Monday, 5 October 2015

'He doesn't need speech therapy he talks fine!' When speech and language therapy assessments are a problem solving exercise!

My job could never , ever become boring as I meet the most fascinating characters every day. The more complex cases I do, the more referrals of complex cases I get. Each one one is different with completely distinct profiles but there is a thread which runs through everyone: a communication difficulty is an enormous barrier for children and leads to awful consequences in many of the cases I have seen. I used this quote "The ability to communicate is central to all that we do, to who we are, how we learn and how we relate to others. Communication problems of any kind, however mild, will certainly lead to isolation, frustration and an inability to fully integrate into society. Children will have a harder time making friends and fitting into nursery or school" (Ross, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2007). I was berated for making the issue sound so series, yet it's so very true for so many children.I see children who are struggling every day yet no-one has thought to refer to speech and language therapy as they 'talk fine'. Its usually because they know someone else in the same boat who has recommended us to be honest.If you have a child who sees things in a black and white manner, is quite literal, has problems getting on with staff and other children, has melt-downs or is very anxious, please see a speech and language therapist who is used to working with complex children. We can assess their pragmatic/social use of language and their receptive processing along with their expressive language to provide a full picture.If we have a profile of their needs we can look at strategies which can help enormously. If we can explain their behaviour, its so much easier to understand it and therefore cope better. Behaviour is just the symptom, if we can address the cause, the symptoms will diminish or in some cases disappear altogether. Obviously there are other causes of behaviour problems but a language and communication issue cannot be ruled out for many children.

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