Summer 2007

Articles from the Summer 2007 Issue

Shifting perceptions

Tester, J. (2007)

Somerset Total Communication and learners with severe and complex needs.

Julia Tester is a curriculum leader and a teacher of communication in a further education college. This article reflects on a small scale curriculum action research project using Somerset Total Communication with two groups of learners with severe and complex needs resulting from congenital or acquired difficulties. In the course of the research Julia became particularly aware of the benefits of giving the learners more time to respond.

“I know exactly where it is but I don’t know where it’s going…”

Hunter, L., Gowland, H., MacAndrew, S. & Harley, T. (2007)

A high-tech communication aid facilitates Helen’s use of multi-syllabic words.

Helen Gowland has had conduction aphasia for seven years. At the start of the therapy episode described here, Helen’s speech production was stable / ‘stuck’. Helen has a high level of meta-linguistic awareness. She has word form knowledge with inability to complete the phonological form. Laorag linked the alphabet with semantically rich homophones and near homophones that Helen found meaningful, and reinforced these links by storing a picture of the link word along with a recording of the letter name in a Dynamo digitised communication aid. The impact of this therapy on Helen and on Laorag’s approach to trialling of stimulability in speech production with other clients is discussed.

Assessments assessed

Falkus, G.; Colquhoun, S.; Milton, J. & Moore, M.; Harwood, S.; Children’s Speech & Language Therapy Dept, South Birmingham NHS PCT (2007)

Teaching Talking; One Step at a Time; CELF-4UK; Stroke Talk; Bilingual Speech Sound Screen

  1. Teaching Talking (A sound introductory framework for education professionals – but Gila Falkus believes they should be trained to this level before they start working with children)
  2. One Step at a Time (Sarah Colquhoun finds this short on practical activities for teaching spoken language in early years settings)
  3. CELF-4UK (Thorough for assessing language performance and its relationship to educational tasks – Jacqueline Milton and Mary Moore)
  4. Stroke Talk (Used selectively, Sarah Harwood recommends this resource for people with aphasia)
  5. Bilingual Speech Sound Screen (A useful tool according to South Birmingham speech and language therapists)

Doing the write thing

Kersner, M. & Wright, J. (2007)

Advice to get you writing about your work.

Have you considered writing about your work but not quite found the courage? Myra Kersner and Jannet Wright have an enviable publishing record amassed over 20 years. They draw on their experience to offer advice about getting started, maintaining the momentum, revising, finishing and letting go, as well as writing collaboratively.

Self-help me if you can

Nicoll, A. (2007)

The contribution of self-help groups to adapting to and managing a communication difficulty.

A communication disability can be very isolating. With increasing understanding of the importance of self-help and social support, editor Avril Nicoll asks if speech and language therapists value our role in facilitating and supporting such groups sufficiently? Interviewees are: Anita Williams and John McCreadie of Liverpool’s CALLUP, a self-help group for users of AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication); John Mann and other members of Safety in Stumblers a Glasgow self-help group for people who stammer along with supporting speech and language therapist Carolyn Allen; and Annette Cameron, speech and language therapist associated with Aberdeen’s Speakeasy group for people with aphasia.

Face value

Gravill, P. (2007)

Trophic electrical stimulation and sEMG for facial nerve palsy.

Facial nerve palsy is devastating both physically and psychologically and rehabilitation is long-term, placing many demands on therapists as well as clients. Penny Gravill discusses trophic electrical stimulation and the diagnostic and treatment tool surface electromyography (sEMG). She offers both on the NHS and more recently at a Satellite Centre for an independent provider, The Lindens Clinic.

Following the arrow

Middlemiss, J. (2007)

Following through our goals.

In spite of her fears, life coach Jo Middlemiss succeeds in a challenge to break an arrow with her throat, confirming for her that, with the right attitude and support, we can all follow through our goals.

How I extend the reach (1) Preparing for independence

Halden, D., Ferguson, K. & Kennedy, J. (2007)

A 6 month project between a cluster of primary schools and a speech and language therapy service.

Many school children with speech and language difficulties in West Lothian do not receive therapy because they are not sufficiently high priority or have been discharged for failing to attend clinic. One cluster of primary schools used its budget to fund two new graduate speech and language therapists for six months to prepare class teachers, school support staff and support for learning teachers to offer children increased opportunities to develop social skills, phonological awareness, vocabulary and play. Debbie Halden, Kirsty Ferguson and Jill Kennedy report.

How I extend the reach (2) Funding gaps

Coley, J. (2007)

A project to improve children’s speaking and listening skills.

Julie Coley and two speech and language therapy assistants were employed for a Children’s Fund Speaking and Listening Project in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. It covered children aged 5-7 and 9-11 who didn’t meet the criteria for mainstream speech and language therapy but who nonetheless would benefit from developing their listening and attention, storytelling, reasoning and inference, social skills and self-esteem. Collaborative working with schools, creative measures to reach parents, the active participation of the young people and positive outcomes have led to a funding extension.

My top resources – new technology

Cameron, G., Dallas, J., Goodfellow, J., Hope, L., Hutton, C., Nixon, G., Richardson, R. Rodger, K. & Smith, L. (2007)

New technology developments across paediatric, adult learning disability and adult services.

New technology is developing at breathtaking speed, but are we up-to-date with its potential use in therapy? Tayside speech and language therapists Gill Cameron, Jaclyn Dallas, Judy Goodfellow, Lorraine Hope, Caitriona Hutton, Gillian Nixon, Rebecca Richardson, Karen Rodger and Lesley Smith discuss some of the developments they have seen across paediatric, adult learning disability and adult services.