Winter 2001

Articles from the Winter 2001 Issue

When effectiveness is hard to prove.

Dobson S. (2001)

Changes in the way speech and language therapy is delivered, from one-to-one direct intervention to facilitating, teaching and joint working, presents extra challenges when we try to demonstrate effectiveness and outcomes. This article concentrates on the intervention offered to a 29-year-old lady with autistic spectrum disorder and learning disability, and suggests that reflective diaries, written after each session by the group leader, could be a useful method of recording progress. The intervention, over a period of twelve months, focused on her inability to express her emotional distress in a socially acceptable way and is described in detail. The project involved all her peer group and developed the evaluation method for all participants, both peers and staff.

Evidence based practice: seeking the whole truth.

Glogowska M, Roulstone S, Campbell R, Peters TJ, Enderby P. (2001)

A questionnaire survey of parents was undertaken as part of a randomised controlled trial of community-based speech and language therapy for speech/language delayed preschool children. The aim was to investigate why different people choose to accept or decline therapy, in order to plan the approach parents in a way that would maximise uptake and cooperation. The results indicated that, overall, parents were positive about the organisation of the services they had received. The survey revealed areas of difficulty for some parents in getting to the clinic, and with appointment times. The lack of acceptability of ‘watchful waiting’ to some parents was also noted. The survey highlighted the need for discussion with parents about what other events in their circumstances may interfere with therapy. It also revealed gaps in perception of treatment between therapists and parents, and the need for therapists to be explicit about the therapy they give, and to check out what parents are already doing to try to help their children.

Into the mouths of babes.

Masarei A, Veness J, Sell D, Wade A, Reilly S. (2001)

Infant feeding is an emotive area at the best of times so it is vital that, when difficulties arise, they are not compounded or skewed by the assessment process itself. This article describes the development of a new assessment tool, the Great Ormond Street Measurement of Infant Feeding (GOSMIF) for infants who have difficulty feeding. The GFOSMIF is non-invasive, easily transportable and well tolerated and can be carried out in the infant’s home, on the ward or in the clinic. The system allows the therapist to video-record the infant bottle feeding, and at the same time to identify swallows using auscultation, to measure intra-oral pressures during sucking by transducer, and to record patterns of respiration. The information is processed by a specially written software program. Examples of the data review display and analysis screen display are presented and explained. It is suggested that GOSMIF is used as an adjunct to the clinical observation assessment of feeding in infants.

Imprints of the mind.

Nicoll A. (2001)

Early in 2001, six service users with aphasia, two speech and language therapists, an artist and an illustrator teamed up to work on an expressive arts project to construct new representations of aphasia as prints. The results have gone way beyond what they envisaged and have the potential to benefit a far wider group of people. This article gives the unique and often surprising stories of four of the participants about life, change, services, aphasia, and speech and language therapy.

Access all areas.

Rinaldi W. (2001)

We know that language is fundamental to learning, but struggle to integrate our aims with those of other professionals. This article describes how a language-based approach to school curriculum subjects improves collaboration with education staff and gives more meaningful learning opportunities to children with language impairment. Teachers highly value specialised input that enables pupils to make progress in curriculum subjects. All subjects have a language basis, but the language concepts can be problematic and significantly impede the progress of language-impaired children in areas where they can do well, for example, those that require mathematical or visual skills. Joint planning and collaboration with teachers and learning support staff require shifts of thinking and practice. Suggestions for getting started on a pilot project are listed.

Putting partnership into practice.

Paradice R. (2001)

I CAN, the national educational charity for children with speech and language difficulties has been funded by the Department for Education and Skills to develop a framework of joint training for speech and language therapists and teachers. This article describes what this should mean for therapists working with children with speech, language and communication needs.

How . . . I use music in therapy.

A healing force.

Bruce H. (2001)

The use of music with adult clients with learning disabilities and problem behaviours and their carers is described in this article. Client behaviours, interaction and communicative function were assessed by asking seven questions which were intended to shift the emphasis from the presenting problems and difficulties to a more positive and empathetic approach which could be implemented by carers. Music was identified as a definite ‘like’ for all clients, and it was felt that it could be used to provide a solution to the problems. Good short-term responses led to it also being used as a vehicle for body awareness and touch communication sessions. Long-term carry-over has been most apparent in listening to music to reduce anxiety, as a shared language, and a bridge to better understanding.

Creating opportunities.

Magee W, Farrelly S, MacKenzie S. (2001)

Many adults at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability have been diagnosed as being in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. Music therapy is an essential element of the multidisciplinary approach to assessment of patients communication abilities. Speech and language therapists work closely with a music therapy colleague through joint goal planning, shared therapy sessions, and joint therapy and assessment groups. A case report demonstrates how music therapy assessment and an understanding of the meaning of music to one client was crucial to the multidisciplinary assessment process.

My top resources.

Robinson N, Leslie C. (2001)

The authors work with a paediatric caseload, mainly with primary and secondary school children who present with specific speech and language/communication difficulties, which may be associated with reading and spelling difficulties. The resources selected reflect their interest in a wide range of approaches to treatment and assessment of phonological awareness problems, receptive and expressive language skills and auditory processing difficulties.