They don't understand what she's saying

It is our natural instinct to protect our children when we see them having difficulty. When other people are struggling to understand our child’s  speech it can be difficult to stand by and not help them out.

But remember , when under pressure, our kids can surprise us with their resilience and their resourcefulness. I have often seen children at school or nursery use alternative ways to make their voices heard. They will lead others by the hand to what they want, mime what they are trying to say, use pictures and show objects, write things down and try and rephrase things to make it easier for the other person to understand.

Repairing communication breakdown in these ways without our help is a great skill to learn, and something we should encourage. When children can achieve this, it  builds confidence in their own abilities to problem solve.  So if you can, be patient and resist the urge to jump in straight away.

But what can I do if I see them upset?

The key here is to empower your child rather than translate for them.  This means, use techniques to support and scaffold the conversation,  like recasting.

Recasting can be a really powerful tool. It refers to repeating an error-utterance back to someone, but with the error corrected. Here an example

Child: Him’s tar talled Batmobile.

Adult:  That’s right,  his car’s called Batmobile? thats a cool name for a car

This also models the correct pronunciation to your child – without drawing attention to the error or putting them under pressure to repeat correctly. The more a child hears correct language models, the more likely they are to self correct.

Don’t be embarrassed and try not to draw attention to your child’s articulation difficulties. This can lead to frustration or your child ‘opting out’ of communication all together.

Stay calm and educate those around you about how best to support them.

 

Does Speech Therapy via Telepractice Work in Schools?

Telepractice is the essence of Mable. The Speech Therapist and child, chat via videolink and all the usual strategies and resources are made into games they can play together online.

More specifically,  Telepractice is used to describe the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of Speech Language Therapy  services at a distance by linking clinician to client for assessment, intervention, or consultation.

It’s simple, Telepractice allows you to cut waiting time, increase flexibility, is super appealing to children, and is way more cost effective for schools and nurseries.

And that’s not all – The Mable system makes tracking, and reporting on student progress much easier – with complete transparency between therapist, teacher and parent. everything is automated and easy to interpret.

Truth be told, I think it’s Marvelous! but I would, wouldn’t I.

So let’s take a closer look at the research and find out whether it is actually worth making the switch.

Recent studies suggest that children make similar progress regardless of whether services are delivered via teletherapy or in the in-person mode

(Gabel, Grogan-Johnson, Alvares, Bechstein, & Taylor, 2013; Grogan-Johnson, Alvares, Rowan, & Creaghead, 2010; Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013).

School based teletherapy delivery for speech therapy is also perceived positively by stakeholders including parents, teachers, and administrators

(Crutchley & Campbell, 2010).

Speech pathologists have suggested that teletherapy delivery within the school setting may afford certain advantages, including increased opportunities for collaboration between clinicians and school teachers

(Tucker, 2012).

The need for Speech and Language Therapy delivered through digital technology is being discussed more and more throughout the UK. Schools, Nurseries and individual clients are waiting for a long time to be seen by an NHS therapist. Patients often have to step in and do things for themselves like pay for a private therapist or use resources from the internet without the guidance of a specialist professional.

Ofsted have firmer demands for tracking pupil progress and cost effectiveness of intervention – Telepractice does provide an option to make these things easier and more efficient.

So, although there is certainly room for further research to be conducted, initial case studies and small number studies support the efficacy of telepractice as an approach to speech and language intervention

If you would be interesting in trialling Mable Therapy in your school or nursery as part of our pilot project please get in touch with me directly martha.currie@mable.co.uk leave a comment or sign up on our website http://mabletherapy.com/

 References

  • American Telemedicine Association. (2010). A blueprint for telerehabilitation guidelines.www.americantelemed.org/docs/default-source/standards/a-blueprint-for-telerehabilitation-guidelines.pdf?sfvrsn=4.
  • Crutchley, S., Dudley, W., & Campbell, M. (2010). Articulation assessment through videoconferencing: A pilot study.Communications of Global Information Technology, 2, 12-23.
  • Grogan-Johnson, S., Alvares, R., Rowan, L., & Creaghead, N. (2010). A pilot study comparing the effectiveness of speech language therapy provided by telemedicine with conventional on-site therapy. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 16, 134-139.
  • Grogan-Johnson, S., Gabel, R., Taylor, J., Rowan, L., Alvarex, R., & Schenker, J. (2011). A pilot exploration of speech sound disorder intervention delivered by telehealth to school-age children.International Journal of Telerehabilitation,3(1), 31-42.
  • Tucker, J (2012). Perspectives of Speech-Language Pathologists on the Use of Telepractice in Schools: Quantitative Survey Results. International Journal of Telerehabilitation,3(1), 31-42.

