Improving Access to Communication Services and Support Project (IACSS)

Commissioners from health, social care and education recognise the need to provide a more accessible, responsive and joined up approach for Children and Young People (CYPs) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). Over the past 18 months commissioners, service providers, parents/carers and professionals have come together to participate in the IACSS project.

Working with national expert Marie Gascoigne (Better Communication CiC) we have sought to gain a greater understanding of local population needs, service models and workforce development needs. The project has also completed a mapping exercise of the provision and support available for children and young people in order to understand the effectiveness of the local offer to meet the continuum of needs and ultimately improve outcomes for all. All of this information and data has been recorded on a nationally recognised framework called the Balanced System®. This evidenced based framework recognises and promotes a whole system approach to planning and delivering services for children and young people.
Throughout this process parent/carer, as well as children and young people, participation has been, and continues to be, actively sought in order to ensure we are able to build on their experience and expertise and ultimately fulfil our aim of coproduction.

At present the project is focusing on the following areas:

1. Improving and embedding opportunities for promoting the importance of speech, language and communication skills and the early identification of needs. This will also include ensuring that the materials and support available to all CYPS/families, including those who have English as an additional language, are accessible.
2. Developing a more cohesive approach to the support and training available to families and professionals in order to minimise the risk of duplication or gaps in offer.
3. Ensuring that CYPS have access to approaches and resources so they can communicate effectively in their preferred means, including through the use of AAC. As part of this work we will be reviewing the support available to enable AAC users to access and contribute to the curriculum will also be undertaken.
4. Ensuring that the needs and choices of CYPS and their families are collectively prioritised when planning, delivering and reviewing the services provided.
5. Maximising opportunities to develop a transdisciplinary framework to ensure improved outcomes for service users.