A sprinkle of ‘Pepper’- How to be an effective communication partner

We’ve all been there- that moment when a friend or colleague introduces you to someone new at a party or a work function.

You greet each other and then your friend gradually steps away…

And that’s when you realise that this conversation is not going to ‘flow’.

You struggle to find common ground. That horrible, awkward feeling starts to infiltrate the atmosphere. Speaking is so effortful that you frantically concoct a reason to excuse yourself…

I think of this feeling when I consider how some of the children who I work with must feel, especially when they are learning to use a communication aid.

They know that some people ‘get it’ and will help them to feel relaxed, making it easier for them to communicate. But others? Well, it’s like the party analogy; communication breaks down and everything just feels uncomfortable.

We want to strike the right balance-  supporting our…

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Don’t retaliate, educate……….

I am River

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I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking recently about how much I want to spread a positive outlook regarding Down syndrome, and about whether or not I am doing enough. I’ve been thinking about the best ways of raising awareness, and how I and other members of the Ds community are working so hard at achieving a better society for our children. I’m trying to share Rivers’ story and show the world through the internet that there is nothing to fear. I want to show that life with Ds can be amazing for not only the person with the special needs, but also their family and I feel that I am slowly starting to achieve a small part of that.

I’ve joined groups on Facebook specifically for parents of children with Ds, and I can’t even express how beneficial this has been for me. Living in Tanzania can be…

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Introducing Our Trainee Therapy Puppy.

cherrylkd

I would like to introduce you to Doodles the Schnoodle. Doodles is our school trainee therapy puppy. He is 15 weeks old today and has just completed his first full week in school.

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Here he is being introduced to one of the older students.

I have watched with interest as many of the mainstream schools in our locality have introduced therapy dogs to their schools. The high school next door to us has two therapy dogs and I began to do some research around the subject. I found that they have many uses and I could see how valuable one would be for our children who have various medical and physical special needs. How to convince our Head Teacher?

I broached the subject with her and she went off to conduct her own research. A couple of conversations later I can report that we have a thoroughly enlightened head teacher…

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Communication on tour!

When I started working as a Speech and Language Therapist, I was based in a clinic- One small room, with one large, bright window. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining- some Speech Therapists don’t even have a window…!

Even on wet, drizzly days (which was the norm, as I was working in Northern Ireland!), I used to glance out the window between appointments and think, “That’s where all the proper communication is happening- beyond that window!”

When I started working in schools, I could stretch my legs a bit more- joining students in the occasional cookery lesson, making use of the sensory room, sometimes even venturing outside with the children into the playground…it felt like a little taste of freedom!

So when some of my forward-thinking colleagues invited me to join them on trips beyond the confines of the school gate to support some of our students using alternative forms…

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‘Preparation for the next stage of education’ Supporting pupils with SEND in their transition to high school

maryisherwood

Whilst we all accept change is a part of life and change can be a good thing, never the less change can be hard. We all find comfort in things which are familiar and have ways that we prepare ourselves for changes ahead of us.

In the context of school life, transition from primary to secondary school is one of the biggest changes and whilst opening up lots of new and exciting opportunities, can also provoke anxiety for all pupils. For pupils with SEND, this is particularly the case. It is often in our experience a really difficult time for families too as they worry about their little ones making this next big step.

In this blog I write from our own experience @camberwellparkschool in supporting our pupils and their families through the experience in order to make it as positive and successful as possible.

Whilst this blog is…

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A Book Review

cherrylkd

This half term I have been super busy! Far busier than is recommended for a holiday period. I have barely had time to eat, sleep or rest, the reason is an incredibly cute black ball of fluff known as Noodles. He is 14 weeks old and is going to be our school therapy dog. I am exhausted from training this little fella but I’m sure he’ll be worth it when we see the benefits the children gain from having him around. More about Noodles another time.

Noodles

The one task I did set myself apart from puppy training was to complete a book review.

How to support Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition in Primary School by Lynn McCann

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 I have been waiting for some time to review this book by Lynn McCann. It is now my absolute pleasure to share with you my thoughts on it.

The book begins…

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