Another Great SEND Show!

On Monday 19th June, two of our therapists, Hannah and Zoe, attended the 3rd East Region SEND Show run by AcornTree Psychology and Consultancy Services. We had a great day, meeting lots of new faces, as well as catching up with others!

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Hannah delivered a jam-packed 45 minute talk to an enthusiastic group of delegates. The talk, “Why did you do that?” Exploring the Link Between Behaviour and SLCN, looked at why children with SLCN may also have difficulties with behaviour, social and emotional development. The session was very interactive, allowing everyone to share their thoughts on what a child’s behaviour may look like if they have difficulties with various areas of speech, language and communication, across a range of ages.

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We were very impressed by Mighty Writer who attended on the day, giving us a demonstration of their brand new resource! Mighty Writer transforms the way children learn to write – enabling children of all ages and abilities to become independent, confident and capable writers. It simplifies the traditionally complex process of learning to write. It does so in a manner that inspires children of all abilities; nurturing the skills of speech, story planning and writing. Although it is set up for writing, we think it would also be great to develop all sorts of verbal language skills!

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Thank you to AcornTree PCS for organising another great day and we look forward to attending next year! (Oh, and so do Francis and Fred!)

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The Team @ Communicate! 🙂

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Communicate Excellence Award

Without the support from Teacher’s, Teaching Assistant’s and other education staff, the children we work with wouldn’t make nearly as much progress as they do! Because of this, we like to recognise the wonderful staff we are working with and a few years ago, we created the ‘Communicate Excellence’ award to demonstrate this recognition! Our team of therapists nominate staff members throughout the academic year and each term, we announce our termly winner! The winner is presented with a certificate, a voucher to use towards our training courses, as well as a fun prize! Here are some of our winners so far…

  • Karen Canham! “For always having such a positive and inspirational attitude towards all her work. She continues to support and develop the people around her about SLCN. She conscientiously takes on any challenge given to her and puts 17457907_1408789012497668_4208944882736013508_n100% of thought and effort into working with the children. Without Karen lots of children would not be progressing so well and becoming such confident communicators. Additionally, she always looks after me and others within the school SLT team and has the flexibility and kindness to help out with other SLCN interventions when needed.”

 

  • Emily Last! “Since 2013, Emily has been part of supporting the children with SLCN with COMMUNICATE. She has been involved with identifying appropriate children, running groups, working with individuals, supporting me as a therapis17637065_1408790665830836_7262352265788126988_ot, and making me feel welcome. She is always keen to learn more and has attended some of COMMUNICATE’s training. It is lovely working with someone who is so enthusiastic about Speech and Language Therapy, which results in improved outcomes from the children!

     

  • Mel Thomas! “In September 2015 we began implementing the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) with the young man Mel was supporting. She embraced it from the start and worked so hard to get the student using PECS on
    a daily basis, even spending hours of her own time making him his o17626240_1408790802497489_1522309174705688519_nwn PECS folder. The student now has an effective way of expressing himself thanks to Mel and the
    other staff in the class. I’m really grateful for Mel’s enthusiasm, and her dedication to the students she works with!”

 

  • Ruth Hatcher! “Ruth is The Early Years Lead and the Teacher of Ducklings, one of the Reception classes at Piper’s Vale. Ruth is an absolute joy to work with an17621788_1408789545830948_5150544652084235095_od has made me feel very much part of the Early Years Team. Collaboratively, we have provided “No Pens” days, as well as weekly Makaton sessions that work alongside the curriculum. Ruth is always keen to support the children on their speech and language targets within the classroom and actively seeks to make speech and language targets part of her classroom teaching!”

 

  • Donna Dowsing! “Donna works incredibly hard with all the children w17553835_1408790689164167_6325235737719068992_nith speech and language difficulties in her class. She only needs to be shown something once and then she carries out the therapy tasks and supports the children in cla
    ss and 1:1. She is bubbly and fun and the children love to work with her. She is a real asset to the school and to the children!”

