Some ideas to encourage communication
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Some ideas to encourage communication

Coming up with ideas for supporting your child’s speech, language and communication can be difficult especially during the holidays. All these activities are easy to implement and can be adapted to your child’s age and stage of development.

Some activities to support your family through the summer:

1. Create a story book / photo book of what you’ve been up to over the holidays

Collect photos of everyday activities and stick them into a file. You can print them out or you could just look at them on your phone or tablet. Create good little sentences or words / phrases for each picture: yummy ice cream / eating pizza / digging the sand / a sandcastle with mum.

This enables your child to develop

  • their attention and listening
  • sequencing of events
  • expressive language (talking)
  • and conversational skills.

2. Explore the outside world (e.g., water the flowers, dig in the soil)

Depending on your child’s language level keep it very simple: single words or short phrases. Or you could practise concepts such as ‘pronouns’: he is eating an ice cream / we are splashing in the pool / she is riding a bike.

3. Splashing in a paddling pool

This is a great activity to build attention. You can call “splash, splash, splash”, “ready steady go splish splash splosh”, ”pour pour pour”, “stir stir you’re stirring”.

Offer different sized containers. This is often so powerful and keeps your child occupied for a nice long time. No need to buy anything special: just bring out your kitchen utensils and some Tupperware containers.

4. Blow bubbles

Bubbles are a fantastic way to engage children. You can play ‘stop and go’ games, take turns and practise key concepts such as ‘under – blow bubbles under my hand’. Your child can practise their expressive language, creating sentences such as ‘blowing bubbles in the pool’.

5. Draw with chalk on pavement slabs to encourage speech sound production or just general nice communication

Use chalk outside to draw a ladder. Your child can practise their speech sound production without even realising it! You can go first to model the sound if needed. Drawing anything onto the pathway with coloured chalk can be really fun.

Afterwards you can wash the pathway and again there is lots of vocabulary you could use there to help your little one practise speech sounds. For example, if your child is practising the word “YELLOW” (as many of my children do) you can draw lots of little yellow things and then name them together:

  • yellow banana
  • yellow flower
  • yellow submarine
  • yellow balloon

You get the idea!

6. Walk in nature. Comment on what you see, smell, hear and feel

Make the most of where you live. Go for a walk. You can sing songs along your walk or comment about what you see, smell, hear and feel. For example: I hear the birds, they are singing; I smell the sea and can hear the waves crashing against the rocks. Make sure your comments are appropriate for the age and stage of your child.

7. Sing songs

This is a lovely way to get your child hearing language, rhyme and rhythm. You can take turns, and fill in the missing words such as “heads, shoulders, knees and ______”.

8. Word games (such as ISpy)

The beauty of this game is that it can be played anywhere and everywhere! The importance is that these word games develop phonological awareness (the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words).

Contact me for speech, language and communication support.


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.

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Four reasons to continue Speech and Language Therapy during the summer
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Four reasons to continue Speech and Language Therapy during the summer

The summer holidays can be tricky for parents as there is so much to do: organising childcare, the actual holiday, and trying to have some all-important ‘me time’. Speech therapy for your little one might be the last thing on your mind. But …. If we can prioritise only a small amount of time every day then we are maximising time and finances spent thus far and can continue your child’s Speech and Language Therapy sessions throughout the summer, no problem. Have a look at this blog. We’ll take you through good reasons why you shouldn’t ignore Speech and Language Therapy sessions this summer.

1. Building communication skills takes time

You’ve worked so hard throughout the year to support your child’s speech, language and communication. Now is the time to continue, not to stop! You will watch your child’s communication and confidence grow and flourish over the next couple of months. All the different experiences your child will have on holiday or just even pootling about in your local park with you, or granny/nanny will help expand their capacity for learning and using language and words to communicate with you. If you have time during the summer, you can embed the skills your child has learnt into everyday life which is vital . If in doubt ask how you can use the strategies you have learned in any new environment. Together we can workshop all eventualities and make them fun and doable. There is no end of fun and opportunities with a bucket, spade and a bit of sand!

2. Getting to know your child’s Speech and Language Therapist is vital

Here’s a plug for regular therapy sessions: building a rapport with your child’s Speech and Language Therapist is key. If our sessions together are consistent and regular, then it will be so easy for us to develop a good rapport with your little one. Trust is key. So if sessions are infrequent and irregular it is hard for your child to build up trust with their therapist and it is hard for the therapist also to get you know your child and tailor the sessions so that they really work very well. We need to know what your child loves and what activities or toys work well; so, if sessions are missed and irregular then the process just takes longer.

