Verbo, an online speech and language therapy toolkit developed by our therapists, has been shortlisted for HSJ and CAHPO award.
Our Speech and Language Therapy team developed a web based platform that empowers teachers to identify and support Children and Young People (CYP) with communication needs.
Verbo provides education staff with a toolkit to help them support their pupils to develop speech, language, and communication skills. The toolkit offers:
- screening tools
- interventions with video modelling and resources
- target trackers
- impact measures and outcome reports
- ability to communicate directly with a therapist
- ability to share information with parents
- a young person log-in for post-16 pupils
Speech, language, and communication skills are fundamental to a CYP’s learning and wellbeing. Approximately 1.9 million CYP in the UK have speech, language, and communication needs which can impact on education, mental health and emotional wellbeing, future employment prospects, and life outcomes. Speech and Language Therapists support CYP with a range of different needs and skills, such us:
- attention and listening
- understanding of language
- talking and use of language
- speech sound skills
- social skills
- eating and drinking
Homerton Healthcare delivers a comprehensive, high-quality Speech and Language Therapy service for children and young people in City and Hackney, working wherever CYP are based including schools, colleges, nurseries, children’s centres, clinics, and in the community. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all areas and Speech and Language Therapy services aren’t always available in schools across the country.
Verbo was originally developed to respond to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic when therapists couldn’t physically go out to all the CYP that needed speech and language therapy.
Inspired by online work during the pandemic and driven by a desire to make speech, language and communication support accessible to every CYP, Caroline McCallum (Speech and Language Therapist) teamed up with Blum Health Ltd - software development company whilst on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme. This fantastic programme offers opportunities to health care professionals to be part of an innovative community with access to training and mentorship to support individuals to develop ideas that can make a difference to patient care.
After successful funding from both the Knowledge Assets Grant Fund (KAGF) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Verbo was developed and now empowers teachers and education staff to upskill and help close that gap and ensure every CYP that needs it has access to the right support at the right time. Education staff can use the platform to develop their skills and knowledge as well as communicate directly with therapists, helping them provide speech and language support directly to their pupils.
Nabiah Sohail, Head of Therapies for Children and Young People, said “Improving population health is a no brainer and starting early on from children makes sense. Verbo does just this by recognising that all children in schools can benefit from this platform in some shape or form. There are shared benefits to children, schools and speech and language therapy services. Verbo isn’t trying to replace speech and language therapists, it recognises that there is too much demand and not enough capacity.
Schools have welcomed with open arms the ability to have training, resources and advice at their fingertips and feel more equipped than ever to support CYP’s communication to allow them to have the best possible chance to succeed and achieve in life.”
To date Verbo is rolling out in Hackney and the City and over 450 schools across the UK providing instant access to resources for up to 132,000 CYP. It’s recently been shortlisted for the Driving Efficiency Through Technology category at the HSJ awards and the AHP Digital Practice Award at the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer awards.
Verbo is available to primary and secondary schools, helping them identify need and support children and young people’s communication and language development. It will be available for post-16 settings from September 2023 and for 2-3 year olds before Christmas.