 

 

With the summer term nominations now rolling in, be sure to look out for our next winner soon!

The Team @ Communicate! 🙂

Eggcellent Easter Time!

It’s the Easter holidays, which means trees are colourful, flowers are blooming and birds are chirping away (oh, and there’s also lots of cake and chocolate about!). This is a great time of year to engage all 5 of your child’s senses! We have come up with some ideas for developing speech and language skills through the senses, all whilst being outside!

  • Hearing! Create a list or collect some pictures of lots of things you might hear outside at this time of year. For example birds chirping, children playing outside, people mowing their lawn and sheep bleating. Then, go for a spring walk with your list, and ask your child to tell you when they can hear one of the sounds on the list. This is a great way of developing your child’s general listening skills and is fun and easy for everyone!
  • Seeing! There are endless questions you could ask your child about springtime outside. Work on developing their understanding of a range of questions by asking things like “what colour is this flower?”, “where is the sheep?”, “when can we fly a kite?”, “how many different colours of flowers can you see?”, “which tree is the tallest?”.
  • Smelling! There are all sorts of smells in the air at this time of year. Some of the best things to smell during Spring are flowers, garden soil, freshly cut grass and worms! Talk to your child about these smells, ask them whether they like the smell or not. Make a list of smells they do and don’t like! Something else that starts to be in the air at this time of year is the smell of barbecues, mmmm!
  • Touching! Time to get muddy! Get out in the garden and do some gardening together. Let your child get mucky fingers from the mud and touch worms! Make mud cakes and act out being bakers in a shop, which is full of language opportunities! Also, feel the rain on your face and the wind push against you!
  • Tasting! The yummy part! When the sun is out, find an ice cream van! Talk to your child about their ice cream, using descriptive words like cold, tasty, big! Ask them how it feels on their tongue and teeth! As well as ice creams, we’re sure you’ll be eating Easter Eggs too! These are also great for talking about different language concepts, such as “you’ve eaten half of the egg”, or in our case “the easter eggs have all gone!”

We hope you all enjoy the Easter break and have nice weather!

The Team @ Communicate  🙂

The Wonderful World of Instagram!

The team at Communicate are now on Instagram, and WOW, it’s amazing! It’s a goldmine of inspiring ideas and fantastic tips from enthusiastic therapists and educational staff, who we can tell love their jobs as much as us!

We know that as therapists, if we ourselves become bored of resources, it’s very likely that the children will too! So, every time we look on our newsfeed, we see some amazing, new therapy ideas which re-inspire us to get creative and keep our little ones motivated!

Although we have already got so many ideas from many of the accounts we are following on Instagram (thank you!!), we have been in touch with 5 of the favourite pages we follow to check we can share their pages with you. Whether you’re a Speech and Language Therapist, someone working in a nursery/school or a parent/carer, these pages will give you some amazing ideas!

  • The SLT Scrapbook! We love following this UK based page! The ideas Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.21.42that are shared on here not only look great for therapy, but also look great with their creative and colourful posts! The resources shared are low prep, so they can be great for last minute planning or passing on ideas to parents. The SLT Scrapbook also share inspiring quotes and facts which help get us through tough days! https://www.instagram.com/thesltscrapbook
  • Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.22.02speech_materialgirl! Wow! We love the ideas and resources shared on this page, especially the little flip books which have been made to work on all sorts of speech, language and communication skills, such as speech sounds, adjectives, ‘wh’ questions, categories and so on! As well as photos, they also share little video clips of their resources being used which is great. https://www.instagram.com/speech_materialgirl
  • Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 21.18.12monaesspeechhouse! This page provides so many fun activities using everyday games such as the Orchard Toys games which are great for therapy, in more ways than imaginable! The regular ‘SLP TIPS 101’ posts have provided us with some alternative ideas to our practice. For example, we loved the idea of using stamps to stamp the children’s hands and remind them to use their specific sounds throughout their day! We’ve tried this and the children love it (more so than a sticker!!). https://www.instagram.com/monaesspeechhouse
  • adventuresinslp! Rebecca is an Australian SLP sharing fantastic ideas Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 16.48.21and adventures! As well as all the therapy ideas (especially the silly sentence activities!), we love the posts showing us this SLP’s adventures around the world! There’s also some cute ideas for using finger puppets to elicit sounds. Plus, Rebecca studied part of her Speech and Language Degree in the UK!
    https://www.instagram.com/adventuresinslp
  • phoneticspeak! This page is a great way of staying fresh with all Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 21.26.11things phonetics! Every post and picture provides quotes using phonetic transcription. This is one of our favourites, can you work out what it says…..? /aɪ wɒnə biː ə ʃwɑː ɪts nevə strest/. https://www.instagram.com/phoneticspeak

