Quick Overview Of How To Implement Those Early Hanen Speech And Language Strategies

Quick Overview Of How To Implement Those Early Hanen Speech And Language Strategies

Quick Overview Of How To Implement Those Early Hanen Speech And Language Strategies

First up try and get down at eye level or Face-to-Face with your child

Try to sit so that your child can see you easily, i. e. your child does not have to look up to make eye contact with you. We call that Face to Face: try and sit opposite your child. This makes it easier for you to see facial expressions and therefore pick up nonverbal /pre-verbal communication. Now you can connect and share the moment with your child.

OWL (Observe, Wait and Listen)

Never skip this step as it prepares us for what happens next !

Observe

First, try and simply watch your child quietly and listen and observe what he/she says or does; you need to know what your little one is interested in. For example with this toy (pictured below) we could observe that your child loves the actual spinning of the marble, perhaps more than that noisy click-clacking down the run. Or perhaps he loves collecting the marble at the end and feeling it in his hand.

You could start off with showing once how the marble goes down and say:“ look it goes round and round !” Then hold back and observe, without speaking, so that your child has time to explore the toy.

Wait

Just sit and avoid telling or showing your child what he or she could do with the toy. This gives your child an opportunity to explore and experiment.

Listen

Listen to what your child says, or look at your child’s non-verbal communication without interrupting. Your child will now feel and know that you are really present and that what they have to say is important. It’s best to avoid questions like, “What are you doing or “What’s this?” as that might be a lot of pressure when they don’t know what to say about that yet.

Respond immediately by showing interest

Once you have all the information from OWLing you can respond in the right way, for example: if she catches the marble at the end of the run and looks up with a smile or a sound you could respond with: you’ve got it! One marble in your hand! Nice playing!

Now how to join in the play:

First you can copy what your child is doing

If your child puts the first marble at the top of the run you can take a turn and do exactly the same once his marble is done. Ideally you might have another marble run, perhaps a similar one, it does not have to be exactly the same! Once your child has put the first marble in you can do the exact same with your own marble on your run. Your child is likely to look at what you are doing and you might well see a smile on their face or perhaps she might say: look at mine!

Next you can build on that

You can respond with simple comments like: “Wow! Yes I am looking at yours now! It’s spinning on the red one lots! I love the noise!” Now wait once more to see what your child says or does.

To summarise

We are signalling to our child that we are really interested in what they are doing and saying so we can “collect” our child, i.e. bring him/her back into a joint interaction.

Important

We want to try and not direct our child but respond with interest and fun! This creates a lovely stage for interaction and joint play! And this leads in turn to practising conversation and ever more opportunities for great speech and language skills to emerge.

Great activities we use in Speech and Language Therapy:

  • Any cause and effect toys like this Marble Run
  • Creative activities, such as mark making with crayons
  • Train tracks (building and running the trains)

Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

Tele-Therapy – What Is That And How Does It Work With Speech And Language Therapy?

Tele-Therapy – What Is That And How Does It Work With Speech And Language Therapy?

Tele-Therapy – What Is That And How Does It Work With Speech And Language Therapy?
Tele-Therapy – What Is That And How Does It Work With Speech And Language Therapy?

How can I help you assess and support your child when you live outside London or just can’t come to see me for any reason? The short answer is: YES I CAN and we can do it virtually! There are separate areas I can target using Teletherapy.

Here is one of them:

Parent – Child Interaction / Attunement

Through the pandemic and lock-down I have had opportunity to re-think how I can help people virtually and what I can do to ensure that parents continue to feel empowered and help their children make good progress even when I cannot personally come to their home or they cannot visit me.

My training with the HANEN METHOD came in so handy as of course in the US and Canada therapists and families traditionally cover huge areas and often are too far away from each other. They have been practising on-line/virtual or now known TELE-THERAPY for decades and are very advanced with research, materials and support in this area. I skilled up at the beginning of the pandemic early 2020 and by around April I was up and running! Nobody was able to see anyone in lockdown and of course parents were still desperate for help with their children.

The basic premise when supporting young children under the age of 5 years is that a NATURALISTIC approach is the best and very well researched to be highly effective. This means that the parents or caregivers are the most important and consistent key people in every child’s life and they are the best therapists and AGENTS FOR CHANGE.

Parents spent the most time with their child, even when they are working parents! – they are still most likely to spend many hours in the evenings and weekends with their child. When we are looking at how Social Communication develops we know that it emerges from birth through daily interaction and daily activities: playing, snuggling, running, eating, getting dressed, shopping with mum, sitting in the car with dad, playground, dinner around the table, bath time, story time, teeth brushing, bed time. These are the consistent areas where interaction takes place and where social communication can develop/be supported/ be enhanced. – do check out my other blog as well on this topic “What is Speech and Language Therapy”.

