Simple Tips for Supporting Communication
• Talk to your child, even when they are a baby: before your baby begins to talk he/she is listening to you and learning many of the skills needed for strong communication.
• Minimise background noise: turn off your TV and radio so your child can hear what you are saying.
• Simplify your sentences: use shorter sentences, emphasise keywords, use gestures and leave pauses for your child to contribute.
• Follow your child’s attention and join in with their play and activities: talk about what he/she is looking at for short periods on a daily basis.
• Use everyday activities for language learning: e.g. putting away the shopping, sorting the laundry, etc…
• Establish a daily routine at joint picture-book reading: talk about the pictures, rather than simply asking ‘where’s the …?’ or ‘what’s that?’ questions; you may not even read the words – talking and thinking about the pictures together is more important for language development at an early age.
• Put away your smart phones and tablets: your child needs your undivided attention to learn to communicate well, and many activities on devices do not encourage two way communication.
Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations
Developed by Carol Gray, Social Stories are a simple tool used to help children and adults understand situations from perspective other than their own.
The use of the stories aims to modify and reduce negative behaviours while creating more understanding of how to react more appropriately in situations they find difficult.
Carol Gray also developed Comic Strip Conversations. These are used to help people learn about different social situations and how different people involved in an interaction may have been feeling during the interaction.
We recommend visiting the National Autistic Society website for more detailed information on Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations including how to plan, write and implement them effectively.
Ages and Stages
If you’re concerned your child may not be making the progress with their Speech and Language Development they should be, or if you’re just interested in seeing if they are making the expected progress, please have a look at the following website for a link to expected Ages and Stages information:
Remember, these are just a guide and many children do develop at different rates.
Contact us on the contact link at the bottom of this page if you’re concerned and would like to talk to us.
Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a difference in speech characterised most obviously by disrupted forward, easy flow of speech. The disruptions may be repetitions (sounds, part words, words), prolongations (stretching) of sounds and/ or blocks (restricted) airflow. Sometimes a ‘stutter’ may be a combination of these behaviours and may also include ‘secondary behaviours’ (e.g., eye blinking, head movements etc).
However, the visible features of stuttering do not fully capture the true nature of stuttering which also includes features which are not visible to others – underlying emotions, thoughts and feelings.
We still don’t know why some people start stuttering and others don’t, nor why some people develop a stutter which then disappears without any need for support when others develop a stutter than persists into their adult years.
We do know stuttering is usually first noticed in younger pre-school aged children. But that doesn’t mean a stutter cannot develop at other ages.
Many children will stop stuttering without any specialist support. This is more likely to happen within 6 months – 1 year of the stammer first developing. More girls are likely to stop stuttering without the need for support than boys. If yours or your child’s stutter has lasted for longer than 6 months, we suggest you seek advice from a suitably qualified/ experienced Speech and Language Therapist.
There are a number of approaches and options of support for people of all ages who stutter. Some of those approaches may be direct speech fluency approaches. Others may be less direct and focus more on acceptance, desensitisation as well as helping the stutterer identify all the strengths they already possess. Largely, the approach taken will be led by the client. A combination of approaches is often helpful.
In the early years, interventions such as the Lidcombe Programme for under 6’s, Syllable Timed Speech and Palin PCI have a growing evidence-base which demonstrate higher levels of natural fluency can be achieved with a longer- term maintenance of fluency. All of these programmes require a longer-term commitment from parents and children to work through them.
Whereas there are interventions such as the Camperdown Programme, Prolonged Speech and the Comprehensive Stuttering Programme which focus on developing more fluency for adolescent and adult clients, ‘fluency’ as a socially constructed ‘ideal’ of talking may not always be the preferred therapy outcome for some people. It’s important for people to speak more easily and recognise strong communication is more than just fluency. Speaking more easily need not always correlate to speaking ‘fluently’.
It may be that a person wants to learn how to modify their stutter to reduce tension and move forward with their message more easily (fluency shaping). It may be that the client learns to take control of their stutter and choose when to stutter (voluntary stuttering). Or it may be that a person decides they’re okay with stuttering and want to work more on the underlying emotions and feelings that may have developed over the years (CBT, Solution Focused Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy and other counselling approaches).
Whatever the age of client and whatever their goals we offer a range of support options for our clients including, and more than, those mentioned above.
If you are an adolescent, adult or have a child who has a stutter, please do get in touch with us to have a talk about what we can offer.
There are many useful websites where you can gather information and find out about support for Speech, Language and Communication Needs. We’ve listed a few here:
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists – www.rcslt.org
The Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice – www.helpwithtalking.com
Afasic – www.afasic.org.uk
ICAN – the Children’s Communication Charity – www.ican.org
The Communication Trust – www.communicationtrust.org.uk
A charity that finds help and adventure for disabled children – www.skybadger.co.uk
The Autism Directory – www.autismdirectorycharity.com
The National Autism Society – www.autism.org.uk
The British Stammering Association – www.stammering.org
The Dyspraxia Foundation – www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk