Thursday 29 October 2015

Talk to your Baby

We are delighted to be able to run this lovely course, free of charge to Staffordshire families. 75% of a baby's brain develops before the age of 2 years which makes the first 12 months crucial. Come along to 'Talk to your baby'. These are interactive sessions for parents/carers of babies aged 3 -12 months.

This course covers:
·         What is communication?
·         Adult-baby interaction
·         Play; the link between play and language.
·         Using words 
·         Play skills and sharing books

The sessions are very practical, there are opportunities to:·         Think about your baby's communication·         Try new ideas·         Choose activities specifically for you·         Discuss a range of related issues·         Practise using ideas at home

These are being held starting w/c 2nd Nov at:
 Charnwood Childrens' Centre in Lichfield mondays at 10.00 am, 
Cannock Chase Children's Centre mondays 10am
Silkmore Childrens Centre 10.00am wednesdays from 11th Nov
East Staffordshire on fridays at 1.00
Landywood Children's Centre on 1.00pm Thursdays

Just turn up, no need to book

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Calling Staffordshire Parents of pre-school children with social communication difficulties!!

We're delighted to be able to run Hanen's More Than Words for parents with pre-children with social communication difficulties, ASD or ASD tendancies? It's  free of charge for parents or professionals from staffordshire

We really like this course as it empowers parents to use everyday routines, play, toys and songs at home/out and about. Forget the worksheets and flashcards, this shows you how to use real situations to develop real communication. We learn language best in functional situations and if you have trouble generalising, then its got to be in everyday real-life situations.

Thursday 5th November at Uttoxeter Fire Station 7-8.30 pm
Monday January 11th Chase Terrace Fire Station 7-8.30 pm
Landywood Chidren's Centre, Gt Wyrley Wednesday 13th January 6.30-8.00. 
Courses run for 10 weeks. 

Just turn up on the first session or email to book a place. If you need any more information, just let me know.

Monday 5 October 2015

'He doesn't need speech therapy he talks fine!' When speech and language therapy assessments are a problem solving exercise!

My job could never , ever become boring as I meet the most fascinating characters every day. The more complex cases I do, the more referrals of complex cases I get. Each one one is different with completely distinct profiles but there is a thread which runs through everyone: a communication difficulty is an enormous barrier for children and leads to awful consequences in many of the cases I have seen. I used this quote "The ability to communicate is central to all that we do, to who we are, how we learn and how we relate to others. Communication problems of any kind, however mild, will certainly lead to isolation, frustration and an inability to fully integrate into society. Children will have a harder time making friends and fitting into nursery or school" (Ross, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2007). I was berated for making the issue sound so series, yet it's so very true for so many children.I see children who are struggling every day yet no-one has thought to refer to speech and language therapy as they 'talk fine'. Its usually because they know someone else in the same boat who has recommended us to be honest.If you have a child who sees things in a black and white manner, is quite literal, has problems getting on with staff and other children, has melt-downs or is very anxious, please see a speech and language therapist who is used to working with complex children. We can assess their pragmatic/social use of language and their receptive processing along with their expressive language to provide a full picture.If we have a profile of their needs we can look at strategies which can help enormously. If we can explain their behaviour, its so much easier to understand it and therefore cope better. Behaviour is just the symptom, if we can address the cause, the symptoms will diminish or in some cases disappear altogether. Obviously there are other causes of behaviour problems but a language and communication issue cannot be ruled out for many children.

Thursday 1 October 2015

October is SM Awareness: please help

The ‘Make a Noise for Selective Mutism Awareness Campaign’ is the social media arm of SMIRA’s Awareness Campaign for October 2015.  It involves an activity that we hope all ages can take part in, from grandparents to toddlers and even the family dog! Groups, school classes, etc. can also participate in any way they feel appropriate and it can also be expanded for use as part of a fundraising event, even without the video element.  Just be creative in what you do!

SMIRA’s aim is to raise awareness of selective mutism generally but also to raise funds to provide much needed training opportunities, particularly for health and education professionals and anyone who may be involved in the care and welfare of selectively mute children.

 Let’s help ‘our’ children find their beautiful voices!

How to take part in the ‘Make a Noise’ campaign:

·         First of all, think of creative ways to make a noise.  This could be using homemade musical instruments, household items, machinery or anything at all, then prepare to make a short video.  Wear fancy dress if you like, or do anything that might liven up your recording.  Our Music Therapist friend Kate Jones has provided some suggestions for making a noise – see below.

·         At the start, participants could say to camera that they are ‘Making a noise for selective mutism awareness, and ask (or nominate) xxx to do the same’.  Feel free to add any other comments that you feel might be relevant.

·         After completing the ‘noise making activity’ please either speak, hold up a card or add information under your video, saying ‘To donate, please text MAKE 15, followed by the amount, to 70070.’  (Our suggested amount is £3 but of course the donation can be for any amount).

·         SMIRA has a special ‘Makeanoise4SM’ page on facebook where you can upload your video, or use your chosen social media outlet adding the hashtag #MakeaNoiseforSM  or tag @InfoSmira  on Twitter.   

·         If you are too shy to appear in a video, you could if you prefer post a photo along with a text description of the event.

If you wish you can copy, paste and edit this underneath your video or photo:

·         Thank you XXX for my #‎makeanoise4SM nomination. I have donated £3 to SMIRA. Now I would like to nominate XXX and XXX to make a noise for Selective Mutism awareness. Please text MAKE15 to 70070.
For more information on the campaign and Selective Mutism click here:

Thank you for taking part in our campaign!