Summer 2009

Articles from the Summer 2009 Issue

Group funology

Gwen Lancaster, Shelagh Benford, Gerry Buckley, Alison Langshaw & Emma McCormack

A high level of fun in phonology groups motivates and supports children to change their speech.

Gwen Lancaster and colleagues describe a way of working with children with speech impairments in groups that has been used over a 5 year period in North Bristol. It is theoretically grounded but entails a quite direct approach to helping children change their speech output in order to be more easily understood. The authors explain the influence of Hewlett’s (1990) explanatory model, and the inclusion of children with any degree of severity and any type of error pattern through the use of word sets of maximal and minimal pairs. Ideas for session themes and activities are included, along with practical detail on working with the children’s speech. The emphasis at all times is on motivating the children through keeping energy, involvement and fun levels high.

Here’s one I made earlier

Alison Roberts with three more low cost, flexible and fun therapy suggestions for groups: ‘Storyteller’, ‘Friendship consequences’ and ‘So that’s how it happened!’

Role Models

Peter Jones

A multidisciplinary care pathway for people with a learning disability and dysphagia

People with learning disability and dysphagia need specialist support and advice to ensure safe eating and drinking and optimal communication – but who is best placed to provide what? Since 1999, the multidisciplinary service provided by staff in North West Wales has evolved significantly, with a corresponding shift in roles. There is now an integrated care pathway, and learning disability nurses with specialist training coordinate the dysphagia management process. Speech and language therapists meanwhile focus on the communication aspects of dysphagia management. Peter Jones charts the team’s journey over the years, highlights the importance of safe practice and discusses future plans for training and acute and paediatric services.

Adapting to complexity

Liz Dean

How Langlearn supports children and young adults with complex needs to access the curriculum

Langlearn is an independent speech and language therapy practice which specialises in supporting individuals with complex disabilities. This article features some of the ways Langlearn promotes participation, independence and self advocacy, working closely with families, teachers and support staff. Tools include a choice based Communication Wallet, topic based Carrier Boards for storing symbol sets, Choice Boards, and Visual Diaries to give children a way of talking about their school day. Langlearn is piloting its Independence Through Communication programme, and readers are invited to participate.

Symbolic Voices

Louise Greenstock

Research into how graphic symbols are used in schools, with observations on collaborative working

When she was a teaching assistant, Louise Greenstock used graphic symbols as she was instructed to, without questioning or asking for additional training, and without access to practitioners such as speech and language therapists from outside agencies. This experience brings a very practical focus to her research into how graphic symbols are used in schools, and what represents good practice. Early indications are that, while symbols are used widely and for various purposes, there are issues around consistency, terminology, responsibility and time. Louise believes there is an opportunity to learn from examples of good collaborative practice so that use of symbols in schools becomes more evidence-based and accessible.

Valuing Us

Jo Middlemiss

Our life coach suggests that feeling valued and raising the profile of the profession are inextricably linked

A survey sent out to a sample of readers included an open question about which concerns they would most like life coach Jo Middlemiss to address. Two of these were feeling valued and raising the profile of the profession, which Jo believes are inextricably linked. She asks readers to consider whether any or all of four interweaving threads are a key for them: passion; efficiency; interest; being valued, and concludes by calling on readers to turn round departments by noticing and commenting on the positive contributions people make.

This House Believes in one language

Rhona Galera & Paula Leslie

Evidence based debate: linguistically diverse families and preschoolers with language delay

This is the second in our series of articles set out like a debate, with the Proposition required to prove its case and the Opposition aiming to show why the Proposition is wrong. The Proposition case considers the evidence for encouraging linguistically diverse families to use one language with preschoolers with language delay, arguing this can prevent language confusion and reduce the risk of stuttering. The Opposition contends that the concept of language is independent of mono or bilingualism, and that the evidence supports nurturing traditional family cultures and native language, even when a child has language impairment. The authors draw a conclusion for clinical practice based on the available evidence and basic ethical principles.

In Brief

Gillian Hayes introduced this new series with some tips for efficient screening and therapy.

How I put learning into practice (2): Empower point

Lesley Munro, Laorag Hunter, Lesley Smith & Vicky Johnson

Highly structured, impairment based aphasia therapy using PowerPoint

This article details the use of highly structured, impairment based therapy through Microsoft’s PowerPoint with a 54 year old man with aphasia. The skills and inspiration to use PowerPoint as a therapy tool came from participation in a regional AAC clinical network, while the arrival of student on block placement provided the motivation to focus on good practice and to carry out an experimental single case study. While the client, Douglas, was not making progress with other therapy methods, he was highly engaged by this computer based form of impairment therapy. He now works on it independently and it has improved his ability to function in day-to-day life. The therapists have found it an efficient and effective way of working.

Our Top Resources – for students on placement

Alison Taylor & Karen Shuttleworth with Julie Leavett

Tips to help students get the most out of their clinical placements

Success in a block placement is not just down to theoretical knowledge and clinical skills. Over the years of supervising students, the authors have observed the extra elements that help students settle in and get the most out of their placement. Based on their experience they have put 10 top tips together for students about to embark on a block placement.