Be sure to check out some of these pages which we’re sure will inspire you as much as us. You can also follow our page to keep up to date with what the team are doing! (https://www.instagram.com/communicate_slt).

The Team @ Communicate! 🙂

Meet our Students!

We have two Speech and Language Therapy Students working with us throughout the Spring Term. They are completing their final placements from the University of East Anglia, before graduating to become Speech and Language Therapists! During this placement, they are visiting a number of settings with various members of our team.

We wanted to get to know our students a little better, so we’ve asked them a few questions! Meet Kate and Carissa….

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  • What made you interested in a career in Speech and Language Therapy? 

I’ve always enjoyed working with people and so when I first heard about SLT I was really excited to get to learn about a variety of different client groups. I was also excited to study a course at uni that was constantly different and challenging.

  • Is there anything you have learnt during the degree which you weren’t expecting to? 

I wasn’t aware that SLT’s helped with swallowing difficulties! It’s not obvious in the title ‘Speech and Language Therapist’!!

  • What other placement experiences have you had?

My placement last year was in an acute stroke and near unit in a hospital. This was a great experience and I really enjoyed putting my theory of adult communication difficulties into practice. I have also spent a few days in a Specialist Resource Base.

  • What are you enjoying most about your placement with Communicate?

I’m enjoying the variety of opportunities, from running individual therapy to a variety of groups. I’ve also been loving making and designing resources to use in therapy sessions, remembering to make them engaging and appropriate for the different levels of the children I’m working with.

  • Which client group do you see yourself working with when you’ve finished your degree?

I’m still working it out! I’m thoroughly enjoying working in paediatrics on my current placement, so I most likely see myself in this area but still remain open minded.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-13-12-00Carissa

  • What made you interested in a career in Speech and Language Therapy?

Since a very young age, I’ve always known that I wanted to be in a profession which involves helping people. When I was eight years old, my best friend required Speech and Language Therapy input for both communication and swallowing in an Intensive Care Unit of a hospital. My interest in Speech and Language Therapy grew from seeing the amazing work that they did to help my friend communicate, despite paralysis and initially not being able to use her voice at all.

  • Is there anything you have learnt during the degree which you weren’t expecting to? 

I never realised the extent to which Speech and Language Therapists can be involved with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) following our dysphagia training. During my second year placement in a hospital, the majority of my educators caseload were made up of dysphagia patients.

I had also never considered the role of a Speech and Language Therapist with tracheostomy care, until I saw SLT input with a patient with tracheostomy on placement. Following this we also had a lecture on the subject.

  • What other placement experiences have you had?

In my first year of university, I visited a man who’d had a stroke, leaving him with some language difficulties, or aphasia. His aphasia mostly presented as word-finding difficulties. We would have a chat for an hour a week and support our conversations with props, such as photographs, alphabet charts and maps, to aid his word-finding difficulties.

In my second year of university, I had an eight week adult block placement in a hospital. I was able to gain experience in many different settings within the hospital, including the acute stroke ward, head and neck clinic, voice clinic, video fluoroscopy clinic (x-ray of the swallow) and I also ventured into the community one afternoon a week to attend a stroke communication group.

  • What are you enjoying most about your placement with Communicate?