3. Goals are set and measured

Sometimes a break is needed and that’s fine. We measure goals within a certain time frame and whilst a few weeks holiday are great for everyone, we don’t want to lose any progress your child has made. If a child does not attend sessions, progress will often diminish as consistency in therapy is key!

4. You’ll be able to embed skills over the summer at home

Did you know you can access Speech and Language Therapy wherever you are with our remote service? Teletherapy allows flexibility which means your child’s sessions can be wherever you are. Whilst this isn’t for everyone, it does allow regular sessions to continue. If that does not work for you then let’s talk about how we can help you transfer all the therapy goals into your holiday. You will be surprised how easy it is: lots of goals can be worked into snack times for example or bath times. You will have those wherever you are so this won’t take away your holiday fun, promise!

Find out more about teletherapy.


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.

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Speech sounds: Expectations vs reality
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Speech sounds: Expectations vs reality

Sometimes our kids find it hard to listen to sounds in words and hearing the difference between sounds. This is an important skill which we call “sound awareness”. A lack of it can really impact on clear speech sounds production.

Your child might be confusing similar sounding words. Or they might not notice that a TAT is not a CAT for a DOD is not a DOG. Often children with speech sound disorders or difficulties don’t tune into individual sounds or even syllables. Grow your knowledge to support your child.

Read our latest blog on hearing the difference between sounds to develop speech sound production.

Practice makes perfect

There is a lot more to speech sound production than first meets the eye. Did you know that producing the correct speech sound at sentence level is the last piece to the communication puzzle? There’s a lot of practice before your child develops this last stage of speaking clearly. Your Speech and Language Therapist will start by determining if your child can hear the difference between the sound they are producing and the correct sound. So if your child says LIT instead of LICK we might contrast those two words by perhaps using a candle and a lollypop. Each time he/she says LICK they get to have a lick (or 3) on the lolly. But if they say LIT then we light up and blow out a candle. This way your child can see that there is a difference between those words and that the sounds we make actually matter. Fancy that!!

We call this auditory awareness, which is essentially hearing the sounds in words. Don’t be surprised if you hear your child’s therapist model the sound a lot. This is to develop their awareness. The more your child hears a sound, the easier they will find production. Furthermore, your Speech and Language Therapist will work on phonemic awareness (sound structures) such as the difference between a sound (e.g. sh, is one sound) vs a syllable (e.g., shell has one syllable) vs total number of sounds in a word (shell has three sounds sh-e-ll ), like you can see in my little video clip.

Once a child is able to produce a sound on its own and they can hear and identify how a short word is said correctly we can go and repeat lots of similar words with the sound at the beginning or end until it becomes automatic and new neuro pathways are laid in the child’s brain. From there we branch out into short phrases and then eventually sentences.

Six tips to practise auditory discrimination for speech sound production

  1. Sit opposite your child so they can see your mouth or or sit next to the child and place a mirror in front of you so they can see and hear your production.
  2. Make it fun! Once they’ve identified the sounds in the word, play part of a game (e.g., pop up pirate, Jenga, something which allows plenty of turns).
  3. Use car journeys or walking to school to practise (e.g., oh I see a sheep, sh-ee-p, sh-ee-p has three sounds. Can you spot something beginning with /sh/?)
  4. Remember that spellings can differ (e.g., ‘chef’ and ‘shed’ both have the same initial sound).
  5. Talk about what you’re doing with your mouth (e.g., my lips are rounded for /sh/). Your Speech and Language Therapist will be able to support you with this.
  6. Make silly sentences using your child’s special sound (e.g., Sheep show shepherds shearing).

At this stage you are not expecting your child to produce the sound. This is why it’s important that they continually hear an excellent model. If your child attempts speech sound production at any stage, this is to be encouraged as it’s a great opportunity to model the correct version.

Contact me to develop your child’s speech sounds.


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.

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How to use Attention Autism to develop language and communication
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How to use Attention Autism to develop language and communication

Now you’ve read Attention Autism (part one), you are familiar with the concept of ‘bucket time’ and the benefits it has to offer your child. It’s time to explore all the different stages. In sessions, it can be noisy and with so much to take in, you may want something to refer to. If you’re in need of a helping hand or memory jogger for stage two, read on…

Knowing what stage your child is working at is vital. Every stage has different aims to develop and enhance functional communication. So being familiar with your child’s goals ensures you can continue to practise at home. If you’re unsure of their goals, please ask your Speech and Language Therapist.