 

10 secrets to being a happy parent

happy mum

 

[minti_spacer height=”40″]

1. Stick to routines

Take the needless guesswork out of meals and bedtimes. Let everyone relax into the predictable flow of a healthy and secure life. children feel more secure when they have boundaries and are able to predict what is going to happen next. Of course there will be changes to routine, but explain why the changes are happening and that things will go back to normal tomorrow so your little ones know what to expect.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t struggle needlessly, people offer to help because they really want to be there for you. Take time everyday for yourself and connect with the things that matter to you as an individual. Check out stress less for more ideas. Happy Mums are not afraid to ask…and Very Happy Mums just say, “Please.”

3. Get out and about

Fresh air, sunlight, and nature are believed to be critical mood enhancers for women, pack up the push chair and get out in the park. take some time with your baby and check out what is around your area. It doesn’t have to be for hours on end. ten minutes will make all the difference and lift your mood for the day.

4. You have heard it before….that’s because it works!

hitting the gym can feel a bit self indulgent with little ones around. but keeping fit and healthy is so important for your mental health. Exercise will also support your stamina and help you get a better night’s sleep. call in a favour, get to a zumba class and sweat it out.

5. Reduce distractions

switch off the radio, the TV and put your phone away. These artificial distractions throughout the day are stress inducing and reduce your ability to switch your attention from one task to the next. They also affect the amount of time you are able to concentrate on things. When you can, get some peace, reduce the stimulation, switch it off and connect with what is going on around you.

6. Give more attention.

And less of everything else. Devote ten minutes a day to giving undistracted attention to your children. Not in activities driven by your agenda, but according to their terms. Undivided attention is the most concrete expression of love you can give. see our special time post for more ideas

7. Say sorry

The best way to teach your little ones is by example. Be the first to apologise and  instantly restore household harmony. By your doing it, your children will learn humility, empathy and forgiveness.

8. Get some rest

I know right? are we kidding! In the first months..years of a baby’s life mums can wear sleep deprivation like a badge of honour. but the sooner you get your eight hours back the more joyful you will really feel.

9. Give your body what it needs to stay alert, to exercise and to support your babies.

Go for sugar free muesli or bran flakes or porridge for brekkie and try to eat as much fruit and veg as you can throughout the day….if you aim for 10 pieces instead of 5 you will find it doesn’t give you much room to eat anything else

10. Plan some time with your mates

You need something to look forward to on the horizon to stay positive throughout the day. Whether it’s book club, a joint gym sesh, or a night on the tiles make sure you have something in your diary that is going to keep you pumped.

 

The best support you can give your child is a stress free, happy parent – it is not selfish to make time for yourself. so go on, call a friend, make a plan, call in a favour, it’s time to get back to being you.

 

Become the expert

How to monitor your child’s Speech and Language progress Read more

Special Time

So how do I play with my child to help their development?

Create special time. For ten minutes each day -Call it by the most special name there is — your child’s name. So in your house it might be Liam time

Plan:

  • Choose a time when any other children are being looked after by someone else (unless they are old enough to stay occupied with something.) If you have more than one child, you’ll want to set up a schedule so all siblings know their special time is coming soon.
  • Set a timer for ten minutes. Turn off all phones so you can’t hear incoming calls. I suggest starting with ten minutes because it will seem like an eternity if you aren’t used to being fully present in the moment with another person. Don’t worry, it gets easier, and you do start to enjoy it!
  • Say “Today you get to decide what we will do with our ‘Special Time.’  What would you like to do?”

    Don’t structure Special Time.  This is about following your child’s lead!

  • Just connect to your child and be present!! If he wants to play with his blocks, don’t rush in to tell him how to build the tower.  Instead, watch with every bit of your attention what he is doing. Occasionally, say what you see without interfering:  “You are making that tower even taller….you are standing on your tiptoes to get that block up there. Don’t take control or suggest your own ideas unless he asks.

