidence to speak in class – all things we take for granted but all things a child with speech & Language needs can struggle to do. I don’t think I will ever stop loving being a Speech Therapist and so I recently set up my own private practice – My Speech Therapist Ltd – so I can carry on doing what I love to do best, just in a more innovative, child & family centred, flexible way.
If you would like to chat through your specific needs please get in contact via my web form and leave me your details, and I will be happy to email, text or call you back (you can let me know which you would prefer in the message).
How do I work?
In-depth speech & language assessments for children and young people are available for all age-groups. I offer diagnostic assessment blocks for more complex speech & language profiles including Childhood Apraxia of Speech(CAS) and Developmental Language Disorder(DLD).
After school & Saturday morning appointments are often available for assessments.
I am an experienced ADOS autism assessor.- please see the services page for details of what services I can offer around autism assessments and also for details of how I offer EHCP assessment reports.
Bespoke, tailored, 1:1 therapy is available for toddlers, children & young people. I see a range of children & young people of different ages with different needs, but mainly offer 1:1 therapy from 2 years old -18 years old.
Get in touch if you are worried about a baby or younger toddler and we can chat. I will see children earlier if your child has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome or another similar neurodevelopmental condition, you suspect autism, or your child is very quiet & not babbling.
Therapy is available in-person in East Kent and online across the UK and internationally. Please also see below for my clinical specialisms.
NEW - Parent & child groups -coming soon
If your child is very focussed on their own activity, spends lots of time playing on their own, is not speaking yet, or is saying words but not having chats with you, these new small group sessions might be perfect for you!
This is a brand new course designed to offer practical speech therapy & play support in the community. Weekly sessions will be in welcoming & friendly local venues with parking nearby. Coffees, teas and biscuits will be available.
With a different focus each week, this hands-on parent coaching & play course is designed to be both practical & fun!
Each week I will show you how to use the most up to date and evidence-based therapy techniques to develop your child’s social communication with advice that is and easy for parents to follow.
Please contact me to express an interest and I can let you know whether these groups might be right for you and your child.
East Kent venues & dates being planned from October 2023
My specialist clinical interests
“The best therapy, at the best time & in the best place“
My learning never stops and I love that about my job. Every single day I spend working clinically with children, young people and their families brings new learning experiences and new questions! I am always thinking and looking for solutions. I love to learn and I am often reading, attending professional courses and webinars to improve my knowledge and to give me new ideas. I reflect on all my sessions and I am always willing to try something different. I believe strongly in promoting evidence-based practice in speech therapy and between sessions I will make sure we are following the current evidence base and working towards acheivable outcomes. Be assured that I will be working hard alongside you to create the positive changes we all want to see. I measure the success of all my interventions, on whether what we are all doing together is making a tangible, functional difference to the child, young person or young adult’s life.
Diagnostic Assessment and therapy for children whose speech sound development is delayed or disordered is a specific area of clincial specialism. In the last 5 years I have been clinical lead for speech in East Kent and I am a member of the London Speech CEN. I am highly experienced in assessment & therapy for Childhood Apraxia of Speech(CAS) and other more persistent speech disorders such as Inconsistent Phonological Disorder. I enjoy working with children to find their voice and it is an extremely rewarding area of my practise.
SPEECH SOUND DISORDERS
My long-term clinical interest in the speech, language & communication development of neurodivergent children & young people (with or without a diagnosis) has led me to a highly positive & neurodiversity affirming approach to my therapy, training and support. I am clinical lead for Autism & Social Communication in the local NHS Trust & part of the NHS Neuro-diagnostic team in East Kent. I am also a member of the South East Diagnostic CEN(Clinical Excellence Network).
Autism & Neurodiversity
I am passionate about working to improve speech and language therapy provision for children with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21, Mosaic or Translocation). I can provide bespoke advice for families of younger children & also offer direct therapy for children from around 2 years old.
I take a special interest in the evidence base for therapy that works & have presented training about the current research in speech & language therapy.
Over the last few years I have designed and piloted an early intervention therapy approach specifically for pre-school children with Down Syndrome – in our local NHS team.
Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about how I work.
How does private speech and language therapy work?
Do you have any speech and language therapy appointments available now?
Yes, I do have available speech and language therapy appointments for in-person and for teletherapy. My availability changes throughout the year. I will offer you the most suitable new appointments, as and when they are available, and will try my best to accommodate your preferences. Speech and language therapy appointments may be offered to you Monday to Saturday and my core hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Evening appointments are also sometimes available & can work well for some families/young people. Please contact me for a chat to discuss your individual needs & to find out my current availability for new therapy & assessment appointments.
Where will the speech therapy appointments be? Do we need to come to you?
I am a mobile speech & language therapist based in Kent so I come to you. My in-person services are available in & around the Thanet, Sandwich, Deal, Dover, Canterbury, Herne Bay & Whitstable area of East Kent. Travel time & expenses costs will be added to my standard appointment fees for in-person visits outside of Thanet & Villages. I usually offer appointments at your home, in nurseries, in schools & colleges – where you, your child or young person are most comfortable. I do also have access to a therapy room in Thanet for assessments and therapy if this is more appropriate.
I offer online speech & language assessment, teletherapy, professional supervision, training & consultancy services that are available for you to join from anywhere that works best for you.
Is my teenager too old for speech & language therapy?
No-one is too old for speech & language therapy! It just needs to be their choice to come to speech therapy & needs to be at the right time for them.
For speech therapy working on intelligibility or articulation, progress can often happen very quickly with an older child, teenager or adult who is highly motivated. I have worked with lots of older children who have changed their speech over just a few short sessions.
Whatever the age of the child or young person, changing speech patterns is hard-work. Our human brains are as unique to us as our fingerprint, and so as a speech & language therapist we are always thinking & planning new ways to deliver our therapy, so we can try to find the best approach for each person’s brain.
For language & social communication therapy there is also no such thing as ‘too old’ to learn new skills. As we grow up and experience new things in our lives, new people, new places, language and friendships our wonderful complex brains are constantly growing & changing with us – we all have things we find harder and equally we all have strengths that can help us to learn new skills.
What speech & language therapy techniques do you use?
I am an experienced highly specialist speech and language therapist and so I use my expert knowledge, and my clinical judgement to try out a mix of techniques from my personal therapy toolbox. This gives us all (child/young person/parent/therapist) some choices about what we want to work on & how best we can do it together. Rather than relying on using one prescriptive, narrow approach, I like to choose the combination of techniques, approaches and strategies that will best suit your child or will suit you as a young person – meaning therapy is bespoke & always child, young-person & family led.