At Churchwood Primary Academy Everyone Can… Sign! As a school we are establishing signing use throughout the Academy and Nursery. Each week the Speech and Language Therapy team will be demonstrating 3-5 Makaton signs to all the staff and children. On a Friday assembly, all the staff and children will teach the new signs to Mrs Curl. By the end of the academic year everyone will know 100 signs!
Makaton signing does not replace talking but is a support system to help children to remember, understand and produce words. It is helpful for every child in school – especially all those visual learners. It can also help children who find it difficult to communicate and give adults and children a clue about what is being said by those children.
Have a look at our signing book, to see all the members of staff at the Academy signing.
Language Link is a computer assessment which tests a child’s Receptive Language. This is their understanding of language.
On entry to Churchwood Primary Academy every child in Reception Class completes a Language Link screen assessment. This allows teachers to see if there are any difficulties with a child’s understanding of language in a variety of areas which could impact on their ability to access learning in the classroom.
Following the completion of the screen, a Percentile Rank score is obtained which allows us to compare the child’s abilities with that of expected levels for their age. If children are identified with a delay in understanding through this screen they will take part in small group to work on developing their skills understanding. This screen may also lead to the child having a referral into the Speech and Language Therapy service for a full assessment of their language.
Following the completion of this work a review assessment will be completed with the child. This will decide if further group work is needed to work on developing these skills.
Phonological awareness is the ability to detect and manipulate sounds in words.
This is a developmental skill that children learn over time just as they do when they learn to walk or talk. Phonological awareness is a very important skill for learning to read and write and to take part in phonics work at school.
Children at Churchwood Primary Academy can access SoundAround or other phonological awareness programmes to support their readiness to access Letters and Sounds (Phonics teaching) at school if they are identified as having difficulties making progress in this area.
Narrative Therapy is an approach developed by Becky Shanks (Speech and Language Therapist). She noticed that many children with speech and language difficulties had very poor skills in producing verbal narratives e.g. retelling a story or telling an adult what they did at school or nursery that day. This is often because children struggle to sequence their ideas in the correct order and include the key information needed to ensure a story makes sense and is easy to follow.
In Narrative Therapy children learn to develop their Narrative skills through a colour structure and question words e.g. Who, Where, When, What happened. It also helps to develop vocabulary and an enjoyment of learning through stories.
Lego therapy is a technique initially developed by Daniel LeGoeff in America to support children with Autism to develop communication skills. However since its initial development the benefits for children with other types of speech and language difficulties have become apparent. Both Miss Search (Speech and Language Therapist) and Mrs Williams (Speech and Language Therapy Assistant) are fully trained in Lego Therapy and have also trained other members of staff within the academy to complete this intervention. Lego therapy is a collaborative building game in which children work together to complete a model. The children must learn to give and follow instructions accurately, take turns, give eye contact, understand concept words such as ‘on’, ‘next to’, ‘behind’, ‘big’ and ‘little’ and other vocabulary such as colours and shapes. Lego has always been a motivating toy for children and the children at Churchwood Primary Academy love learning in Lego Therapy!
Below is the language Pyramid. The skills need to be learned at the bottom before skills at the top can be developed. These are the areas a Speech and Language Therapist will consider during an assessment.
Speech and Language difficulties involve a delay (typical of a younger child) or disorder (non-typical presentation at any age) in the areas of play, social communication, understanding others when they talk or give instructions, talking (using vocabulary and grammar) and pronouncing sounds in words. Speech, Language and Communication skills are vital to learning at school and nursery and it is important that any difficulties with speech and language are identified as early as possible to ensure the appropriate support is in place.
The following video gives information that can support understanding of SLCN and how to spot it:
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s speech, language and communication needs or think that your child may have Specific Language Impairment, please do not hesitate to speak to Mrs O’Leary (SENCO) or your child’s class teacher. You can also request a meeting with the school’s Speech and Language Therapist (Miss Search). Please see speech and language norms and progress checker here: www.talkingpoint.org.uk/progress-checker.
Miss Search is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist.
She is committed to developing children’s language and helping them to make their potential to ensure they are ready to learn in the classroom. Her job is to observe and assess children with suspected difficulties with play, social communication, listening, understanding, using vocabulary and producing sentences and pronunciation.
Following this assessment a report is written and this will be shared with the child’s parents and teacher/other professionals involved in supporting the child to learn. Miss Search will then create a management plan for the child with targets set to help them to develop speech and language skills and will work on these targets with the children in therapy sessions.
Parents will be able to attend therapy sessions at school or nursery and can be provided with resources to work on targets at home. Miss Search also completes training sessions with parents and teaching staff to ensure that everyone around the child understands how best to support children’s speech and language needs.
Mrs Williams is our Senior Speech and Language Therapy Assistant and works with children on targets set by the Speech and Language Therapist.
She also completes other programmes such as Narrative Therapy, Lego Therapy and Phonological Awareness groups under the direction of the speech therapist. Therapy completed with the children is largely play-based and involves reward systems and a visual structure to help motivate and engage children. Mrs Williams also uses Makaton signing and Communicate in Print resources to support language learning. Mrs Williams is dedicated to supporting children to make progress and reach their targets in therapy.
Mrs Fryer is the newest member of the Speech and Language Therapy Team at Churchwood Primary Academy. Mrs Fryer is passionate about supporting children to develop essential speech and language skills. Like Mrs Williams, she works under the direction of Miss Search and completed targets in therapy sessions with children through fun and motivated game-based formats.