Spring 2005

Articles from the Spring 2005 Issue

Getting the message

Child, C. (2005)

Charlotte Child’s ‘Choices, Changes and Challenges Framework’ (see Summer 04) for children who are early communicators is followed up by ‘First Messages’.

When working with children who are early communicators, Charlotte Child felt she was too reliant on set words, a teddy, picture cards and luck and wanted a more dynamic, communication-focused tool. The ‘First Messages’ framework described here follows up ‘Choices, Changes and Challenges’ (Summer 2004), and bridges the gap for teachers and parents between a child recognising and understanding what is going on and communicating about what the situation means to them.

Family Learning – are we ready?

Davies, K., Murphy, T. & Tweedle, S. (2005)

Is the profession ready for an extended role in Family Learning?

A letter to the editor puts the case for programmes combining language development in young children with support for adult learning – but wonder if the profession is ready to campaign for this extended role? The authors present evidence from a Sure Start Team where speech and language workers aimed to support a group of parents to develop their own confidence and skills in communicating.

Victims? – Not a bit of it!

Hewerdine, F. & Laugesen, L. (2005)

Getting involved in an anti-smoking campaign and organising workshops for people with a laryngectomy has empowered clients.

Recommendations in a national cancer and palliative care strategy in New Zealand led Fiona Hewerdine and Linda Laugesen to get involved in preventative education for a high risk population and a laryngectomy workshop. Both ventures empowered laryngectomy clients, who took on a variety of active roles: problem-solver, trainer, partnership & team player, planner, authority, mentor, counsellor, nurse, entertainer, preventative counsellor, peer mentor, financial manager, inventor and speaker. The authors also reflect on the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of the process.

Feature: The write stuff?

Nicoll, A. (2005)

The profession’s approach to written communication, within the bigger picture of user involvement and accessibility.

Editor Avril Nicoll asks how we can make our written communication more accessible – and finds it may not be ‘the write stuff’ in the first place. User involvement is essential, and the future is likely to see us using different media more flexibly to ensure everyone can access what they need.

Speech and language therapy professionals contributing to this feature are Susanne Sims, Deborah Green, Non Elias, Petrea Woolard, Louise Scrivener, Alison Webb, Bethan Jones, Vanessa Crowe, Carole Pound, Susie Parr and Jan Roach as well as Neera Malhotra and her copywriter husband Chris Gregory and interactive software designer Ken Fee.

Tightening up on relaxation

Stück, M., Rigotti, T. & Lüdtke, U. (2005)

Concerns about the lack of scientific rigour in evaluation studies of relaxation in speech and language therapy.

If you use relaxation methods in your work, how do you decide if a client would benefit and what particular approaches would suit? The authors review European literature. While they find most evaluation studies of relaxation in speech and language therapy report significant improvements, they are concerned by their lack of scientific rigour. They cite theory deficit, inaccuracy and lack of detail in research methods, and a reliance on non-statistical approaches, and argue for a stricter approach to designing research in this field.

Winning Ways: The appreciation key

Middlemiss, J. (2005)

Life coach Jo Middlemiss explains how and why to practise an ‘attitude of gratitude’.

Mary has been in the same post for 10 years, and feels taken for granted and ignored. In the second of a series to encourage reflection and personal growth, life coach Jo Middlemiss explains how Mary can practise an ‘attitude of gratitude’ – and why it is worth putting in the work needed to appreciate the bright side.

How I bridge the gaps

(1) – Assessing the structure

Margerison, M., Hunter, R. & Fenton, A. (2005)

G.A.P.S. is a new assessment of social communication skills of teenagers with moderate learning disabilities.

Given the limitations of published material, how do you make a comprehensive assessment of the social communication skills of teenagers with moderate learning disabilities? Margaret Margerison, Ros Hunter and Adrienne Fenton find and bridge the G.A.P.S. with their aptly named Group Assessment Procedure in Schools. The development process included recognising that referral issues had to be addressed, that full and accurate personal and educational information needed to be provided at an earlier stage, and that group selection procedures required greater attention.

(2) – Strengthening the foundations

Manz, J. (2005)

A regular snack session for mainstream special needs pupils with persisting eating and drinking difficulties reconciles teaching and therapy aims.

How do you reconcile a therapist’s aims of experimentation, independence and food manipulation by pupils with education staff’s focus on manners and nutrition? For Joanna Manz, the key was to invest time in preparation and negotiation of a regular snack session, which has also proved useful as a structured setting for generalising PECS™ (the Picture Exchange Communication System).

(3) – Scaling the scaffolding

Davies, L. (2005)

How Storyboards have helped children construct their own adventure stories in an Education Achievement Zone.

Once upon a time, a speech and language therapist and teachers in an education achievement zone targeted storytelling in junior aged children to raise attainment. Storyboards proved to be a useful tool, providing the scaffolding the 7-8 year olds needed to construct their own adventure stories. Lizzie Davies found the process raised awareness among teachers of the importance of using visual materials to support children’s learning.

My Top Resources for change

Comins, J. (2005)

Voice specialist and psychotherapist Jayne Comins on ten books to help you make changes in your professional and personal life.

In addition to personal therapy and career counselling, voice specialist and psychotherapist Jayne Comins has found ten guides particularly helpful in bringing about short- and long-term changes to her professional and personal life. Jayne says these handbooks have given her a way of thinking creatively about changes she might be needing to make – or is vaguely aware of – regarding work, friendships and leisure. She finds holidays a good time to reflect on life generally, and to think about what she’d like to be different.