Hello and welcome to my website! I am an experienced Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist based in Salisbury, Wiltshire who has worked in the NHS for ten years. After completing my degree in Psychology at Reading University I worked as a teaching assistant in a school for children with special needs. I then completed an MSc in Speech and Language Therapy before starting work for the NHS in 2007.
I am a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
During my time in the NHS I have worked with a wide range of both preschool and school aged children with communication difficulties. I have a particular interest in stammering and am trained in the Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention. I have worked extensively with preschool and school aged children who stammer, introducing different strategies to help them to become more confident communicators. As part of my role in the NHS I also delivered the Support in Wiltshire: Autism Parent Programme (SWAPP) course which allowed me to work with families who have children on the Autism Spectrum.
As well as working part time as an independent Speech and Language Therapist I also work as a Wiltshire Portage home visitor, working closely with families who have preschool children with additional needs. I really enjoy working in partnership with families to support children to achieve their potential.
Speech and Language Therapy Explained
Attention and Listening
In order for children to learn language they need to be able to pay attention to their environment and listen to people speaking. Children who have difficulties with attention and listening may not have many opportunities to hear new words. There are lots of simple things we can do to help our children to develop good listening skills.
Some children seem to learn words very easily whereas for others the process of learning to talk can take longer. Children usually start off by saying single words e.g. ball, car, shoe before moving onto two word phrases e.g. more juice, big cow. Adults can help by modelling lots of simple language.
Play skills are very important in a child's development. Children learn many of their skills through play, including language skills, for example size vocabulary (big/little), names for objects and, through pretend play, they learn that objects can represent something else.
Before the age of about three years old, many children will have unclear speech. They may miss sounds off the ends of words or substitute sounds for other sounds. This is often just a normal part of language development. For some children they may need extra support to learn how to say certain sounds.
Usually children start to understand words before they can say them. In order for children to learn the names of objects, they need to hear the word lots of times before they can start saying it. Once children can understand lots of object names, they can start to understand more complex language like actions (verbs) and short instructions.
It is not unusual for children of preschool age to go through a period of 'developmental non-fluency'. Similar to learning to walk or ride a bike, talking can be quite bumpy for a while as children develop their language skills. For some children this might persist beyond the preschool years.