Saturday 25 July 2015

Sequencing - not just writing stories!

Every week I receive phone calls from parents asking me to work with their child, often stating that they can talk 'fine' it just some speech sound errors. On first meeting the child I can see that yes the child does have some problems with speech sounds and is talking in full sentences, but on closer inspection realise that much of what the child is saying doesn't make a lot of sense. Children often struggle to plan and organise their ideas in a logical way, which results in the listener finding it difficult to follow what they are trying to say and is often the result of a sequencing problem. The ability to sequence doesn't just correspond to narrative skills, but encompasses all areas of language development including; speaking, understanding, thinking, reading and writing.

To keep up with the increasing demand from children to include some technology based activities in therapy I have recently discovered some fabulous iPad Apps from Colorcards, which help me to target sequencing problems and the interactive activities are both motivating and engaging for children of all ages.

When working with either a group or individual children I like to use the 'Everyday Objects' app first to ensue the child is able to describe the pictures accurately, as a foundation skill to sequencing. All three sequence apps ie 'Basic', '4-step' and '6&8 step' are definitely worth investing in, as it is vital to ensue the child fully understands the concepts of first, next and last in a simple three part sequence, before you can expect them to build up to large sequences and then eventually prediction. The added extra of an accessible report template is quick to use and enables me to comprehensively track progress throughout the therapy process.

Each app has the great ability to set up multiple student accounts which can be tailored to target individual difficulties and goals. Differentiating between three levels (easy, medium, hard) is fantastic for building confidence with even low level abilities and being able to input your own images supports the child to be fully engaged in their own learning. Often some of the children I come into contact with have had limited and varying life experiences, so the option of creating your own story sequences ensures these apps are accessible to everyone.

Natasha Hallam

Thursday 16 July 2015

Myths and mis-information:tongue tie

  1. 'Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) happens when the string of tissue under your baby's tongue (frenulum), which attaches her tongue to the floor of her mouth, is too short. If your baby has tongue-tie, her tongue can't move freely, and this can cause problems (NICE 2005a)'

  2. I had a conversation this week with teacher who was saying that a child should have had his tongue tie snipped ages ago because now its been done, he can talk. She attributed his recent progress to that fact. Trouble is, he wasn't saying anything but a  few single words before and had an understanding at around a single word level, aged 5.Therefore, it was a language issue and nothing to do with his tongue tie!
  3. I also saw a child today who had speech sound difficulties which had been attributed to a tongue tie.Trouble is, he has no word initial sounds and can say 't' and 'd' beautifully. Therefore, its a speech processing issue not the articulation problem of not being able to move his tongue. 
  4. I see a boy with a tongue tie who is silent ...but he has Selective Mutism so the tongue tie is irrelevant!
  5. The NHS website has lots of information but in essence, if it is severe enough to restrict the baby's ability to breast feed then its worth having it snipped but otherwise, there's probably no real point, in most cases. The movement required to successfully breast feed is more than enough to produce the placement necessary for speech sounds.

  6. .

Thursday 9 July 2015

Our new Speech, Language and Communication Centre is now open!

We are happy to have a new centre, to which families can come to see us from further away. We already have  families from West Yorkshire, North Wales, Sussex, Surrey and Buckinghamshire booked in. I've just taken  call from someone in France who wants to come too!

We will have an official opening ceremony soon but meantime here's a preview:

 Can you spot Ralph, the therapy dog waiting at the door. He's happy to welcome anyone but especially enjoys working with children with ASD and Selective Mutism. There's a safe place for him if you don't like dogs though.

 This is the reception area where you can wait with a coffee. There's toys and books for the children and magazines for the adults.
From reception you go through into the  therapist's room. Its full of toys but these can be screened off if they're too distracting.

This is the training room below but it's also a multi-purpose room as the tables fold away. We might use this room for very distractible younger ones or for older ones who don't want to be in a play-type room.

We are happy to see people from all over so please get in touch if you think there's anything we can help with.