Parents Are The Agents Of Change

What do I mean by that? Parent-Child Interaction work focuses on helping the parent to tune in with their child and therefore enabling the child to tune in with the parent, in turn. Its about TUNING IN. This is often missing when children have social communication difficulties: they do not tune in. And parents end up tuning less into their children as time goes on, because the interaction is always so one-sided. Parents tell me again and again how hard it is to engage with their child as there seems to be so little “come-back”.

I teach your really powerful strategies that you can implement quite easily during your normal daily activities! You will not need to do any “home work”, i.e anything extra on top of what you normally do with your child anyway! How good is that!?

Each week I will teach you one or two new strategies to try out and together we will workshop exactly how you could do this. So you will walk away knowing what activities to target and how. Over a short period of time you will see positive changes, because you , the parent, have changed! PARENTS ARE THE AGENTS OF CHANGE. This is incredibly empowering for the parent as in the end you won’t need a therapist because you have become the ideal, consistent, expert therapist for your own child. The strategies will stay with you for life and over time you will be using them without even thinking about it. And your child will learn – over time – to tune in with you. TADAAAH! You’re welcome!

So give Tele-Therapy a try! I would really recommend it:

  • Convenient as you do not need to travel, and therefore cost and time saving.
  • It takes just one hour out of your busy day, not 3 hours with travel in London etc.
  • You will be fully supported with on-line video clips, slides, my write-ups and other materials I often make for you to support your journey.
  • You will feel empowered to help your child develop the very day you start the therapy.
  • You can have weekly support, fortnightly or monthly. You can contact me for brief hand-holds in between and most importantly your child will make progress.

If you would like to discuss this a bit more, get in touch with me! I would love to help. Check out my google reviews of clients who have done Tele-therapy with me, some of them live abroad, as far away as Australia and Tanzania or Germany. You will see it can work so very well.

Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

Joint Attention For Children With Autism
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Joint Attention For Children With Autism

Kids Speech Therapist London

Why is joint engagement important for communication development?

It has been well-documented that the development of joint attention is impaired in children who have social communication difficulties or autism. It is, in fact, this impairment which distinguishes children with ASD from children who have other developmental delays.

A lack of joint attention in very young children is an early sign of autism as it is a signal that there is a disruption in the motivation to connect socially with others. Since this is a crucial element, I thought I would outline what we mean by Joint Attention as supported by the research undertaken at Hanen.org.

In typically developing children, the ability to shift attention between a person and an object for the purposes of connecting socially or for requesting develops around the same time. However, for children with ASD, these components emerge one at a time and in a linear fashion. Children with ASD usually start with requesting something and later they may learn to share attention for social sharing. (see pattern below as a general guide).

As with typical development, there is variation in the order that these skills emerge but the following patterns of development is commonly seen:

  • Reaching, taking adult’s arm/hand or pointing to ask for something — but without looking at the adult
  • Gradually alternating looking between person and object of desire
  • Then learning to follow the point of another — which is responding to joint attention initiated by another
  • Directing attention to share interests — without looking at the adult: pointing to a truck on the road/ helicopter circling above
  • Then directing attention to share interest by alternating gaze shift between person and object — here the child is now initiating joint attention.

What is important to note is that in order to fulfil the criteria for true joint attention, the purpose of directing the attention of another person must be social in nature. In other words, it must not be exclusively to obtain a desirable object or event/action. True Joint Attention is seen verbally or non-verbally; we want to share a thought with another person and direct them to something we are interested or excited or spooked by.

For example: we can see an amazing firework display in the distance and we want to quickly direct our friend’s attention to this. In order to do this we might be tugging their sleeve/arm whilst pointing to the display in the distance, and perhaps we might add “wow look over there!” We are doing so simply to share an interest without obtaining anything, we are just being social with each other. So True Joint Attention is not just looking at what we want to have, then look at the person who can get this for us and then point to the item. We can say that this is the precursor to true joint attention, which is purely social in nature.

Because true joint attention is an essential precursor to typical language development, the absence of joint attention in children with ASD contributes to difficulties with language learning. Beuker, K., Rommelse, N., Donders, R. & Buitelaar, J. (2013).

The Hanen programme for Parent Child Interaction teaches parents of children with Social Communication Difficulties step by step how to enable their children to learn to pay attention to an object and the parent at the same time.

We learn how to enable a child to:

  • engage take turns
  • shift eye gaze between toy and adult
  • copy adult’s actions, gestures and then words
  • play with toys in different, new ways
  • interact and for longer periods of time
  • have fun whilst playing

If you would like to know more about the Hanen programme please get in touch. I look forward to exploring the topic with you and help guide you forward if this is something your child is struggling with.


Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.