RESEARCH AND MEDIA PROJECTS
Independent Speech language therapists have been involved with different projects and studies at University College London funded by the Wellcome Trust. These speech therapy projects have looked at the neurological basis of language functions. Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Statistical Parametric Mapping software, speech therapists and neuroscientists have been able to build and analyse brain imaging data pictures to see which part of the brain people use to speak, read and write with. Speech Therapists within the language group studies have also been advisors to BBC television programmes on this on this topic.
INTERNATIONAL SPEECH LANGUAGE THERAPY PROJECTS
We have visited parts of Mumbai, Kerla and Goa in India working on dynamic and interesting speech language therapy projects. Many children in India have speech and language difficulties due a large number of reasons. There is also a distinct gap in educating Teachers, families and other healthcare professionals about speech, language and communication needs. Families are unable to find ways to assist their children delivering their skills and training in the area of speech therapy. The sharing of our skill base has provided much-needed support to children with speech and language difficulties and helping to equip families and healthcare workers with the skills to support children with SLCN. The main goals of the speech therapy projects have been to:
• Assessment of both adults and children
• Support the children to develop and improve their speech and language skills and abilities.
• Developing efficient and effective systems in the education system e.g. referral systems at local schools.
• Training staff and other volunteers
• Developing and contributing to project evaluation reports to help with continuity between volunteers and the community.
SPEECH LANGUAGE THERAPY PROJECTS ) SYMBOL INCLUSION PROJECT)
During 2016/2017 we were commissioned to create a communication friendly environment for children in three primary school in central London. The purpose was to create genuinely inclusive learning environments for all children including:
• Students with learning difficulties
• EAL students
• Students identified with having Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
Therapy Network Team used the ‘The Symbols Inclusion Project’ (SIP) findings to support inclusion and curriculum access. The main purpose of the project was to create genuinely inclusive learning environments for all children using visual communication for young people. Numerous case studies carried out by SIP demonstrated that the use of visual symbols helped support and promote children’s:
• Learning core vocabulary
• Curriculum involvement
• Improved communication of all pupils during lessons -evidenced through lesson observations.
• Use of visual time-tables/lesson schedules to help engage pupils who struggled with verbal instructions.
• Tactics to explicitly teach vocabulary ensure that pupils use topic appropriate words to improve their ‘Skilled Speaking’ techniques.
• Commonality of approach in every classroom to visual learning aids including displays to promote ‘Active Listening’.
• Teaching techniques embracing ‘Think, Pair, Share’ and ‘Exit Tickets’ became everyday tools and clearly improve communication during lessons.
• Improved speech and language difficulties for learning because pupils were encouraged to reflect on their emotional state episodically throughout lessons, prompted by visual ‘Learning Engine’ displays.
• Teachers using the ‘Rule of Six’ strategy to simplify electronic presentations and to make visual information more communication friendly.