I am enjoying everything about my placement with Communicate! It’s great to be getting such a range of experiences, from working with children of reception age to high school age. I have also been given the opportunity to carry out both individual and group therapy sessions, as well as a range of assessments. I am definitely learning something new or consolidating my learning every day and I couldn’t ask for a better placement with a better or more supportive team!

  • Which client group do you see yourself working with when you’ve finished your degree? 

At this stage I am very open minded, as I have enjoyed all areas of Speech and Language Therapy that I have experienced and learnt about…so I can’t decide!

 

We are really enjoying having both students with us and sharing our passion for Speech and Language Therapy!

The Team @ Communicate! 🙂

Communicake!

We are excited to be running another Communicake Group on the 20th February 2017! Our last group was great fun and the parents and children who attended found it both enjoyable and helpful.

Below are 5 reasons why you should attend our next group!

  • It’s free to attend! The group is free to attend and you can come at any time between 1pm and 2.30pm. It’s a laid-back, friendly group and we promise there will be cake!
  • We have a taster session from Moo Music! Moo Music is a fun interactive music session which is enjoyed by babies, toddlers and active pre-schoolers, as well as parscreen-shot-2017-01-26-at-14-44-11ents and caregivers. Music is an essential part of every child’s development and the 100+ original Moo Music songs used at the sessions are positive, uplifting, fun and educational. The interactive sessions will help your child gain confidence an
    d develop memory, language and coordination skills in an exciting, enjoyable and multi-sensory way. This will take place around 1.45pm! Visit www.moo-music.co.uk/areas/sdnm to find out more about them!
  • Great opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s speech and language development! There will be a number of our therapists at the group so you can discuss any concerns you may have with regards to speech and lanscreen-shot-2017-01-18-at-16-23-36guage development. We can give advice or demonstrate activities which may support your child.
  • Language enriching activities! We are setting up lots of language enriching activities to support speech and language development, and this time with a pirate theme!
  • Make friends! As the group is fun and friendly, your little ones have the opportunity to make friends, as well as you. You can participate in the activities with your children, or sit back and talk with other parents and our team, whilst your little one plays.

We look forward to seeing you on the 20th February, 1-2.30pm, at our clinic:

4 Stable Yard, Moat Farm, Middlewood Green, IP14 5HG.

The Team @ Communicate 🙂

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Communicate’s Christmas Carols!

During World Nursery Rhyme week (November 7th-11th) we stressed the importance of nursery rhymes and songs in relation to speech and language development. As it’s December and Christmas is fast approaching, we have been hearing lots of Christmas songs in the schools we work in, mostly in practice for Christmas plays! These traditional Christmas songs often get stuck in our heads and we find ourselves humming, whistling or singing along, even when we try not to! Communicate have picked our 5 favourite Christmas songs and here’s why!

  • screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-11-49-38Jingle Bells! This song provides children with an upbeat tune, with lots of repetition! Repetition stimulates early learning as it encourages language
    acquisition and benefits memory. The song also provides a set
    of rhyming words, which is also great for developing speech and language skills!
  • Silent Night! A Christmas classic which dates back to 1818, therefore providing screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-11-52-25children with the opportunity to discuss the history surrounding the song. There is also the opportunity to learn new vocabulary within the song,
    which may need to be explicitly pre-taught for children to
    understand what they are singing!
  • Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer! Another quick, upbeat song which children love! We’ve recently seen this song being signed by a whole class and it looked brillianscreen-shot-2016-12-12-at-11-52-52t! As well as the rhyme and range of vocabulary being used in this song, it encourages children to think about the lyrics; Rudolph is slightly different from the others, but should be treated no differently!
  • 12 Days of Christmas! This is a cumulative song, meaning that each verse is built on top of the previous, which is great for developing auditory memory skills! It also screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-11-53-43helps children develop their counting skills. This song provides endless language and learning opportunities as there are various versions and it can be adapted! Children can find objects/pictures for the varying quantities being described in the song, and learn concepts such as ‘more’ and ‘less’ if given the opportunity to discuss each part.
  • We wish you a Merry Christmas! More repetition, rhyme and vocabulary learning screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-11-54-19opportunities are heard in this song. There’s also opportunities to discuss the origin of the song and for children to think about what they could do to wish someone a Merry Christmas! A cheerful Christmas classic, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

We would like to wish all the children taking part in Christmas plays this year, good luck, and we hope everyone has a very happy Christmas!