    Take the pressure off your child to talk –  avoid asking questions or asking your child to ‘say’ certain things  ‘ just play and establish a connection’

  • If he wants to do something that he isn’t usually allowed to do, consider whether there’s a way to do it safely since you are there to help him.  Maybe you always tell him that it’s too dangerous to jump off the chest-of-drawers onto the bed, but for special time you can push the bed next to the chest-of-drawers and stay with him as he jumps to be sure he’s safe.  Maybe he has always wanted to play with his dad’s shaving cream but you weren’t about to let him waste a can of it, or to clean it up.  For special time, you might decide to gift him with his own can of cheap shaving cream and let him play with it in the tub, and then the two of you can clean it up together
  • End Special Time when the timer buzzes.  If your child has a meltdown, handle it with the same compassionate empathy with which you would greet any other meltdown and give him your full attention in his meltdown.  But don’t think of that as extending special time, just as you would not give your child anything else he has a tantrum about, like an extra biscuit. Special time needs boundaries around it to signal that the rules aren’t the same as in regular life.

Remember if its not fun – its not working!

Play and Development in the Early Years

Why are the Early Years important? 

Between the ages of 2 and 6 children’s brains are going through a period of rapid growth.These Early Years are the single most important time to for children to develop and learn about the world.

The Science

Neuroplasticity refers to functional and structural changes in the brain that are brought about by training and experience. (Johnstan et al 2009). At birth each neuron has 7500 connections. these  increase rapidly in the first two years of life until the synaptic connections are double that of an adult brain. During the early years Neuroplasticity allows children to  maintain the skills that are most important and relevant to them and prune other ones away (apotosis)  (Mundkhur 2005).

Research demonstrates that intensive early intervention can alter positively the cognitive and developmental outcomes of young infants (Yoshinaga-Itano, 2001). Learning Language is a skill innate and unique to human beings. The critical period for language learning is between the ages of 2-6. This is why early intervention is so important.

What can I do in the Early Years to support my child?

We know children are dynamic learners. They develop their ability to listen, understand and talk from the events and experiences that are going on around them . The best way to teach our young ones new ideas, concepts and words is through experience and more specifically Play!

Who says?

Many studies have demonstrated the superior learning and motivation arising from playful, as opposed to instructional, approaches to learning in children. Pretend play supports children’s early development of symbolic representational skills, including those of literacy, more powerfully than direct instruction. (Cambridge researcher David Whitebread 2013)

Positive, nurturing and creative relationships are essential for healthy child development. Children need the company of knowledgeable, mature and emotionally balanced adults who fully understand their developmental need. Thats where you come in!

see our post on play – Special Time

References

  • Johnston MV, Ishida A, Ishida WN, Matsushita HB, Nishimura A, Tsuji M. (2009) Plasticity and injury in the developing brain. Brain Development 31:1–10.
  • Mundkur, N. (2005) Neuroplasticity in children The Indian Journal of Pediatrics Volume 72, Issue 10, pp 855-85
  • Yoshinaga-Itano, C. Coulter, D. Thomson, V. (2001) Developmental outcomes of children with hearing loss born in Colorado hospitals with and without universal newborn hearing screening programs. Semin Neonatol. Dec;6(6):521-9.

UK Universities research digital platforms for use with adults with Aphasia

Aphasia is a communication disorder often caused by stroke. It affects the ability to understand, talk, read and write. People with aphasia rarely receive treatment from NHS speech and language therapists for more than 3 months. It has been established that people with aphasia can continue to improve their communication with prolonged treatment (beyond 12 months), but this is rarely available.

Remote technologies provide access to people that cannot easily get to clinic

It has already been shown service delivery via Internet video conferencing could make remote interactions with clients part of routine practice. As well as videolink therapy; online technological applications are effective in  helping people with aphasia restore language. They can also enable individuals to compensate for langauge difficulties.

  • Sentence shaper allows individuals to build sentences and longer phrases from “snippets”. These snippets are made up from recordings of a word or short phrase, using the program’s built-in sound recorder.
  • Step-by-Step is a computer program designed to help people to practise exercises to improve their ability to find the correct words when they are talking.
  • And of course, Mable will offer both video link and online applications to support language rehabilitation in patients with aphasia

interestingly,  the National institute for Health Research together with the University of Sheffield are funding a Big CACTUS study which aims to compare computer therapy with attention control and usual care to see if use of computer software with assistance from a volunteer/speech therapy assistant can improve the ability of people with aphasia to talk

This research will establish whether people with aphasia can continue to improve their ability to talk after completion of traditional NHS therapy, and whether this can be achieved cost effectively by offering computer treatment at home.

Lets hope the outcome of this research will increase access to Speech and Langauge Therapy for those that  require it.

In the meantime….checkout Mable

For more information on the Big Cactus project

Information  from leading specialist Professor Jane Marshall here