The Communication Trust estimates that over 1 million children in the UK have speech, language and communication in the UK difficulties yet the number of speech and language therapists is falling. More and more parents are being left to fend for themselves but where do they look? Where can they go for help?
We been moved to action due to serious concerns that parents of children with speech are not getting sufficient access to good quality evidence based advice. We have become increasingly worried when we see parents who are on NHS waiting lists asking for advice and then being told they should be doing X Y or Z from other parents. Others are using ‘Dr Google’ which we all know can be very alarming and point us in a completely wrong direction, in many instances’. At Small Talk Speech and Language therapy, we know that language and communication targets should be integrated into everyday routines as much as possible. Children learn language in the situations where they need to know the words so no amount of flashcards or worksheets can do that. Other children have problems generalising what they learn so again, it must be in the real situation.
Activities which are done everyday that both motivate and interest the child are always going to work better than things that the child isn’t interested in. Snack time, meal-times and bathtime or even getting onto the car. Parents are busy so it can’t be extra work for them.
We have created a membership club for parents so that they can have access to real live speech and language therapists so they can ask the questions and have good, evidence based advice. They have webinars and short ‘how-to’ clips plus lots of other tips and tricks to help. There will also be a forum so other parents can talk about what they found useful.
They will have a monthly podcast show, the Smart Talkers Super Saturday Show, to look in depth at current topics and interview relevant expert in the field. They will also have parents who have been in similar situations talk about their family’s journey.
My blood pressure rises every-time I see bad advice being given. It’s well meant but wrong and is not in the best interests of the parent or the child. Self esteem in the child and parent confidence are so important.
We have launched the Parent Hub and hope to be able to support many more parents. www.smalltalkparenthub.com
Consultant Speech and Language Therapist
Small Talk Speech & Language Therapy