More Than Words is a wonderful name for Hanen’s program for parents of children with autism or social communication difficulties; they’re right, it is about so much more than words. I find it tricky to answer the question: what is speech therapy? It’s so broad, and the name is a little misleading — during More Than Words I worked intensively with parents without ever targeting speech. Continue reading
This week I spent 3 days in Nottingham, learning how to run the Hanen “It Takes Two To Talk” (ITTTT) course for parents. ITTTT is an early intervention program designed to teach parents how to facilitate their children’s communication skills. A key component of the program is the use of video feedback; parents are filmed playing with their children, so they can see how they are using the strategies they have been taught.
The course was interesting, the group leader was dynamic and inspiring, and I picked up some really useful tips for running adult training sessions. The information about different adult learning styles and how to accommodate them made sense; I’ll be applying this when I give some training tomorrow! I found practising how to coach parents during the video sessions, and using the 9 steps for feedback a worthwhile exercise.
Although I learnt a huge amount that I can use in my day to day work, I have doubts about how successful ITTTT would be for most of the families I work with in a bilingual patch of inner city London.
I have to work against the medical model: ‘You’re the professional, fix my child.’ Parents often don’t understand the importance of play, or are struggling with financial, housing or health issues; playing with their child simply isn’t a priority. Some parents have limited literacy skills, or negative past experiences of education — and the use of video is an alien concept.
Therapists have tried running ITTTT in other local boroughs with limited success and struggled with a lack of attendance. Have you tried running ITTTT in urban areas with high levels of deprivation? How effective was the course as intervention? Have you successfully adapted the program for use with this type of population? At the moment, I’m planning on working with families on an individual basis, using the ITTTT principles for parent training and video feedback sessions. I’ll let you know how I get on!