Friday 30 March 2012

10 things Dad's dream of doing

I read yesterday that Dad's spend so little time with their children nowadays that many are not having the special father/son-daughter bond that we had. Then Maureen Denard emailed me her latest blog post. See what you think........
All dads have things that they love to do, or dream about doing, with their sons. Even before a man ever becomes a father, he probably already envisions activities he looks forward to someday sharing with his boy. Here’s our list of ten things that dads dream of doing with their sons:
  1. Holding him for the first time. – The moment when fatherhood first takes hold in a tangible, yet inexplicable way. You now know what it means to be a father, to be responsible for another life, and you’re never the same from that moment on.
  2. Having a catch. – There’s scarcely a man in this country that didn’t at least get a little misty-eyed watching this scene fromField of Dreams. It is virtually every American man’s dream of father-and-son bonding.
  3. Going to a ballgame. – Of course, the next step after playing catch in the front yard is heading out to the ballpark to watch the pros do it. Hopefully, your next catch will be of a home run ball. Whatever the case, this is the American pastime.
  4. Teaching him to shave. - It’s a mundane chore for the average man, yes; but for a dad it’s a rite of passage. Showing your young whippersnapper the ropes with a razor and shave cream is pretty special, we have to admit.
  5. Going camping, fishing or hunting. – Let’s face it, for a lot of dads, having a son is like getting a license for a second childhood. You’ve got a built-in excuse to do all sorts of things, this time for your son’s sake too. All those activities you once enjoyed are yours to enjoy again.
  6. Attending his college graduation. – Few moments in a young man’s life hold as great a sense of promise and maturity than the day he goes from the campus out into the world. It brings with it a shared feeling of accomplishment for both father and son.
  7. Acting as his agent at the NFL Draft. – Any dad who’s ever had a son with even a modicum of athletic ability has toyed with this fantasy on occasion. For most, it’s more dream than reality: but it is what dreams are made of, isn’t it?
  8. Attending his wedding. – Naturally, a dad wants to see his son find a wife and lifelong companionship. It’s that next stage in the circle of life after all. Though dads aren’t quite as excited about doing this with their daughters…
  9. Sharing the family business. – For some dads, the day that their sons assume their role in the family business is a special one. It’s one of mortal man’s versions of immortality, as is the next example especially.
  10. Seeing his grandchildren. – Speaking of the circle of life, here it comes full-circle, with father and son becoming grand-father and father. A whole new generation begins, with whom to start the circle all over again.
There are many more dreams and expectations dads have for their sons, some more realistic than others. But these ten dreams have to rank right there among the top ones.
Maureen's website is

Friday 23 March 2012

Finding the ‘invisible’ voice of children with speech and language needs

Artist Abigail Beverly
Abigail Beverly

A group of experts in speech, language and communication has teamed up to create a book about the importance of listening to children with SLCN. Listening to Children and Young People with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, edited by Sue Roulstone and Sharynne McLeod, features chapters by many well-known experts in the field including The Communication Trust’s Professional Director Wendy Lee,
Hazel Roddam PhD, Chair of Council at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and Chris Markham PhD, a senior lecturer from University of Portsmouth.

Chapters have also been contributed by Abigail Beverly – a young person who grew up with speech and language difficulties and graduated from Central St Martin’s in London – and Robbie Simons, a student with Asperger’s Syndrome who took part in the Speech and Language Therapy Project.

It is widely known that there are great benefits to consulting children with speech, language and communication needs, but very little has previously been written about the challenges involved in the process.
The editors and authors of the book, published by J& R Press, have pledged to donate £1.50 from the sale of each book to Afasic, a charity which supports children with speech and language difficulties and their parents.

In the book, the authors look at:

• The voice of the children and young people with speech, language and
communication needs
• Insights from researchers, speech and language therapists, social workers, psychologists, teachers, advocates and parents
• A diversity of disciplines: health, education and social care
• A range of creative techniques and solutions for listening to children and young people
• Links to service implications.

Linda Lascelles, Chief Executive Officer at Afasic, said: “We’re delighted to have contributed to this book and that the authors have decided to give all the royalties to Afasic. This will go towards our work in helping children who have a speech and language impairment. Too often this group of children is invisible. If we are to understand what they want from services and how they can best be tailored to meet their needs, it is crucial for us to listen and consult with them.”

Sue Roulstone said “It has been a fantastic experience to collaborate with so many knowledgeable people. The book is full of their expertise in listening to the voices of those with speech, language and communication needs. Professor McLeod and I hope that the book provides a useful resource and stimulus to others who work with these children and young people.”

The book is available to order from publisher JR Press priced at £19.99 (not including postage and packing). To order a copy visit the website

Tuesday 20 March 2012

How do you cope with the terrible twos?

Tell me what you think of this video from 5min Parenting?

Sunday 18 March 2012

Autistic? They're all like rainman aren't they?

'People ask if my son is like rain man, or claim  that as they met one other autistic person who happened to like them they suddenly have a good way with all of them, its like saying " Oh one of my friends is chinese/white/black therefore all people of that race like me" 

I read the above with horror recently on 'A problem shared is a problem solved' Face book page where parents can share their own tales of ignorance and  stupidity or seek another parent's perspective my comment in response was my favourite saying, 'When you've met one person with ASD.... you have met one person withASD'.  

The Give Austism a chance campaign will hopefully spread the word to help educate the general public, have a look at their video:

The message is plain and simple..... just because someone has ASD does not mean they conform to a stereotype any more than all Englishman are the same or all women are the same!

We are quite unique at Small Talk due to our experience of working with children with ASD, we have one highly specialist SLT and two specialist SLTs.

