Will signing stop my child from talking?

Will signing stop my child talking?

If you’re considering teaching your little one some baby signing or Makaton, you might be wondering if signing will stop your child speaking. Sometimes there’s the worry that signing will be so easy that your child won’t bother learning to speak!

But actually, there are many advantages to teaching your child a few signs that supports their overall communication development. In this video I share my top three reasons why signing can support spoken language development.

What Makes Speech and Language Therapy Successful?

What Makes Speech and Language Therapy Successful?

When I was about nine years old I had piano lessons. I went to visit a lady in a lovely old house down a long gravel drive. She would greet me at the door and usher my mum to her cosy waiting room before then leading me through to her music room to play for half an hour on her grand piano.

I always had a nice time working through my big red ‘beginners’ book and my mum no doubt enjoyed the rare opportunity to sit in peace with a magazine and a cup of tea. After half an hour my teacher would bundle me and my mum out the door and we’d say cheerio until next week. It was all very lovely and truthfully not very effective. I never practised between my visits and I never really had a sense of learning or improving at anything.

When you seek Speech and Language Therapy for your child you may picture it looking a little bit like my old piano lessons: weekly 1:1 between therapist and child and a bit of peace and quiet for you. I am sorry to say that, whilst this can make some difference, it is absolutely not where the magic happens! Therapy that really makes a difference in a child’s life involves a lot more.

Shared goals

It’s important to talk together about your hopes for your child and the challenges you face. By agreeing together your goals for therapy, you can carry your practice beyond a weekly SaLT visit, spot everyday opportunities to practise together and notice when your child is trying out their new skill.

Shared conversations

No child is an island. Whether it’s mum or dad, the nursery key person or the class teacher, talking together ensures that we all can provide the right support in a cohesive way.

Shared work

An hour a week practising a new skill is simply not enough to make a lasting change. Yes, time is limited and our weeks run away from us. But if you can find regular time to practise between SaLT visits and to bake that into your weekly routine, you will enable your child to make much faster progress. Which leads me to my next point…

The right timing

Sometimes life is simply too busy. Sometimes there are other priorities or events going on that mean you’re not able to make the most of SaLT support. I want therapy to really make a difference for your family. So I often ask parents to think about the best time to begin a block of therapy sessions and make sure it complements the rest of your busy schedule.

Good fun

Far from a last minute extra, ensuring that sessions are fun is actually a crucial part of effective therapy. We learn and remember information best when it’s attached to good feelings. So, having some laughter in therapy sessions and being flexible in how we approach our targets can ensure more lasting change.

What I really want to tell you is that therapy is absolutely a team effort. Yes, you can ask a therapist to work 1:1 with your child and you can have that cup of tea in the waiting room. But, when you invest your time and attention, then you can really make the most of Speech and Language Therapy.

Mission Statement

Mission Statement

Three years ago I sat down with pen and paper to write my intentions for SaLT by the Sea. As a new business I was considering my core mission and creating some accountability for myself. This is what I wrote:

Communication is the key to a full life. It enables us to build things together, care for each other, solve problems and share our experiences. No matter our level, we can all make a positive contribution, develop our skills and have fun whilst doing it.

I will dedicate my energy, creativity and clinical expertise to ensuring that your child improves their speech, language and communication skills and enjoys the process. I will work with you to understand the needs of your child and ensure that key adults know how best to support them.

I will actively contribute to the global conversation about communication needs and work to raise the profile of speech and language therapy. Because when we communicate effectively we can achieve great things.

Three years on and my mission remains the same. I continue to deliver real change for families, working together to nurture confident communicators. Every family’s journey through the therapy process differs, as every child is unique, but what remains the same is having a therapist who turns up with enthusiasm and dedication.

I’ve also continued to contribute to the wider discussion around speech, language and communication needs. In addition to training events, conference presentations and parent workshops, I am on the steering group for our regional hub of Speech and Language Therapists. We run events for therapist across the south central area to discuss current issues within the profession and develop our knowledge and expertise.

Looking to the next three years, I will continue to provide tailored support for families and information to the wider community. Being self-employed is not without its challenges, but being able to make a positive difference in children’s lives is hugely rewarding and I am excited about the year ahead.

For more, check out my statement on social justice.

Photo credit: Designed by Freepik

Things My Dog Taught Me

Things My Dog Taught Me

Today is Bring Your Dog to Work Day. My office is at home, so I’m lucky to have my dog at work with me every day. It’s one of the extra benefits of becoming an independent Speech and Language Therapist.

So, two years ago, when I left my council job and set up in independent practice, Tom and I also welcomed a mutt named Rolo in to our home. As a nervous rescue dog with a difficult start to life, he’s had a lot of things to learn along the way. It came as a surprise how much I also had to learn. So, in honour of this day, I thought I’d share these things with you.

Continue reading “Things My Dog Taught Me”