With all speech, language and communication goals, the aim is always to generalise skills from therapy settings to home and nursery or school life. This generalisation period will take time. Please try to stick with the plan. You will experience the benefits for your child, and it’ll make family life a little easier.

You may remember that Autistic children thrive on visuals. Let’s use their strengths to support their communication needs. It is a good idea at the start of the activity to have a visual for what’s happening now and what will happen next. If you’re anything like me, you’ll grab a pen and paper or a whiteboard and whiteboard pen, and will doodle away! You don’t need fancy photos.

On the left is a bag with Now written above it and Bag below. On the right are three children playing with Net written above and Play written below.

The attention builder

Stage two of the Attention Autism approach is called “the attention builder”. The clue is in the name, your child’s goal is to keep focused on the activity for a longer period. The duration will be different for every child, but it’s useful to time their attention, so you can report progress back to your therapist.

Parents are often worried about doing something wrong. If it all goes a bit pear-shaped or not as you expected, don’t panic! This is the time to ask yourself, did my child have fun? Did they engage in the activity? It’s very helpful to reflect on the experience. What could you do that would make the activity easier for your child to access? (For example, did you set up the activity before your child entered the room? This would allow for a smoother session, so that waiting time was minimal.)

Three ideas for stage two activities

There are so many ideas out there, which at times can feel overwhelming. I’m always looking for the easiest options to present to you to reduce overwhelm and allow it to feel manageable.

Remember this is about having fun. Your child’s communication will benefit from you relaxing and having this structured approach.

Here are our three top ideas for stage two attention Autism activities:

1. Flour castles

You’ll need:

  • Container, cup or glass
  • Flour
  • Sheet (for the table/floor) (optional)

This is a fun-filled activity to try. But it can get a little messy!

Fill a small glass, cup or container with flour and flip the cup over to build flour castles. It’s great to engage your child especially with the “Splat” at the end.

2. Paint balls

Another activity which is a little bit cleaner is ‘Paint balls’.

You’ll need:

  • Tray, container
  • Paint
  • Rubber balls or marbles
  • Paper (optional)

First dip the marbles into the paint, then drop into the container and roll it around to make a pattern. You could always make a pattern on some paper.

I love to use everyday objects in therapy, so when I came across this next idea, it was added to the list. It’s simple, effective, not to mention clean!

3. Skittles

You’ll need:

  • A packet of skittles
  • Warm water
  • Plate

You’ll need to create a circle of skittles around the edge of the plate. Then add small amounts of warm water to the plate and watch the rainbow of colours appear.

These activities offer a sequence to build and sustain your child’s attention. Remember the key is to have fun. Create meaningful interactions that your child cannot miss! If they can learn to hold their attention, they can learn to use functional skills.

Now you’ve got ideas for stage two activities. Go ahead and carry them out.

Have fun!

If you need speech, language or communication support or advice, I am always here to help.


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.

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Discover how Attention Autism can support your Autistic child’s communication
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Discover how Attention Autism can support your Autistic child’s communication

“I’ve got something in my bag, in my bag, in my bag,

I’ve got something in my bag,

what it is”

You might be wondering why your Speech and Language Therapist is singing this song and then presenting items from a zipped-up bag. Let me take you through stage one of this evidence-based approach.

There are many aims of ‘bucket or bag time’. During stage one, you are simply engaging your child’s attention (whilst also exposing them to language). It’s important to remember that you are not forcing your child to say or do anything. The idea is that the items in the bag or bucket ‘offers an irresistible invitation to learn’ (Gina Davies, 2020).

You don’t need ‘special’ expensive toys. Use what you have at home. It might be that you have some bubbles, a wind-up toy. You might have some foil that you can roll up into a ball, or a balloon. Keep these items for ‘bucket time’. This means that your child is likely to be excited and motivated for the activity. The only stipulation is that these items must be highly motivating and must be the most exciting thing in the room. You’ll want to cover up any distractions.

