About us

We believe that language is the absolute fundamental life skill that all children and young people need to be independent, to build relationships and to gain employment. We are committed to supporting our future generations to achieve this, by providing a high quality professional and holistic service, which demonstrates measurable impact with the child and young person at the heart of our work. We pride ourselves on a service which goes beyond the pre-school and the primary years, into secondary schools and post -16 settings. 

Stepping Stones SaLT Services Ltd was founded in early 2018 by Deeba Akram, a highly specialist speech and language therapist. Our services include specialist assessment, treatment and reports for monolingual and bilingual children and young people aged 2-18 years, presenting with a broad range of developmental and acquired Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN’s). As well as providing assessment and therapy in English, we are able to offer these services in a number of additional languages. Stepping Stones are able to provide a range of strategic, solution focused services to support educational settings wanting to improve literacy and attainment, through a focus on innovative, whole school oral language approaches. These have been applied very successfully with primary, secondary and post-16 settings, and have supported schools improve their Ofsted ratings. Our services are responsive and work within CQC and Ofsted frameworks.
Deeba Akram, Director of Stepping Stones

Deeba achieved a BMedSci (Speech) in 2003 followed by an MSc (Human Communication Sciences Research) in 2006, both from the University of Sheffield. She has won a number
of prestigious awards for her work in the field of Speech and Language Therapy
(SaLT) over the years including a Health Sciences Association (HSA) Major
Scholarship, the ‘Dorothy Dixon Barrow Award’ for tackling health inequalities,
Sheffield South West PCT Award for ‘Innovation in an Area of Service delivery’,
and the Communication Trust’s ‘Shine a Light Award’. Deeba’s specialist interests include Developmental Language Disorder; communication disorders in bilingual children; Autistic Spectrum Disorder; and acquired language disorders. Deeba is a trained ELKAN tutor and has completed additional training in Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Makaton,
Lidcombe, ‘Attention Autism’, ‘writing medico-legal reports’ and ‘Quality Improvement’. Deeba has delivered teaching on ‘working with bilingual children with language disorders’ on both the undergraduate and post graduate SaLT courses at the University of Sheffield. Deeba is a member of the  Executive Committees of both the North West RCSLT Hub and the West Yorkshire Clinical Excellence Network for Bilingualism.

Since qualifying, Deeba has worked for two large NHS SaLT services for over fourteen years, as well as running an independent practice since 2009. During her eleven years with the Sheffield SaLT Service, she gained extensive experience of assessment and therapy with monolingual and bilingual children presenting a range of developmental language difficulties in a number of different
settings including a specialist language centre; a pre-school provision for children with autism; mainstream schools; and community clinics. Deeba specialised in supporting children aged 18 months upwards living in deprived communities, as well as ensuring an equitable service was available for bilingual children with SLCN’s. From January 2015 to March 2018, Deeba worked with a multi-academy trust, which comprised seven mainstream academies (three primary, three secondary and one post-sixteen college) and one special school located in the north-west region. In this highly specialist and strategic role, Deeba co-ordinated the
speech and language provision across all the mainstream academies. She was part of an inter-disciplinary team with a number of Educational Psychologists, and worked alongside both the senior and middle leadership teams of the academies to apply innovative and bespoke models of service delivery at universal, targeted and specialist levels; outcome measures demonstrated significant impact for pupils and schools at a systemic level, quality first teaching and individual level. This work received recognition in academy and college Ofsted reports, as well as Challenge Partners rating the work in this area as ‘Outstanding’. 

In Deeba’s independent Practice, she has provided highly specialist SaLT services to children and young people aged 2-18 years living across the country, with a range of developmental and acquired communication disorders including Developmental Language Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Acquired Brain Injury. She has held contracts with families and schools, as well as local authorities (including Barking and Dagenham), legal practices (including Slater & Gordon Lawyers) and rehabilitation services (including Northern
Case Management and Bush and Company).

We believe that language is the absolute fundamental life skill that all children and young people need to be independent, to build relationships and to gain employment. We are committed to supporting our future generations achieve this, by providing a high quality professional and holistic service, which demonstrates measurable impact with the child and young person at the heart of our work. We pride ourselves on a service which goes beyond the pre-school and the primary years, into secondary school and post -16 settings.

Stepping Stones SaLT Services Ltd was founded in early 2018 by Deeba Akram, a highly specialist speech and language therapist. Our services include assessment, treatment and reports for children and young people aged 2-18 years, presenting with a broad range of developmental and acquired Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN’s). In addition, we are able to offer a range of strategic, solution focused services to support educational settings wanting to improve literacy and attainment, through a focus on innovative, whole school oral language approaches. These have been applied very successfully with primary, secondary and post-16 settings, and have supported schools improve their Ofsted ratings. Our services are responsive and work within CQC and Ofsted framework. Stepping Stones also specialises in communication disorders in bilingual children and young people.

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Services

Educational

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Families

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Legal Assessments

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Testimonials

‘Deeba saw my son from the age of 3 until he was 5. He was eventually diagnosed with specific language impairment and she put appropriate methods of learning in place. Deeba even visited his infant school and met the teachers and assisted them in appropriate learning methods. As a result my son could speak and understand language by the age of 7 and has hardly any concerns now. The next step is now progressing in his writing and spelling but we are working on this. We cannot thank Deeba enough for her input and help. We are so grateful to her and cannot recommend her enough.’

Parent of child with Developmental Language Disorder
(formerly Specific Language Impairment)

'After careful research we contacted Deeba to provide Speech and Language support for our daughter who has ASD and learning difficulties. The progress she has made since working with Deeba has been absolutely amazing! A tailored intervention and support package was developed and implemented by Deeba to meet our daughter’s challenging needs. We have witnessed first-hand Deeba’s infectious enthusiasm, compassion, positivity, understanding and professionalism. Her input has been instrumental in our daughter’s development and progression. With Deeba’s help and support we feel significantly more confident working with our daughter and a lot more positive about the future.'

Parents of 9 year old child with ASD

'Deeba has been the speech and language therapist in one of my cases for over 7 years. She has provided invaluable support to the claimant, her family and the multi- disciplinary team and has worked very closely with our client’s school and mosque. Her approach is calm, caring and holistic.

Deeba goes above and beyond what is expected in her role and, importantly for the legal team, also provides very detailed records!'

Patricia Noone
Principal Lawyer, Slater and Gordon (UK) LLP

'Deeba has had an enormous impact on language and communication at Stanley Grove Primary Academy. She is skilled at change leadership and effectively plans for improvements alongside middle and senior leaders. Her personable approach secures the commitment of staff. Not only has Deeba excellent knowledge, she is experienced in many interventions and approaches. New strategies employed as a result of Deeba's involvement have led to an increase in pupils in our EYFS reaching GLD in listening, communication and speaking.'

Amy Footman
Head of Stanley Grove Primary Academy, Manchester.
15 minutes free consultation: Phone, Skype, Facetime.