Intervention, if needed, links directly with the interaction based assessment. Ruth’s practice takes a Consultancy approach. This means there are discussions with parents about goal areas and the most effective ways of achieving these in everyday life. The assessment provides a Profile of Communication Development/Skills which forms the basis of intervention.
Examples of Therapy Options follow to give an idea of likely directions. The suggestion might be to work with Ruth following a Hanen Parent Programme on an individual basis. In every option parents are coached and supported in being their child’s ‘Communication Partner’ so that everyday interactions and playactivities become a time for focused therapy. This is a Special Time for Communication Therapy.
- Therapy Options
- Parents as Partners
- Family/Person Centred Approach
- Focused Intervention in Daily Life
- Goal Areas
Hanen Parent Programs
Ruth became a Hanen ‘enthusiast’ in the early 1990s. The approach matched her approach as a therapist, but gave a framework for delivering a Parent Program. The group approach allowed informal support for parents and confidence in helping in the longer term. Group approaches require sufficient numbers of parents ‘signing up’ for the committment of a Hanen Parent Program at the same time. However Hanen allows for individual delivery of the programs and this is very possible via Teletherapy.
Following the Program Ruth advises on likely goals in the medium term so families feel they can competent in providing communication support independently. Once you have the ‘tools’ (strategies) in the Hanen approach you are able to change the goals and move forward over time.
The Programs offered include It Takes Two To Talk (developmental language needs) and More than Words (Autistic Spectrum Disorder).
For Educational Settings there is Learning Language & Loving it and Teacher Talk (a shorter version)
Speech, Language & Communication Needs (SLCN) in the context of Special Educational Needs (SEND)
For older children and young people with identified Speech, Language & Communication Needs (Special Educational Needs) then a mapping process of identifying opportunities for extending communication skills often takes place. Ruth calls this IMPACT: Inclusive Matrix Planning Approach for Communication Therapy. This can involve School Settings and wider extended family. The focus is on identifying target areas at the next developmental level and supporting the child making progress to that level in planned steps.
Many NHS services are unable to provide language and communication guidance for children whose developmental age is on a par with their stage in communication development. Ruth understands this model in the NHS and the reasons it has become necesary. However her background in Learning Disabilities at all ages means she also understands the frustrations of parents who need support and guidance in helping their child ‘move on’ as a communicator. The outcome of Assessment for an older child is usually a Communication Development Profile, rather than a report, which gives a baseline for planning.
There is an option for Updates to Communication Intervention Plans if these are needed. If Ruth knows your child then sometimes a conversation is all that is needed to give suggested directions for the next developmental goals and how to track progress. It can be frustrating ; as well as rewarding being your child’s ‘Communication Coach’.
SEND Support: Listening Ear
This is simply SEND Support for parents. A phone conversation, a time to talk with Ruth about your child. This is for listening, guidance and ‘feeling supported’. Sometimes this is all that is needed and it can be in short supply in busy lives. Taking some ‘time out’ to talk can help with problem solving and reduce stress and frustration. Ruth has done lots of listening over the years and has more understanding than most about the regular challenges and frustrations in parenting when your child has special needs. Additional stress can be triggered by things like a change in support staff, an approaching school transition or family changes which can disrupt a child’s communicative behaviours. This option gives parents someone to listen when it is frustrating and celebrate successes when they happen.
Ruth knows about mindfulness and relaxation approaches should you need advice about that too!
In 2012 Ruth was given the opportunity to develop specialist skills in Fluency Support working with children and adult stammerers. This is an area of particular interest and assessment and guidance/recommendations for children where parents have a concern about Stammering is offered.
For children who stammer the Michael Palin Centre approach, using non directive Special Time is the preferred option. Lidcombe is available as required.
For yound people with an established stammer then a Toolkit approach is offered, exploring techniques which reduce the impact of the stammer and build confidence.