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1 1 Supporting children with speech, language and communication difficulties in Primary Schools Myra Dowling & Anne Garvey (Senior Speech and Language Therapists, HSE) ILSA Conference September 2012 Outline: Who are we talking about? What happens to pupils with communication difficulties? How do we help them? Where do we start? Who are these children? Difficulties due to e.g. -environmental 10% have needs interfering with educational and/or social development. 5-7% for SLI (Specific Language Impairment) -health issues -Autism -SLI (Specific Language Impairment) -ID (Intellectual Disability) Not all children with SLI are eligible for resource hours Not all children with ID need Language Therapy IQ versus language level Difficulties they may have understanding language following conversation, instructions using oral language - mixing up words, poor sentence structure, getting to the point pronouncing sounds interacting with others Children vary

2 What happensto pupils who have communication difficulties Longitudinal Study of SLI by Professor Gina Conti-Ramsden 200 children with a diagnosis of SLI were monitored over a number of years At 11 years of age 177 continued to have significant language problems Non-verbal IQ dropped Many presented with significant reading difficulties Small number diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder At 16 years of age Clear increased risk of anxiety and depression Poor social outcomes, particularly peer relationships and pro-social behaviour Rates of parental depression and anxiety much higher than expected Over a third had parents whose affective difficulties were present in childhood What does research tell us? SLI and Autism are life long impairments Other communication impairments due to e.g. -Foetal alcohol syndrome/ effects, -Attachment difficulties, -Learning difficulties etc also continue to have language weakness Howdo we help children with impairments in school? Hearing impairments hearing aids, modify the environment Physical impairment modify the environment ramps, rails, chair. How do we help them? What is the equivalent of an aid/ramp/ environmental modification for communication impaired children?

3 How do we help them? 1. Modify the environment 2. Teach strategies. 3. Start at appropriate developmental level. Why do we modify the environment and teach strategies? Impairments are life long We don t tell hearing impaired children they must try harder to hear Yet we sometimes expect communication impaired child to try harder to listen / explain etc. These pupils are trying hard to catch up with a moving target. How do we help them? Parents, Teachers and SLTs have common aim. Teachers role is to teach a curriculum SLTs role is to help kids access the curriculum We need to communicate meaningfully with parents to generalise school and clinic targets Howdo we learn? Auditory Visual Kinaesthetic Communication impaired children probably not auditory learners Communication impaired kids need visual route Howdo we learn? Teachers and SLT s are mainly auditory learners We are trying to help kids who are not auditory learners Communication impaired kids parents may not be auditory learners either Howdo we help them? Visual route to learning not "another thing to do," but "different way of doing". arningmodalities.html

4 Example Comprehension Modifications and Strategies This video demonstrates comprehension difficulties Modify our language Teach memory strategies Teach child to ask for repetition Pre teach and revise Teach, don t test! Visual supports-visual timetables Why? Visual time tables and visual aids help all children learn. Aid comprehension and attention. Help kids become independent learners. Examples of visual time table pictures Examples of visual time table pictures Classroom Visual time tables

5 Word of caution Visual cues must be clear help child focus on specific visual cue noisy class room does not help learning Creative class room, not visually busy Class room versus resource room Expressive language How can we help her? How can we help her? Modify environment = modify YOUR language. Give her time. Give her clues and prompts Word map Example How can we help her?

6 Howcan we help her? Howcan we help? Modify environment = modify YOUR language. Reduce questions Only ask questions you know she can answer. Speak slowly Modify our own language: It s tempting to ask lots of questions! But how does this make the child feel? Remember the Hand Rule - The Hand Rule Visual support - Word map Include semantic and phonological features of a word or concept Semantic: develop understanding of word and it s relationship to other words. Phonological: knowledge about the structure of the word. (Chiat 2000)

7 Mind Map Help children organise and remember information visually. Record information using colour, real objects, pictures and words. Example How does the teacher modify her language in response to his attempts? Expressive language & Speech Modifications and Strategies Modelling Repeating what was said Adding more words Emphasising certain words Where to begin? Look at child s developmental level not -chronological age -or curriculum level Refer to developmental norms May have to go back a level

8 Where to begin? Refer to norms. E.g. refer to NCCA website for MLD: Communication and Language Guidelines for Teachers of Students with Mild General Learning Disabilities Examples Auditory Memory At 5-6 years, a child can name things out loud to help his memory Cant do this at 4 years If 7 year old can t do this, need to teach him = teach strategies E.g. Mantra: Listen, say it, do it Examples Phonological Awareness Communication impaired children often have delayed or impaired phonological awareness What we covered: NB work in developmental sequence E.g. don t work on onset/rime if they cant blend syllables See handout for developmental norms Key Message: Start at appropriate developmental level Modify the environment Teach strategies References Language for Learning: A practical guide for supporting pupils with language and communication difficulties across the curriculum by Sue Hayden & Emma Jordan available from: Amazon. They also have a catalogue of resources Language Builders and other resources by Elklan, available at: AFASIC website for checklists on language development

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