Spring 2006

Articles from the Spring 2006 Issue

Learning in style

Nicoll, A. (2006)

How can you motivate and inspire yourself, your clients, students and colleagues to learn? A look at work on understanding and working with learning styles.

How can you motivate and inspire yourself, your clients, students and colleagues to learn? Editor Avril Nicoll looks at work on understanding and working with learning styles – and finds out that a little of what you prefer can make a big difference. Speech and language therapists interviewed for this feature are Aileen Patterson, Zein Perera, Barbara Clarkson, Sarah Heneker and Belinda Walker.

Photo opportunities

Matthews, A. & Baynham, T. (2006)

A celebration of skill mix. A communication development worker introduces a photo rota for a man with learning disabilities.

Speech and language therapy team leader Alison Matthews celebrates the opportunities of skill mix to improve service quality, as ‘communication development workers’ including Terry Baynham are seconded to her team. Although they have a role similar to speech and language therapy assistants, these staff already have experience and specialist knowledge of working with adults with learning disabilities in day centres and supported living.

In this article they take a practical example of how Terry developed a photo rota for Leslie, a 50 year old man with learning disabilities, which resulted in a marked reduction of his challenging behaviour. Issues to consider when introducing photo rotas are included.

Applying project management skills

Boyes, S. & Boyes, J. (2006)

How project management skills training benefits clinicians as well as managers.

Already a good organiser and time manager, Satty Boyes felt the development of a competency-based postgraduate dysphagia course was going well. She and her colleagues were sceptical when her management consultant husband James suggested the project team would benefit from additional project management skills training, but they decided to try it and see. Satty reports that, in the event, the improved planning increased the enjoyment of ‘doing’, and the plan-do-check-act cycle ensured the project was delivered on time and within budget. She finds the experience has enhanced her personal development and transformed her approach to her everyday work.

The call for home delivery

David, S. & Hackshall, M. (2006)

Telephone booking and a home visit option improve attendance for initial assessment.

Non-attendance for speech and language therapy assessment of children from 0-4 years in Sure Starts Millmead and Margate was running at 53 per cent and 40 per cent respectively in 2002/3. Working in collaboration with local speech and language therapy services, Sure Start therapists Samantha David and Marie Hackshall researched the potential of telephone contact with the offer of a home visit to reduce non-attendance at initial appointments. The non-attendance figures for 2003/4 dropped to 10.6 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively, while non-attendance rates at a local clinic retaining the traditional pathway remained relatively consistent. The authors suggest reasons for the project’s success and describe how the project evaluation has led to a change in the way initial assessments are organised.

Leading by example

Borrett, K. (2006)

Themes from a multidisciplinary aphasia day conference.

Kevin Borrett reports on the first Portsmouth multidisciplinary aphasia day conference, where delegates were invited to put the medical model to one side and reflect on they can influence the broader well-being of people with aphasia and their families. Key themes around the context for the conference, psychosocial impact, teams / relationships and assessment / therapy emerged.

The assurance key

Middlemiss, J. (2006)

Life coach Jo Middlemiss believes that confidence – or the lack of it – impacts on everything we do.

Life coach Jo Middlemiss believes that confidence – or the lack of it – impacts on everything we do. In the sixth of a series to encourage reflection and personal growth, she asks readers to trust themselves enough to reclaim their self-assurance, and considers how she can help Geoff, a speech and language therapist whose fear of failure stops him going for promotion.

Paediatric dysphagia: How I inform my decisions (1) – Penetrating questions

Buswell, C. (2006)

What do we do when we see a child who has penetration during swallowing?

Is penetration during swallowing a normal or abnormal event for children? Does it indicate dysphagia or risk of aspiration? What do we do when we see it – remove oral feeding, perhaps unnecessarily, or continue it, perhaps risking respiratory consequences?

Charlotte Buswell reviewed the little evidence that is available and found much of it contradictory. Applying the findings to her practice, she now finds parents are more able to make informed choices about continuation of oral feeding. She also uses the findings to suggest alterations to planning, carrying out and reporting on assessment of swallowing in children that will give a more realistic picture of their aspiration risk.

Paediatric dysphagia: How I inform my decisions (2) – Questioning assumptions

Howarth, R. (2006)

Children with respiratory illness and dysphagia.

What effect do respiratory disorders have on swallowing? Rebecca Howarth’s experience with Rosie, a teenager with Cri du Chat syndrome, has led her to re-think some of her assumptions when assessing, making a prognosis and planning management of children with respiratory illness and dysphagia.

Rebecca initially thought that the primary cause of Rosie’s dysphagia was her underlying neurological condition, compounded by respiratory difficulties. However, her dysphagia turned out to be primarily respiratory-based as her recovery was full and correlated with respiratory recovery.

In light of this, Rebecca discusses the risk factors, assessments and common characteristics that speech and language therapists need to be aware of in terms of respiratory-compromised children. She concludes that consideration of the impact of respiratory status is essential in making an appropriate prognosis and management plan.

My Top Resources

Stansfield, J. (2006)

The top ten resources of the professor and programme leader of a BSc Hons in Speech Pathology and Therapy.

Jois Stansfield is professor and programme leader of the BSc Hons in Speech Pathology and Therapy at ManchesterMetropolitanUniversity. Her ten top resources reflect clinical work and research interests in intellectual disabilities, disorders of fluency and student education, and emphasise the importance of ethics and networks.