Ever met a parent or carer who has asked you this question? I have, more than a decade ago. This started my journey into the field of Dual Multiple Exceptionality (DME) or as it is known in the USA as Twice Exceptional (2e). This blog is divided into two parts: Part 1: explores what is DME and identification Part 2: considers case studies and reflective questions for practitioners.
Shona Crichton from The Communication Trust writes about 'Parents as partners for better speech, language and communication outcomes'.1
We know that children make progress in any area of their development when they can be supported to thrive in the place and with the people where they spend the most time and who know them best. Parents are experts on their children and provide information that is integral to ensuring that a child or young person makes the best progress that they can. However there may be challenges when striving to achieve good practice for including parents in supporting children’s speech, language and communication development.
The new SEND Code of Practice highlights the importance of engaging and involving parents and families. Those working with children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), or any SEND, have a responsibility to ensure that parents are engaged with and involved in decisions that affect their child.
It’s likely that every practitioner reading this blog has examples of times where we achieve true collaborative working with parents, and times when it doesn’t work so well. What is it that we need to be aware of when working with parents to support their child’s speech, language and communication at home?
Ensuring parents are real partners - Parents want to be included as real partners, with true collaboration taking place. The challenge is not only that every child is different, but every SLCN is different, and every family is different. Taking time to share with parents their experiences of home life and their child’s SLCN, and your understanding and perception of the child’s strengths and needs will help towards partnership working that is meaningful to both parent and practitioner.
It doesn’t have to be extra – Discussing what home life is like with parents provides an opportunity to think about how language and communication can be woven in to elements of daily life that are happening already. For some parents, the thought of squeezing extra in to busy lives is just not manageable. However, the beauty of speech, language and communication is that it’s part of everything that we do. Discussing what life is like for families and working together to think about where and how speech and language targets might sit in their daily routine can be a great first step to integrating targets in to daily life. Prepositions in the bath or practising turn taking during tea-time means that speech, language and communication targets can become part of daily life.
Consider parents’ views and wishes - The Better Communication Research Programme sought views of parents with children with speech, language and communication needs. Findings from this paper show that parents are generally concerned with long term outcomes for their children – parents want their children to be included socially and to achieve independence. As practitioners working with children and young people with SLCN, our skill is in understanding parents’ long term wishes for their children. We can then break these down in to manageable, attainable short term targets that link with the long term aims that everyone can work towards achieving.
Keep parents informed – The same research also highlighted that parents like to be kept informed of how children are getting on in achieving their objectives, and that this was different across the parents who were interviewed – some wanted a weekly update on progress, others were happy to meet to discuss targets on a 6 monthly basis. Discuss with parents how and when they’d like to discuss their child’s progress with you.
The Communication Trust is a coalition of over 50 not-for-profit organisations with expertise in speech, language and communication and SLCN. Although our main audience is the children and young people’s workforce, we also have some information that’s useful for parents as do many of our members. Take a look at our website for more ideas and resources to help you encourage parents to support their children’s speech, language and communication development at home.
Last Friday, a team of 25 judges came together to decide the results of this year’s Shine a Light Awards.
This year Pearson Clinical Assessment and The Communication Trust, were once again incredibly lucky to have an exceptional panel of judges from across the education and speech and language sector.
We welcomed back past experts who now know our judging process extremely well, new members whose understanding of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and local practices helped to inform and guide our decisions, and past Shine a Light award winners whose stories have clearly gone on to inspire others.
Secreted away in the basement with a supply of coffee and croissants, our three panels turned their attention to the unenviable task of deciding this year’s winners and highly commended finalists. Tears and tantrums at the ready….!
There were certainly a few tears as we made our way through the shortlisted applications; and the applications that we read left many of us feeling humbled and inspired. We heard about the exceptional best practice taking place across England – strategic activities that have had demonstrable impact on students’ lives; watched our young people nominees who have speech and language difficulties and have worked tirelessly to overcome them, inspire other young people and give back to those who have supported them; as well as exceptional innovative and community-based projects that have improved children’s opportunities to learn, and helped them to participate fully in society.
For now, that is as much as I am going to tell you about this year’s winners. We’re keeping the results a secret and in true Oscars style announcing them on the 24th September. So make a date for your diary, and follow #SAL2015 on twitter, as we’ll soon be shining a light on the outstanding work of these settings and individuals.
This week’s guest blog post is from Deborah Powers, Speech and Language Therapist from 'time to talk'.
‘time to talk’ were recipients of The Shine a Light Award 2013/14 for Children’s Workforce. We caught up with them to see what other activities the team had undertaken since winning this prestigious award.
'time to talk’ Countywide Conference
Following the success of previous years, we held a conference for this year and secured a top venue and some great speakers. The conference took place in November 2014 and we welcomed 70 Early Years and Children’s Centres practitioners who are involved in implementing the ‘time to talk’ strategy across Warwickshire.
It's hard to believe that just over a year ago we launched the first ever Shine a Light Awards as part of the Hello, national year of communication campaign. Now in their second year the Awards have proven to hold a special place in the industry; a fact recognised at last week's award ceremony.
After months of preparation, research into helium balloons, how to download acceptance videos and the inner workings of bubble machines...the hard work has paid off! On the 21 November over 120 individuals came together at 80 Strand, with celebrity host Paul Ross, to hear the results of this year's awards, which included exciting new categories such as Communication Champion and Youth Justice.
The Shine a Light Awards were established to honour individuals, teams, projects and communities which have demonstrated excellence in supporting the needs of all children and young people’s communication, particularly those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). This year we were delighted to honour some of the following, including the nursery setting Haven 2000 Nursery Ltd as our Early Years’ Setting of the Year, community‐wide Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate (ESCAL) for the Communication and 17‐year‐old Jack Fradgley as Young Person of the Year and winner of our Outstanding Achievement award. The look of surprise and delight on Jack and his families face is one to remember.
It was also a particular treat to honour Mr Tumble/Justin Fletcher as another Outstanding Achievement Winner, along with Jean Gross CBE, the government's Communication Champion during the national year.
There were many highlights at this years awards, but some particular moments stand out including Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble's acceptance video filmed at Justin's House, Jack Marshall - last years' young person of the year and a judge for 2012 - congratulation speech to this year's young person - inspiring is not a grand enough word, and of course some Shine a Light cupcakes!
Find out about this year's winners and highly commended finalists in our mini video, (many thanks to Tentacle Media for putting this together - amazing as always!), and reminder to look out for Shine a Light 2013! www.shinealightawards.co.uk
The Shine a Light awards for the Hello, national year of communication have been a milestone mark in our calendars over the course of this year, and yesterday the inaugural event finally arrived!
On the 10th Floor of the Strand, over 120 people came together to celebrate their achievements and hear the anticipated results of their applications, submitted back in August. The setting offered fantastic views over the Thames where the lights from surrounding buildings and the London Eye lit up over the afternoon as the sun disappeared. We were also lucky to have a surprise celebrity host, TV and radio presenter Vanessa Feltz who brought to the ceremony enthusiasm and warmth for the subject, and worked to really make every award winner and finalist feel special.