Category Archives: Fun

Real Life Language, Idea No. 2 – Playing on the Beach

child on beach

We’ve been spending lots of time at the beach this summer, so here are some ideas for how to incorporate language learning into beach time.

First up, for me personally, this is textbook “follow the child’s lead” – because I am not a fan of sand, the beach is not my destination of choice, but both the kids love it. Continue reading

Real Life Language, Idea No. 1 – Picking Blackberries

Blackberry Pie

Here’s the first post in a new series, Real Life Language Ideas. Therapy targets need to be worked on frequently between therapy sessions, this is easiest for the family and most functional for the child, if it can be incorporated into activities they do anyway. In this series, each post will explain how a child can practise various language and speech skills during a particular activity. First up: blackberry picking! Continue reading

Homemade therapy resources: Toilet roll Octopuses

Painted toilet rolls

One of my goals for 2016 is to make as many therapy resources as possible. I’m trying to spend more time rummaging through the recycling box and less time browsing on Amazon. I want to keep my clients interested, so I need a variety of materials. Continue reading

Using music to engage children with Autism: tips, techniques and resources

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I recently attended a workshop at The Music House for Children on introducing musical learning to children with Autism. I was energised and inspired by the session and left with several practical ideas I’m keen to try out. The workshop was led by Kirsty Keogh, it was refreshing to hear from a professional outside of speech therapy. Kirsty is experienced at working with children and young people with Autism, I could see from the videos examples how well the children responded to her. Continue reading

Goodbye old (inanimate) friend

Last week somewhere between leaving home and arriving at work, I lost my teddy bear. I’d tucked him firmly into the side pocket of my rucksack and he must have fallen out. He was a gift, and a firm favourite in therapy. I’ll miss him!

Here he is being read a bedtime story by a child practising narratives, and dressing up!

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Improvising when a haircut doesn’t go to plan

"Cutting" with Toca Hair Salon

Last week I had what I thought was a winning therapy idea, when it didn’t pan out I had to improvise.

Two of my kiddies are working on verbs and we’d been practising “cutting.” I’m targeting /sn/ clusters (“snip!”) with another child. I was inspired by some recycled packing materials to try a hair cutting activity.

I drew faces on paper and taped wavy, strings of cardboard packing stuff on for hair, it looked great. I handed a pair of children’s scissors to the girl working on “snip” and she gave it a good go. But the scissors were too small and not sharp enough to cut the “hair” – oh dear. We started snipping other bits of paper, and then rapidly moved on to sticking things on to a picture of a “snail.” For the two boys working on “cutting” it was Toca Hair Salon to the rescue – phew.

Therapy is all about improvising: therapy sessions rarely go exactly to plan. We can’t follow a recipe, instead we spontaneously make communication opportunities from whatever is available, and teach parents to do the same.

Therapy Ideas Live Won the Shine a Light Innovation Award!

Exciting news here at Therapy Ideas HQ: on Wednesday Therapy Ideas Live won the Shine a Light Innovation Award at a champagne reception in central London. TV star Paul Ross presented me with the award (check out the photo.) Woohoo!

The awards were first given out last year by the Communication Trust, in association with Pearson Assessment, as part of the Year of Communication. They were developed to celebrate excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development. The Innovation Award is a new addition to the categories this year: the judges were after creative projects that achieved great results.

Continue reading

When I’m 64

A colleague recently retired. She’d been working as a Speech and Language Therapist for longer than I’ve been alive! After the bosses talked movingly about what she’d achieved, others tried to wrestle her stylish red leather briefcase from her, insisting she wouldn’t need it in retirement.

She talked about what speech therapy was like when she started out:

  • Makaton was just being developed. She got involved with the charity and ensured the signing system was widely used in our area. Recently she taught the team to sign, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas!”
  • The Derbyshire Language Scheme didn’t exist.
  • Some children were considered “ineducable.” This changed with the 1970 Education Act, after which all school age children were entitled to an education.

I might have 30+ years ahead of me as a Speech and Language Therapist. When it’s time for me to retire, what will I tell colleagues about starting out? They may be astonished to hear that we write clinical case notes on paper by hand. We consider assessments standardised if data has been collected from 1000 children. And in this era of “inclusion” hundreds of special schools still exist.

Maybe I’ll tell them I was one of the first UK therapists to start a blog! Times are changing; what will the therapy world look like in 30 years time? (I see iPads, lots and lots of iPads!)

Start tweeting, speechies!

I recently went to Paris to eat pastries while my partner attended a conference. Lots of people at the conference were using Twitter. They commented on presentations, shared relevant links, and arranged evening soirées.

Speechies: get with the times

Okay, so it was a content strategy conference for web people, but I think therapists need to try new ways of interacting with each other too. There’s a small community of us using Twitter. You should join us.

Share information

Therapists post links to interesting content, like this information sheet about creating social stories (PDF link) which was shared by several people I follow (e.g. @specialquest).

We also ask questions and share resources. For example @speechreka asked:

Anyone has access to this?: Quick Screen for Voice and Supplementary Documents for Identifying Pediatric Voice Disorders- LSHSS vol 35:308

And then:

I’d really appreciate it if someone can share that article. And anything dealing with paediatric voice disorders. Have an ax tomorrow…lost

Shareka got several responses from around the world, and later on shared what she’d found. Excellent timing. I was expecting a voice client for an initial assessment the next day!

Join the community

Twitter is a place to have an SLT-related chat, to share struggles and successes like this one from @speechbob:

just had the school psych tell me that one of my fluency students was talking up a storm with his strategies, made me smile.

We’re a friendly bunch, so what are you waiting for? Start tweeting and pick the brains of colleagues from all over the world. I’m @RhiannanW. See you there!