So, you have your items and your opaque zipped bag, next you’ll want to put the items into the bag ensuring the zip is closed. The zip is important as it increases suspense and excitement as your child cannot see inside. You can also comment when unzipping ‘open bag’ using the signs ‘open’ + ‘bag’ to support your child’s understanding. Your Speech and Language Therapist can help with any Makaton signs that are unknown. The idea of this activity is that the item isn’t touched by your child. This can seem a little odd or feel “mean” but there is a reason for this: we want our child to look at us as well as the object or toy. As soon as we allow our child to touch and play with that toy their attention will go to the toy alone and we won’t get JOINT attention or engagement. This is the reason why we SHOW interesting things for a brief moment and then put these items back into the bag or bucket and out comes the next item. If your child wants to grab the toy and gets upset, then they may not be quite ready for this approach.

Next, we sing the song (as above) and unzip the bag taking out one of the items. The use of pausing is important. Pause after the song: does your child try to use gesture or sound? You can also use this opportunity to model short phrases, ideally one or two words such “it’s a spinner! Wow… so many colours”. After a couple of turns, repeat the process and pull out a different item. We tend not to sing the song each time for the next item. Just sing it at the beginning and then get on with producing the amazing, wonderful things in your bag. No hard and fast rules though, apart from “don’t let the child touch the toys”.

The biggest factor here is that you and your child enjoy the activity together. Have lots of fun!!

Keep up to date with our latest blogs to explore more stages of Attention Autism.

If you need speech, language or communication support or advice, I am always here to help.


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.

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Discover nine ways to support literacy in autistic children
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Discover nine ways to support literacy in autistic children

We are all aware that Autism is on a spectrum. By the very nature of this, it means that every child will present differently, so an individualised approach is required. We need to remember to use a child’s strengths to support their needs. By using a person-centred approach, you’ll see your child’s literacy develop and thrive.

I hear many parents concerns about literacy as well as communication. Will they be able to read, write and spell? How will they manage their literacy independently? The questions are endless, so let’s look at how you can support your child’s literacy skills and how together we can provide a scaffold to them becoming independent learners.

  1. The one thing we know is that Autistic children are visual learners. They succeed by us sharing pictures and demonstrating how the narrative is shown.
  2. Start reading to your child at an early age. You can never start too early. This creates a love for books and supports vital pre-literacy skills (such as increasing vocabulary, following narratives, awareness of sounds in words, and letter recognition and awareness). By supporting pre-literacy skills, you’re starting the process to create confident young readers.
  3. There are many ways to use books. You can narrate the story using different voices and tones to increase interest. You can do this even if your child isn’t interested. They are still listening and learning vital skills. You may even ask and answer questions and voice the skills that they will need for internal monitoring.
  4. Use their interests to select appropriate reading material. In addition, you can then create questions on the book and provide a scaffold to support your child with the answer.
  5. Use technology to spark their interest in reading. Demonstrate how they can read online. This is often successful as it becomes an individual activity as opposed to needing social interaction.
  6. Provide them with a choice of texts (e.g., would you like ‘Perfectly Norman or when things get too loud’) rather than an open-ended question such as ‘What book would you like to read?’
  7. Write key pieces of information down on paper. Research suggests that Autistic learners understand written text better than speech.
  8. You could have a ‘word of the day’ from chosen reading material that you explore together.
  9. Reading aloud to your child can have many benefits which include understanding vocabulary to how the book is read, with appropriate intonation.

I highly recommend the boom decks as they are a great resource!

The ethos at London Speech and Feeding:

“If they can’t learn in the way we teach, then we teach the way they learn”

If you need speech, language or communication support or advice, I am always here to help.


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.

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Let’s relax about making EYE CONTACT already…
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Let’s relax about making EYE CONTACT already…

There’s been a long tradition with teaching staff and with Speech and Language Therapists working in schools that eye contact should be a goal. It is well known that Autistic individuals (whether that be children or adults) mostly avoid eye contact. Whilst it’s part of the way we communicate, it shouldn’t be used as a necessity for an individual who feels that it is uncomfortable. Whilst it does show that you’re listening and showing an interest, it’s not a fair expectation for neurodiverse children.

Autistic children can find making and maintaining eye contact physically and emotionally uncomfortable as well as unnatural. It adds an extra layer of stress and has been reported to increase distractions rather than reduce them. Children who engage in conversations in their own way (i.e., with reduced eye contact) are not shown to suffer with schooling, work, or social interaction.

By having fun through meaningful activities, I often experience that ‘BINGO’ moment (a phrase coined by Alex @meaningfulspeech) where the child is enjoying themselves and naturally makes eye contact. There is no demand on them, they are in a fun, engaging environment which suit their strengths and supports their needs.

