During these very strange times, we have been concerned that for some children there will be additional impact on their speech, language and communication skills. Parents, teachers and support services are all working to support children as best as possible and learning is happening in many different ways for different children. We have heard some inspirational examples from both parents and schools, though balancing work with home learning is not easy.
As speech and language therapists, we have been unable to play our usual role in schools; visiting during lockdown and even now has not been possible, so we have worked with our schools to find new ways of supporting their pupils with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).
Some of our schools have accessed professional development online, others support over the phone for individual pupils for whom they have particular concerns. Some have requested we work directly with parents via telehealth options. The majority of our schools have opted for weekly resources to support their children’s communication, either those still in school or those at home.
We have developed resources for each primary phase, a “Communication Workout” to support language and communication. The idea is to provide some light touch games and ideas for parents and practitioners to share with children with a focus on different aspects of language. Separately, we have developed remote packs for our children receiving targeted support, with a view to continuing support through this period. It’s certainly no replacement for working with the children but provides some ideas to encourage language and communication.
Some of our schools are printing out materials as many of their families have limited access to the internet or no devices to access online services. Some of our schools are sharing the information online.
We thought we would share an example of our weekly activities. This week we had a focus on vocabulary, understanding and explaining using the theme of our town as a basis. We had some great feedback from schools who have used the resources and we’d love to hear how you are supporting children’s communication through these difficult times.