Thursday 15 March 2012

10 Ways to teach your child to argue logically

by Maureen Denard
Developmentally children of a younger age will never be able to argue logically.  However, kids will learn what works and what doesn’t.  Trying to teach them how to argue logically will help them in school debate as well as every other public office where they might have to argue their point.  It will probably even save you a few gray hairs in the process.  Check out 10 ways to teach your child to argue logically.
  1. Explain what logic means: Start out by explaining what it means to be logical.  Give examples where you say, “I want chocolate cake for breakfast because it looks good”.  Or a more logical argument would be to say, “Chocolate cake is a great breakfast food item because it contains eggs that are protein and milk that’s dairy.” 
  2. Catch them being illogical: The kids are fighting in the backseat of the car because your youngest son thinks his older brother is hogging the backseat.  You ask your younger son to try to persuade his brother to move over.  He says, “I can’t he’s just a hog”.  So you then say, “So your argument is that you deserve more space in the backseat because your brother is a hog?”  Once you show them what they are saying they will start to see how they aren’t being logical.
  3. Teach by showing: During an argument listen to what they are saying and then ask them to make their case.  Repeat what they are saying and point out the holes in their logic.  Then show them how they could make a stronger argument.
  4. Define the difference between fighting and arguing: When you ‘fight’ you make contact with the other person be it with your body or with some sort of weapon.  Tell them you will not tolerate fighting, but arguing is okay.  If you argue you need to keep your voice down and make logical points as to why you are right and the other person is wrong.
  5. Show them how persuasion plays a role: When arguing your point you need to be persuasive.  To be persuasive you have to be conscious of the person’s point of view and explain why you believe your way to be better while not insulting the other person’s view point.  Point out facts that will logically show your way is superior to their way.
  6. Be sympathetic: Let your child know that sympathy is always a great tool to use in an argument.  Making statements like, “I understand you like to watch Sponge Bob and I enjoy him too, but the season finale of Witches of Waverly Place is on and it’s not a rerun.”  Using instances like this that they will understand will help to further their learning process.
  7. Explain what it means to win an argument: Some children will just use force to get their way.  Tell your child that winning an argument means that they have successfully changed their opponent’s mind so that now they agree with them.  If they get their way by hitting their opponent ask them if they think they changed that person’s mind.  If the answer is no, then they didn’t win the argument.
  8. Reward them when they are logical: Once your child learns how to argue logically you need to let them win on occasion.  If your child comes to you and explains that they would like to have a dog because owning a dog will teach them to be more responsible, give them exercise by walking the dog and will save you from having to entertain them because they will play with the dog, they have made a very good argument.  It’s persuasive, it’s logical, and it shows sympathy for your time spent entertaining them.  If you can’t do a dog try to let them have another pet that will achieve the same results.
  9. Dock them when they aren’t logical: There will still be times when they come crying to you or they start yelling at their sibling.  When you need to play referee you need to side with the child that isn’t breaking the rules of good arguing.  Make sure you let them know that they didn’t get to have their way because they yelled, hit, or drug up some nasty drama from the past.  You can call it ‘hitting below the belt’ or ‘strikes’ or ‘fouls’.  Whatever you decide to use will be fine.
  10. Help them see the big picture: If you are watching something on TV you can ask the kids to point out whether that argument is persuasive or not.  Did that commercial convince you that you need to buy that toy? 

You’ll be surprised how good your kids get at being persuasive and arguing logically.  While it will help them throughout their lives keep in mind that it will also mean that you will probably lose more arguments than you win.  And that’s okay.

Friday 9 March 2012

Have you heard of The Early Language Development Programme (ELDP)?

The Department for Education has identified language development as a priority and as such has invested in the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) ensuring that there is central support for training in this key area. The programme is running from February 2012 until April 2014.
The key objective for the Early Language Development Programme over the next three years is to work with Children’s Centres to provide support to embed early language development practices, and to establish them as local leaders. The programme is focusing on strategies to improve practitioners’ learning and skills in early identification and intervention and encourage partnership working with other early years settings, speech and language therapists and health visitors.
The programme is focusing on all children especially targeting work with 0-2 year olds, their families and those living in the most disadvantaged areas.
As a result of engagement in the programme, practitioners will be equipped to provide an accurate early years summary of a child’s development between the ages of 24-36 months to parents (i.e. they will have sufficient knowledge and skills around the importance of language development and be able to identify language delay at its earliest point in a child), as well as the skills to support language development at this early stage.
Deborah Fielden and I are the leads for our areas Children’s Centres for the Early Language Development Programme, which means we have an exciting opportunity to impact on early language development in our local community whilst also building their capacity to meet government targets and outcomes in relation to language development and school readiness.
The Early Language Development Programme will provide us with a training package which we will cascade  to a local network of other local children’s centres, health visitors and local speech and language therapists who ultimately cascade to the parents, families and children who use the children’s centre and other local services.

We are also happy to talk to private providers about training for their settings or courses which supplement the ELDP.

Sunday 4 March 2012

Follow on from the year of communication......

Following on from the National Year of Communication, 2012 proves to be just as exciting with new events and new information guides for parents.
Afasic England, in association The Communication Trust, is running three free events, bringing together parents, professionals and children with speech, language and communication needs. These will include seminars, workshops, exhibitions and fun activities for pupils with SLCN.
Many of the workshops are being run by members of the Trust's Communication Consortium. With over thirty workshops per event to choose from, including one-to-one advice sessions available throughout the day, these events will provide information as well as a chance to talk to local providers, professionals and other parents.
The events will take place in...Afasic
The Rose Bowl, Southampton on Thursday 8th March 2012
Leicester University on Thursday 15th March 2012
Durham University at Stockton-on-Tees on 22nd March 2012

For further details and to book please click here.