Following this, I often reflect on this question ‘Should we make eye contact as a goal?’

It very much depends on the situation. If it places more demands on the child and becomes stressful. Then no. There are many strategies we can use which gain eye contact without placing extra demands on the child. We need to be mindful to adapt the environment and not place neurotypical expectations to meet the needs of neurodiverse children.

How can you encourage eye contact without demand?

  • If you’re using toys, try holding them up to your eye level.
  • You can adjust your position, try sitting face to face during play.
  • Always get down to your child’s level. This might mean that you lay on the floor if your child is positioned in this way.
  • During play, waiting is extremely powerful. Before a key part of the activity, wait and see if your child looks at you. Remember silence is golden!
  • The best way I find is: do something unusual during play. It might be that you spray shaving foam with the lid still on. Or you bring out a wow toy and make it spin/light up or make a noise. A balloon can be good – see video clip. Use the excitement of the activity, and wait to see if you achieve that ‘BINGO’ moment.
  • Create opportunities when there are no toys involved such as during ‘tickles’ or ‘hide and seek’. Autistic children find it difficult to shift their attention between a toy and an adult. So by removing one option, you’re setting them up to succeed.

Remember, it takes practice and time for you to develop these skills. Try one at a time and experiment, see which works best for your child. If you need speech, language or communication support or advice, I am always here to help.


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.

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Why imitation is a powerful strategy to support social communication

Why imitation is a powerful strategy to support social communication

Before reading this blog, it’s important to understand what we mean by ‘social communication’ and ‘imitation’. Social communication is more complex than it first appears. It refers to many aspects of communication such as body language, voice, conversational skills, social ‘rules’ (such as being polite and using manners), interpersonal skills (such as developing friendships), and emotional literacy (such as appropriacy and developing self-awareness). Imitation refers to the simple act of copying.

You may have noticed that your child has difficulties in some of the areas mentioned above. They might be less responsive to you and appear to be quite happy in their own world. Whilst we do not want to change their unique characteristics, we do need to prepare them for future experiences, and what is socially acceptable.

How will copying my child develop their social communication?

  1. If your child is already engaged with a certain activity, they are already interested and motivated. You’re not competing for their attention.
  2. Both yours and your child’s attention is on the same activity which makes imitating for you (as the parent) easier.
  3. Studies have demonstrated that when a parent imitates a child, they are more likely to look at the adult.
  4. Imitation not only supports eye contact but supports facial expressions (such as smiling), may increase vocalisations, and encourages your child to sit closer to you.
  5. Children learn through trial and error. They may start to try to perform new actions to gain their parents attention. Let your child lead the play!!

How do I start imitating my child?

  1. Start with observing them. Take the time just to watch. You don’t need to make notes. Sit back and observe their actions, movements, and sounds they make.
  2. Wait for your child’s reaction when they realise you are copying their actions. Remember they may not notice, you don’t need to remind them, simply copy them again.
  3. Having the same set up as your child allows them to feel in control. So, you may have two sets of the same activity rather than copying using their set of toys.

This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with a ten-minute time frame where you choose to copy your child. This is where you can practise your imitation strategy. Ten minutes a day is far more effective than an hour every two weeks. You may feel self-conscious but trust the process. Build your confidence, whilst exposing your child’s to increased language and communication, enabling them to develop vital social communication skills.

Look at the video above to watch the strategy in action!

Support is only a click away. I’m here to help.


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.

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Five ways to increase confidence and reduce frustration in children with speech and language and communication difficulties
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Five ways to increase confidence and reduce frustration in children with speech and language and communication difficulties

An orange speech bubble with a testimonial

Your child’s speech, language and communication difficulties may impact their self-esteem. And they may show signs of increased frustration. You want them to be full of confidence, increasing their participation in school and fully engaging with their peers.

1. Practise active listening

Speech difficulties can mean that it’s more challenging to understand what your child says. It’s important to show that you’re paying attention, giving them time to express themselves. Focus on what your child says rather than how they are speaking. Remember to maintain eye contact, and actively listen. Active listening and giving time can be trickier than it sounds. I can provide strategies to support your active listening skills.

