How to support your child s speech, language and social skills development

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1 How to support your child s speech, language and social skills development (Lucy) Rhiann Pryor-Rodrigues Specialist Speech and Language Therapist 1

2 Session objectives Who a SLT works with What are the areas of communication? How to identify difficulties Strategies to support and encourage development How to seek advice and refer to SLT 2

3 Who do we work with? Working with children with the following difficulties: Language delay/disorder Speech sound delay/disorder/dyspraxia Stammer Selective Mutism Autistic spectrum disorders Social communication delay/disorder Voice disorders Eating and drinking difficulties Global learning difficulties/syndromes* Literacy difficulties* English as additional language* Attention and listening difficulties* EBSD* * only if language is also significantly affected 3

4 The communication tree Fluency Sentences Social motivation Imitation Grammar Words Play Clear speech Attention & listening Understanding

5 Communication Tree Each one of the stages needs to be secure before the child is able to move up the tree If there is a delay in acquiring a skill at one stage then there will be delay in skills higher up Disordered pattern not moving up the tree in typical pattern 5

6 Why are parents important? Parents have more impact on children s outcomes than any other factor Parents may be the first to identify any difficulties and will certainly be the people who enable children to access appropriate support The attachment to the significant carer that occurs around birth is the basis for communication development The amount and type of language used at home has an effect on children s overall language development Good early communication sets the pattern for later childhood and adolescence The more engaged parents are in the education of their children the more likely their children are to succeed in the education system. 6

7 Attention & Listening Skills Attention describes a child s ability to concentrate on one activity whilst they filter out background sound. Listening involves: a) Sitting still b) Looking at the person talking c) Being quiet d) Thinking about the words being said Good attention and listening skills are crucial for; gaining and extending their knowledge of the world understanding language and routines learning and using new words developing speech sounds maintaining and enjoying interactions with others 7

8 Barriers to Listening Environmental Presentation Level of Language Emotional Timing and length Specific difficulties 8

9 How can we recognise children with delayed attention and listening? Fidgeting Getting up and wandering around Shorter attention span than we would expect for their age 9

10 Comprehension skills The ability to understand and learn words and sentences, including: Concepts for example, big/little/1 st /last/in/on/under Instructions how many parts/ key words Sequences routines, stories Questions who/what/why/where/when/how Vocabulary Verbal reasoning reading between the lines Children typically understand more than they can say. A child may have difficulties if they: Carry out instructions incorrectly or not at all (and perhaps look blankly at you!) Provide answers which do not match the question Ability to identify a certain number of nouns/verbs is less than expected Look around and copy others Are always the last to carry out an instruction 10

11 Expressive language What children say: The ability to find the right words (vocabulary), sequence them in a sentence, use grammar (word endings) and tell news or a story. Children need to use effective spoken language skills in order to: ask questions, seek clarification, express their thoughts and opinions, make comments, and share stories make friends negotiate and solve problems. Difficulties may be demonstrated through: Limited vocabulary Word finding difficulties Putting fewer words together in a phrase/sentence than would be expected Disordered word order 11

12 Speech Sounds The ability to pronounce sounds in words Speech sound difficulties is not the child being lazy Speech sounds are one of the last communication skills to be developed by a child and usually the most obvious if there are difficulties If speech sound skills are not developed this can affect: literacy skills confidence and willingness to communicate expressive language skills ability to develop social interactions with other people behaviour (i.e. become frustrated) 12

13 Speech sound norms 13

14 How can we recognise children who have speech sound difficulties? They are unintelligible in conversation or in single words They consistently mix up certain sounds (which are delayed or unusual in comparison to peers) Their difficulties affect their ability to communicate with other children or adults (which can also impact on confidence or lead to frustration) Delay vs Disorder 14

15 Social Skills - How we communicate and interact There is a difference between language skills and social skills. Social skills eye contact facial expression + body language gesture proximity posture tone of voice emotions starting/ending a conversation topic maintenance turn taking shared attention understanding friendships understanding that different people have different perspectives ability to be flexible e.g. in play, daily routines 15

16 Why are they important? Children need to develop social skills in order for them: a) to communicate and interact effectively with others b) to establish and maintain friendships c) to understand and respond appropriately to social situations In order for a child to develop good social skills they must first have an interest in communicating with others. Be aware that.. Children with any communication difficulty may also present with: Challenging behaviour frustration because they cannot understand the routine/ what is expected of them, express their ideas, make friends etc Reduced confidence due to limited success It is important to think about the possible underlying communication difficulties when dealing with challenging behaviour. 16

17 How can we recognise children with social skills difficulties? Engage only in solitary play Limited joint attention Poor turn taking Lack of communicative intent Lack of awareness of listener needs Limited choice of topics Difficulty maintaining conversation Poor/ no repair strategies Poor topic maintenance Inappropriate social commentary/questions Not responding to conversation Insist on their own agenda Prefer predictable and repetitive activities Echo language 17

18 Strategies we can use to support speech, language and social skills development. 18

19 Activity - Speech Sounds 19

20 Visual support Support language by using gestures, pictures, signs, symbols This will help children develop their attention and listening, comprehension and expressive language skills. Singing! Interesting and engaging Repetitive Often accompanied by signs/gestures 20

