Winter 2006

Articles from the Winter 2006 Issue

‘Some hae meat’

Rodger, K. (2006)

Piloting an aphasia-friendly hospital menu.

Many people in care settings are undernourished and their food and drink preferences unrecognised. As people with communication difficulties such as aphasia can have particular difficulty understanding and expressing choices, Karen Rodger pilots a pictorial, aphasia-friendly version of a hospital menu. She describes the development of the menu and an associated resource – a relatives’ profile of the client’s food likes and dislikes – and trials it with a client with aphasia. The client’s intake increased, weight loss slowed and staff noted he was less frustrated. The value of the menu as a vehicle for social interaction and giving clients more control is discussed.

Connecting in the acute setting

Hegarty, B., Matheson, L. & McVicker, S. (2006)

Increasing communication opportunities for people with aphasia in the acute setting through conversation partners.

Part 1: The therapist’s story: The acute hospital environment places many constraints on communication opportunities for people with aphasia. With experience as a Connect outreach volunteer conversation partner, Barbara Hegarty decided to pilot the techniques and principles of supported conversation in the acute setting. A training pack was developed and a volunteer selected. The process, outcomes and feedback from a client are discussed. Part 2: The volunteer’s perspective: Leanne Matheson describes her work as a volunteer conversation partner for this pilot and considers her motivation. Part 3: Reaching out. Sally McVicker from the communication disability network Connect outlines the development of the conversation partner scheme and the subsequent Reaching Out project.

A special education

Bolton, G. & Kidd, S. (2006)

Getting commitment and involvement from teachers in special education to make joint working more effective.

Gillian Bolton reflects on how her dissatisfaction with her service to special schools led ultimately to the development of the training package APEC2 (Assessing and Promoting Effective Communication). With Susan Kidd, she concludes that four main themes have emerged from its implementation:

  1. The unexpected learning outcomes for trainers
  2. The role of staff training in promoting shared understanding and joint working
  3. The advantages of extended training
  4. Gaining commitment to training and joint working.

Eleven practical steps are outlined for therapists working to set up in-service training and to achieve the necessary commitment.

I believe in miracles

Nicoll, A. (2006)

Life in a speech and language therapy Utopia.

Speech and language therapy services, particularly in England, are experiencing high levels of stress due to stringent budget cuts and a freeze on recruitment. Editor Avril Nicoll uses the ‘miracle question’ of Solution Focused Brief Therapy to focus the attention of interviewees and readers on what they are already doing to cope, and what further small changes they could make to make a difference. Maintaining a client focus and contact, recognising the interdependence of our relationship with clients, believing in the fundamental resourcefulness and reasonableness of people, giving and receiving compliments, organising in small teams, networking, thinking radically and taking risks are all explored. Interviewees are Kidge Burns, Kim Mears, Sally Byng, Deborah Green, Emily Williams, Jacki Pearce, Janet O’Keefe and Amanda Medhurst.

Winter growth

Middlemiss, J. (2006)

Self-coaching techniques – your Goal, your Reality, your Options and your Will.

Life coach Jo Middlemiss has always dreaded winter but this year is determined to see it differently and be inspired by it. She recommends and explains how the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, Will) can help people confront their fears and make changes to experience a more fulfilling life.

How I user multi-media tools (1): Interactive whiteboards: the long and the short of it

Cook, L. & Trim, K. (2006)

Interactive whiteboard technology with ACTIVprimary and Clicker 5 software as a tool for teaching adjectives.

The potential of technology as a therapy and teaching tool has yet to be exploited by the profession. Special measures was the catalyst for a project at the Evergreen Centre to investigate the benefits of interactive whiteboard technology in conjunction with ACTIVprimary and Clicker 5 software as a teaching tool to develop children’s understanding and use of adjectives. Speech and language therapist Leona Cook and teacher Kerry Trim discuss the therapy / teaching process, the technology, the design of the project and the results for one class.

How I user multi-media tools (2): Research that had its compensations

Kay, H. (2006)

Using Clicker 4 software with children with epilepsy and learning and communication needs demonstrates the compensatory potential of multi-media tools.

Hannah Kay’s research project using Clicker 4 to target the expressive language skills of children with epilepsy and learning and communication needs appears on the surface to have had no effect. However, in considering the impact of epilepsy on a child’s learning opportunities and needs as well as the detail of responses, Hannah is clear that multi-media tools can be a useful way of making therapy more stimulating and exciting. Furthermore, she argues that the compensatory potential of multi-media tools to enable functional progress deserve more attention.

Conference calls: Research – getting that ‘can do’ attitude

Nicoll, A. (2006)

Reflections on the RCSLT conference ‘Plugging the evidence base gap: Important research in speech and language therapy’.

The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists conference ‘Plugging the evidence base gap: Important research in speech and language therapy’ made it clear that the profession needs to develop a ‘can do’ attitude. Clinician involvement in research and improved leadership are considered to be key. Practical suggestions and recommended reading from delegates and presenters are included, and some presenters give brief feedback on the impact they felt their session had had.

My Top Resources – early groups

Shuttleworth, K. & Taylor, A. (2006)

Early groups including music provide a natural environment for language work.

Karen Shuttleworth and Alison Taylor appreciate the natural communication environment groups offer children and parents. In groups they can target children with phonology or language needs. Their top resources particularly reflect a recent pilot of a musical language group to promote language development in very young children.