SCIPS Programme

Please note that referrals to SCIPS should be made through the paediatric SLT clinic MAKE A REFERRAL

(please note that as our waiting list is currently closed, this link has been disabled)


Thank you for your interest in SCIPS.

Social Communication and Interaction Pre-School Supports (SCIPS)

What is SCIPS? 

SCIPS is designed for preschool children who are autistic, waiting for an autism assessment or have difficulties with social communication difficulties.  The programme aims to promote your child’s social communication development by providing you with strategies to support meaningful social communication with your child. SCIPS focuses social communication, including sharing attention and play, responding to others, initiating interaction and developing communication and language.

The approach is appropriate for children who are not yet talking through to children beginning to talk in short phrases.

The programme is delivered by student Speech and Language Therapists who are closely supervised by qualified specialist Speech and Language Therapists and follows evidence-based best practice recommended in National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

What does SCIPS involve?

SCIPS works by teaching strategies to you which will support their child’s social communication development. In clinic parents are taught and have opportunities to practice the strategies.  Parents’ interaction with their child is video–recorded to provide them with feedback on their use of the strategies and the effect of these strategies on their child. Parents are asked to practice the strategies at home in play and everyday activities.

What is your commitment?

  • To attend an introductory online parents/carers group
  • To attend an initial assessment online with one of our team
  • Primary carer to attend the University clinic for 9 weekly sessions, each lasting about one hour
  • To agree to student involvement
  • To agree to videoing for feedback and teaching purposes
  • To practice the strategies with your child at home in play and everyday activities
  • To attend a follow-up appointment after SCIPS has finished
  • Following completion of the programme your child will be discharged from our caseload

How do I know if SCIPS is appropriate?

We will look at your referral information to make a decision about whether SCIPS is appropriate.  We normally offer SCIPS to preschool-aged children with an autism diagnosis and preschool-aged children who have been referred for an autism assessment.  For preschool-aged children who have social communication needs we might offer an initial assessment to help us decide if SCIPS will be helpful.

Supervising therapists

The programme has been devised by:

  • Dr Tom Loucas is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (SL01574). He has worked with children and adolescents with speech, language and communication needs for more than 20 years. He has specialised in autism since 2001 in both research and clinical settings.
  • Sara Fincham-Majumdar is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist (MSc Reading), registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (SL24467). Sara has worked with autistic individuals and their families since 1998. She qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2007 and has specialised in autism since 2012. Sara is studying for a PhD exploring factors that influence outcomes of support for children with social communication needs, including autism.

What parents say about SCIPS

“It is helping us a lot. All the strategies /lessons along with the video feedback help us in understanding the ways to communicate with our child. We are able to connect with our little one and are able to play and enjoy more time with him following the techniques given. It has helped us in gaining his attention, improved his concentration and communication levels helping us to interact better.”

Please email if you have any questions.

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