21 Strategies to support good attention and listening - Reduce distractions in the environment e.g. T.V. - Play attention and listening games e.g. Simon Says, Kim s game, Ready steady go!, Sound lotto - Call the child s name to gain their attention before talking to them - Maintain attention by using gesture and pictures when asking questions and giving instructions - Give clear and explicit praise for active listening e.g. Well done Charlie. You re looking at me and thinking hard! - Only have a small selection of toys out for them to play with at any one time 21

22 Strategies to support understanding: Break down long instructions into smaller chunks Use simple language Speak slower than usual Use visual support and/or model what you want them to do Ask children to tell you what you ve asked them to do, to check their understanding. Use repetition 22

23 Strategies to help expressive language (talking) skills: Model sentences during children s play or conversation i.e. comment on what they do You re pushing the train in the tunnel Re-phrase sentences back to the child child: Sam box jump adult: Sam jumped on the box Repeat and add language i.e. expand and model longer sentences child: Bear eat adult: The bear s eating the porridge Offer choices e.g. Do you want a banana or melon? It means your child can communicate even if they don t have the words and helps them learn new words as well as be more independent. 23

24 Strategies to support speech sound development: Model the correct speech sounds by repeating what your child has been said using the correct sounds so they get to hear this. Emphasise any sounds missed out or said incorrectly, e.g. child: It s a crag. adult: That s right, it s a crab. Don t pretend you understand what they are saying Avoid asking them to repeat the corrected version as this may put pressure on them or make them more aware of their difficulty. Try to avoid use of dummies; if using them try to limit them to bedtime 24

25 Sequencing A pre-requisite to story-telling is sequencing pictures. Sequencing can be practised with: Photographs taken of children carrying out a sequences at home Pictures of a story told at bedtime Story telling Students need to be specifically taught how to structure their language and how to include all the necessary information, so that the listener clearly understands what they are talking about. Using wh- question words as reminders will help them to do this. (when? who? where? what?) 25

26 Strategies to support social skills development: Facilitate social interaction with other children and model appropriate interaction When a child demonstrates inappropriate behaviour, explain why the response was inappropriate and what response would have been more appropriate Use positive language e.g. walk please instead of don t run! Play simple games where you take turns with your child Provide lots of opportunities for your chid to interact with their peers Introduce structures and routines and inform your child of any change before it happens 26

27 The importance of play for language development Play is one of the most influential and important ways a child learns about the world. By playing with both adults and children develop: Interaction and social skills Problem solving skills Imagination and creativity Concepts and properties Lots of words! Children learn words by doing something and hearing the word at the same time e.g. when a child is scribbling a parent might say you re drawing a picture! 27

28 Play It is important that our play with children is more child focused than task-focused or adult directed Child play: - An end goal is not important - Focus on exploring and enjoying not doing it correctly - No rules - Relaxed - Collaborative not competitive - Parent comments not questions - Parent follows child s lead 28

29 Specific Play Activities Dressing up Cutting and sticking pictures from magazines Drawing Going for a walk and talking about what you see Go to the park and talk about what the child is doing Teddy tea party Talking on toy phone Playing with toy farm/play people/dolls house Playing with boxes/ pots and pans/anything-just talk about it Looking at books together 29

30 Other Discussion Points Bilingualism Speak your home language to your child Speaking more than one language does not cause language difficulties Bilingual children do better at school Language is an important link between person and culture It will be easier for your child to learn English if they have a good model of their home language Try to keep different languages separate within a sentence Dummies Always remove a dummy if your child tries to talk A dummy prevents the tongue from moving around and practising speech sounds Only use it for a few minutes to settle the child Keep dummies for sleep times only Try to wean your child off the dummy when they are about 1 year old 30

31 TV Try to limit TV time to up to half an hour for under twos and an hour for 3-5 year olds Always turn the TV off when no-one is watching it as it may distract from play, listening and talking Let your child watch a programme aimed at their age Try to watch TV together so you can talk about what happened, sing songs from the show and talk about the characters Selective Mutism To be completed Stammering To be completed 31

32 TOP TIPS Give plenty of time for a child to initiate or respond (observe, wait and listen) Comment on what your child id doing/playing with; se simple phrases that are around one word longer than what your child usually says Copy what your child is doing or saying and extend it by adding one or two words to their sentence, for example Child: car Adult: yes, a red car Don t ask too many questions, use encouraging comments or open questions, like you like that or tell me about your day Make time for communication every day have a quiet time in the day where distractions are minimised Make sure you have their full attention before you start talking to them Use everyday routines and activities to practise communication skills, things like bath time, mealtimes, getting dressed, food shopping, what you can see out and about Play with your child; Play is important as this is how young children learn best!! 32

33 If you want to refer your child, speak to SENCo What do SALT s offer in schools Aim is to support the child to access the curriculum, as well as more social aspects of school life e.g. playtime Depends on the amount of time in a school, but can offer any of the following: Assess children & provide programmes of therapy based on their diagnosis Producing reports and written advice Carrying out 1:1/ group therapy... or setting up programmes for LSA s to carry out Training for staff/ parents In class support e.g. demonstrate SALT strategies within a whole class session, joint lesson planning Referral to other professionals 33

34 34

35 Questions and Feedback 35

36 36

37 Barriers to Listening Environmental Noise Uncomfortable Visual distractions Presentation Boring / confusing Nothing to look at Not interactive Level of Language Too complex Emotional Tired Unclear why they need to listen Timing and length Time of day Listening for too long Specific difficulties ADHD attention deficit SLI specific language impairment ASD - autism Hearing impairment 37

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