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 fluency characterised by disrupted speech patterns. The disruption may be exhibited as repetitions (sounds, part words, words and even sentences), prolongations (stretching) of sounds or blocked (restricted) airflow. Sometimes a ‘stutter’ may be a combination of these behaviours and may also include what we refer to as ‘secondary behaviours’ (e.g. eye blinking, head movements etc).
The truth is we still don’t know a lot about why some people start stuttering and others don’t, nor why some children develop a stutter and then stop stuttering, whereas others continue to stutter into their adult years… and actually, it may not be particularly helpful to the person who stutters/ stutterer to continually look for those reasons. We do know stuttering usually develops in younger pre-school aged children. But in some cases it can develop in older children and even in adolescents.
Many children will stop stuttering without any specialist support. This is more likely to happen within 6 months of the stutter first developing and more girls are likely to stop stuttering naturally than boys. If yours or your child’s stutter has lasted for greater 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.
In the early years, interventions such as the Lidcombe Programme for under 6’s and Syllable Timed Speech have a growing evidence base which demonstrate higher levels of fluency can be achieved with a longer term maintenance of fluency. Both of these programmes require a longer term commitment from parents and children to work through them.
Syllable Timed Speech also has some evidence base for use with older school aged children.
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 (which is a completely acceptable decision to make) and want to work more on the underlying emotions and feelings that may have developed over the years (CBT, Solution Focused 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