The Team @ Communicate! 🙂

P.S. A big thank you to Emma from all of us for our Team Christmas Party!

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The Team’s Favourite Games!

In our opinion, any toy, game or activity can be used for developing speech, language and communication skills. There are endless ways in which you can make games be full of language opportunities, which is why when working with children, we love to involve some fun games! We’ve been talking within the team about some of our favourite games and resources to use when practicing speech and language skills. These are our top 5:

  • Mr Potato Head!  This is a great resource which can be used in many ways. We often use it to develop vocabulary relating to body parts and clothes, both receptively and expressively. As children are beginning to label objects, you can hold up two of the parts/accessories and name them to your child; “Would you 61jluvijvs-_sy355_like the nose or the hat“, emphasising the key words for the child to choose from. You could also take photos of the different parts and use them for children to show you which part they would like. Mr Potato Head is also great for developing turn taking skills. If you can’t get your hands on an actual Mr Potato Head, there are lots of apps which follow the same idea!
  • Shopping List!  This Orchard Toys resource is used all the time in our schools. Children have to turn over cards with food items and can put them in their trolley if they’re on their shopping list. It’s another great resource for vocabulary development, with all the different types of foods: fruit/vegetables/meat/fish. 81mbaldrmll-_sl1500_The game also provides opportunities to develop semantic skills (‘Can you think of another green vegetable?’), sound identification (‘What sound did you hear at the start of that word?’) and rhyme (‘Can you think of a word that rhymes with this food?’). Other areas such as attention and listening skills and turn taking are also being developed with this game!
  • Connect Four! This classic game, where you have to line up four coloured 51bvikht3xldiscs before your opponent, is a great therapy resource. It can be used for any speech and language activity, where the child can take a turn after every attempt at, for example, a specific speech sound, or creating a sentence. It also develops problem solving skills, logical thinking and predicting what might happen next!
  • Bop It! We have recently seen this game being used in schools with small groups of children, and think it’s great! It’s an audio game where play consists of following a series of commands issued through speakers by the toy. bop-it-game-for-autismThere are multiple inputs including pull handles, twisting cranks, spin-able wheels, toggle switches, with pace speeding up and commands increasing as the player progresses. It’s excellent for attention and listening skills as well as auditory memory and comprehension skills.
  • Honey Bee Tree! Another great game for turn taking and can be used as described above: children can pull out a leaf from the tree after every practice attempt. This is an alternative to the game ‘KerPlunk’ and can teach honey-bee-tree-ptru1-2910036dtchildren about concepts (e.g. most/least, top/bottom) as well as developing problem solving skills and co-ordination/fine motor skills!

If you know of or have seen any other games being used in therapy sessions or to develop speech, language and communication skills, we would love to hear from you!

The Team @ Communicate! 🙂

 

Developing language through daily routines!

We know that when we give resources and targets to families, it can sometimes be difficult finding the time to fit them in. We also know that one of the most powerful ways to build language is inside of routines, especially those that occur on a daily basis. That’s why the team at Communicate have put together our ‘top 5 daily routines’ to develop speech and language skills. This means you don’t need to create more time for anything, as you’re already doing it!

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  • Brushing your teeth! Make brushing your teeth fun together! Two minutes is the recommended time to spend cleaning children’s teeth. This fits perfectly with many ‘brushing your teeth’ songs which you can either sing yourself or find on YouTube to play along. We love the “This is the way we brush our teeth” video found here…. https://youtu.be/Pd4WnsXwdqw. Based on a popular nursery rhyme, this song may be familiar to your child already so they can sing and dance along! Children love how nursery rhymes sound and the repetition helps children to learn language and communication and social, physical and emotional skills.

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  • Getting dressed! There are lots of language opportunities involved with getting dressed. You can develop your child’s sequencing skills by talking to them about the order in which they are getting dressed. Use words like ‘first’, ‘next’ and ‘last’ to develop their understanding of time concepts. Make sure you are labelling body parts and items of clothing too, to build their vocabulary. You can find some great ‘getting dressed’ sequencing pictures here…. http://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t-c-102-getting-dressed-routine-cards-boys.

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  • Bath time! Endless language opportunities take place during bath time! Think of all the sounds that you can make together; splash, bubble, pop! As well as all the language that can be modelled; bath, water, hot, cold, empty, full, washing, cleaning! The sensory aspects involved also make bath time a fun adventure for children. Fill up a jug with water and hold it up so your little one can see. Model ‘ready, steady, go!’ and then start to pour the water so it splashes just in front of them. Then stop! Wait and see if your child will show or tell you they want you to do it again. ‘Ready, steady, go’ activities are great for developing attention and listening skills. We love the bath time activity ideas found here…. http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/10-fun-bath-time-activities-for-kids/.

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  • Tea time! Sitting together for lunch or tea time can be a great opportunity to interact with your child. Children can develop skills like turn taking and are more likely to understand, acknowledge, and follow the boundaries and expectations set by their parents if they eat dinner with their family. You could ask your child to help you lay the table, labelling items together e.g. forks, plates, cups. These ideas of playing language games at the table are great for developing children’s speech, language and communication skills…. http://blog.emeals.com/5-ways-to-make-dinnertime-fun-for-your-kids/.

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  • Pets! A pet can be a great vehicle for learning with parents support. Pets can be part of developing your child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills. If you have pets at home, include your child in the responsibilities involved with having pets. Things like getting them to fill up food bowls, grooming and walking pets will give children a sense of responsibiltiy and is likely to increase their self-esteem. The range of vocabulary associated with these tasks will help to increase your child’s language skills. If you don’t have pets, you could use some of the ideas on this page to set up a ‘pet theme’ at home… http://www.preschool-plan-it.com/pets-theme.html.

We would love to hear how you make your daily routines fun for children!

Our next blog will look at our top 5 toys/games for language development. See you all soon!

The Team @ Communicate! 🙂

Back to school!

We’re all thinking it; how is it September already? Isn’t it just the start of the Summer Holidays? No, it’s September and we’re back to school (or maybe even starting school for some little ones).

We know how difficult it can be getting back into the swing of things after a long summer, so here at Communicate, we have put together the “5 C’s” for supporting your child with the return to school;

  • Compose: It’s a great time to help prepare children for what to expect in school. Talk to them about school routines.  Perhaps get creative and compose a ‘Social Story’ about their new school timetable. If you’re not so ‘hands on’ creative, download the ‘Social Stories Creator and Library’ app where you can create your own stories with your child.
  • Communicate: Talk to your child’s teacher about any concerns you have with their speech and language. Find out who the school SLT is and arrange a time to talk to them. Regular contact with your SLT is helpful and can be done via a home/school diary, emailing, making phone calls or attending meetings.
  • Confirm: If your child had targets last year, check them to see how they are getting on. With lots of fun and social opportunities over the summer, children can make lots of progress. If you feel they are ready to move on, let your SLT know and request updated targets.
  • Consolidate: Following on from above, make sure you are aware of what targets are being set in school, so that you can also help them at home. Research has proven that parental involvement with SLT has huge benefits, so please get involved and ask for activities and ways to help at home!
  • Collaborate: Talk to your child’s teacher and SLT to find out what phonics programmes or literacy interventions are being used in your child’s school. You can then practice the sounds and silly actions with your child at home to help their speech and literacy skills.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get off to a great start to the year! We would love to hear from you with any other top tips for going back to school, so please feel free to leave a comment!

We would like to wish you all a great school year!

The Team @ Communicate 🙂