Speech and Language Therapy

 

Developing Communication in the Early Years

Children with social communication difficulties will need support to develop meaningful communications and positive interactions with parents, caregivers and peers. Socrates offers Speech and Language Therapy Interventions to support parents and caregivers to enhance and develop their children’s communication skills in a range of ways, including:

Developing parental sensitivity to children’s attempts to communicate by learning to identify how your child communicates.

Developing parental responsiveness to children’s attempts to communicate by learning how to respond to your child when they communicate with you using techniques such as intensive interaction in which we teach you to respond to your child in the way that they are communicating with you and to focus on what your child is focused on.

Observing what your child is attending to and focusing the communication on things that interest them in order to follow your child’s lead and develop joint attention.

Modelling simple verbal and nonverbal means of communication for your child. Nonverbal means of communication may include gestures, pointing, eye gaze, facial expressions, leading you to an object or bringing an object to you.

Using every day situations to develop communication skills with real-life benefits such as making choices at meal times, playing.

Using objects of reference or picture communication exchanges to help your child to ask for things that motivate them.

Using visual aids such a visual timetables or now-next boards to help your child to understand the routine of the day.

Using social stories to support understanding of familiar routines such as going swimming or scripted interactions such as going to the doctors.

Setting up the environment to encourage and support communication. For example, putting a desired item slightly out of your child’s reach to encourage them to request the item, doing something unexpected or humorous.

 

Following an initial Speech and Language Assessment, communication targets will be set which are specific to your child’s skills and needs. Regular sessions (usually fortnightly or three weekly) are provided at Socrates for you and your child over a three to four month period. This period can be extended if further sessions are required. Each clinic session lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The Speech and Language Therapist will model activities for you and your child to carry out in the clinic and at home. You will be asked to bring a recording device, such as a tablet or phone, so that your interactions with your child can be recorded and played back during the session for tailored discussion and feedback.

 

Developing Language and Communication in the School Years

Developing Language Skills

As your child’s language skills develop throughout the Primary School, High School and College years, they may require specific input to develop aspects of language skills such as grammar, vocabulary, making inferences or telling stories. Socrates offers direct Speech and Language Therapy Interventions to support children and young people to enhance and develop their language skills in a variety of areas, including:

Metacognitive skills: Metacognition refers to the child’s ability to think about their thinking and to monitor whether they know the answer to a question or know what they have to do. It includes skills such as:

          knowing the difference between “knowing” and “not knowing”

          knowing the difference between “having a go” and “guessing”

          knowing how to ask for help if you do not understand what someone has said such as asking for repetition or clarification

Vocabulary skills: Vocabulary skills refers to the child’s ability to understand and use words and knowledge about word meanings including:

          naming pictures and objects

          sorting into categories (foods, transport, animals, clothes etc)

          sorting by attributes (hot, cold, small, big)

          sorting by function (things we can eat, things we can wear)

          identifying opposites

          identifying words that mean the same (synonyms)

          time concepts such as days of the week, months of the year, seasons

          emotion vocabulary

Structural aspects of language: Structural aspects of language include:

          grammar/word endings (plurals, possessives)

          tenses (present, past, future tense) o pronouns (he, she, they, his, her, their, ours, my, your)

          prepositions (in, on, under, behind, in front) o word order for sentences (active sentences / passive sentences)

          connectives (and, because, so, then, but)

          temporal language (first, next, last, before, after, times of day)

Sequential language: describing every day activities e.g. how to brush your teeth, identifying an everyday activity from a description.

Narratives: telling a story using pictures (2, 3, or 4 picture sequences), telling a familiar story such as a fairy tale, generating a new story.

Understanding language: understanding instructions and questions.

Verbal reasoning: using language to explain things that have happened, using language to explain why objects as associated, using language to predict what will happen next or to talk about feelings.

Understanding stories or factual paragraphs of information: listening to spoken information and answering questions about the information (this skill uses verbal reasoning).

 

Developing Communication Skills

Once your child has developed their ability to use language to express themselves and to understand spoken instructions and questions, they may require further support to develop their social communication skills. Socrates Speech and Language Therapy Services can offer individualised Speech and Language Therapy to develop communication skills, flexibility and aspects of social use of language, including:

Learning pragmatic rules of conversation. Pragmatics refers to the area of language relating to how we use language to communicate in conversations and social situations. Pragmatic rules include knowing how to start and maintain a conversation, turn taking, topic maintenance, asking and answering questions.

Developing social understanding of social situations such as developing awareness, understanding and insight into the meaning of social cues in social interactions and conversations.

Developing awareness of friendships and friendship skills such as what it means to be a friend, how to make and sustain friendships, shared interests.

Understanding and expressing emotions including the ability to understand facial expressions or tone of voice, understanding situations that are associated with different emotions, identifying emotions in self and others, regulating emotions.

Understanding and practicing flexibility such as coping with change, winning and losing.

Understanding nonliteral language such as idioms, sarcasm and jokes.

Understanding deception and tricks by understanding things from other people’s points of view.

Using social stories or comic strip conversations to understand routine activities such as going swimming or scripted interactions such as going to the doctors.

Using visual aids such a visual timetables or now-next boards to help your child to understand the routine of the day or task requirements.

Using work stations to support your child to start tasks, complete tasks and work more independently.

 

Following an initial Speech and Language Assessment, communication targets will be set which are specific to your child’s skills and needs. Speech and Language Therapy Sessions are typically 45-90 minutes in duration, depending on your child’s needs. Sessions can be delivered weekly, fortnightly, monthly, half termly or termly depending on the level of support that you require. Regular home and/or school practice of the Speech and Language Therapy targets will also be required.

 

Support to your Child’s Educational Setting

Socrates Speech and Language Therapy Services can also offer the following services in your child’s nursery or school:

Attendance at meetings e.g. My Support Plan or Education Health and Care Plan Meetings to give advice on the recommended Speech and Language Therapy targets or advice.

Liaison with teachers or key workers to give advice on the recommended Speech and Language Therapy targets or strategies.

Specialist advice on modifications to the environment which may support your child to access education e.g. visual timetables, now and next boards, task boards, work stations, use of sand timers, use of 5-point emotional scales etc.

Specialist advice on setting up small group interventions in school such as Lego Therapy.

 

  

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