2. Give other means and forms of communication

Allowing children to express themselves in a variety of ways (e.g., gesture, signs, written, use descriptions to describe a word (e.g., sand – you find it out the beach, it can have pebbles on it, it’s not the sea), use of symbols or high-tech augmentative communication methods such as a computer). Using different ways is vital in reducing frustration and communicating their message. If you’re unsure of what other forms of communication you can use, please contact me for some top tips.

3. Praise efforts

Providing specific praise allows your child to understand what they’ve achieved. E.g., you could praise the way your child listens, or how they take turns, or their resilience (e.g., “I like the way you listened” or “good listening”). Think of different ways you could praise you child during different activities, so you are prepared with phrases that you can use.

4. Have clear start and end points in activities

Some children with speech, language and communication needs have difficulties with transitioning from one activity to another. They also have difficulties with changes in routine. This can add to their frustration and changes in behaviour. So, how do you show a clear start and end to an activity? You can have a visual timetable, or you could have ‘start’ and ‘finish’ boxes where you place all the materials in the box labelled ‘start’. And once the activity has finished, you put the items in the box labelled ’finished’. If you need support with transitions, please contact me.

5. Use visuals

Visuals can support your child to understand routine and spoken language. Visuals can range from symbols to online images, to photographs, or a combination. Explore which type of visuals work well for your children. Using visuals can be powerful if used correctly. Make the most of the opportunities that visuals can provide for your family.

Increase confidence and reduce frustration in children with speech and language and communication difficulties today. Please feel free to contact me if you need any support or tips on maximising these opportunities.


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.

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Discover speech and language regression in autistic children and how you can support your child
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Discover speech and language regression in autistic children and how you can support your child

Discover speech and language regression in autistic children and how you can support your child

There’s often this idea that autistic children have extensive vocabulary and knowledge, but this is not always the case. In fact, 30% of autistic children have language regression.

Goldberg (2003) suggested that speech and language regression refers to the decline in a young child’s speech and communication abilities. We know that regression in speech, language and communication skills often occur before the age of two years. 25% of autistic children develop language at word level between 12 and 18 months of age before losing this language they have learned. As you’re probably aware this regression in communication is a diagnostic indicator of Autism.

We understand that you want your child to progress, and you struggle to watch as their frustration grows as you feel helpless. I want to provide you with tips so that you can feel empowered to support your autistic child and reduce the impact their communication skills have on the family.

  1. Reduce frustration by providing visuals to support their communication
  2. Model gestalts. We know that autistic children are often gestalt language processors. Learn more about gestalt language processors in one of my previous posts.
  3. Praise the ability to communicate. Focus on what they say not how they say it. E.g., good listening, nice talking.
  4. Provide your child with choices (using real objects to represent your choices). E.g., do you want an apple or banana?
  5. Your child must be motivated and have a purpose to communicate. So, ensure you use highly motivating objects for conversations
  6. Provide them with opportunities to communicate. We need to teach children that if they want something, there’s a process that you need to have the opportunity to ask for it. We find that if parents understand what their child wants (without them asking), the object is given to them, and so there’s no reason for your child to ask.
  7. There’s this idea that we need to teach children eye contact. This is not always the case. Your child is unique, we do not want to take their unique skills away.
  8. Model words which are concrete. E.g., words such as ‘finished’, ‘more’. You can model these several times within the day. You can use a gesture to make the word more visual (see the images below). We know that autistic children are often visual learners.
Makaton fro "more"
Makaton for “more”
Makaton for "finished"
Makaton for “finished”

Credit: Little Dots Makaton, Polkadot World

Remember that if your child has speech, language and communication regression, it doesn’t mean your child will stay static.

It’s vital that you seek support from a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. We can tell you at what point in the communication development that your child is at. And we can support you through the process. We can provide you with an individualised plan specifically for your child to ensure you maximise their potential.

Contact me for help.


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.

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Explore seven activities to encourage speech development in school-aged children
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Explore seven activities to encourage speech development in school-aged children

Explore seven activities to encourage speech and language development in school-aged children
Encourage speech and language development in school-aged children

We hear too often parents ask, “what do I need to buy so I can support speech skills at home?” The advice I give is to use what you have at home; you don’t need specific toys or equipment. I’ll give you some ideas so you can adapt them for your child or young person’s interests.

Ensure you know which level your child is working at (e.g., sound level, consonant + vowel, consonant vowel, word, sentence, or generalisation level). If you’re unsure ask your child’s Speech and Language Therapist. The more practice your child has, the better, so practise little and often.

1. Bubbles

Explain to your child that you will play a game. You’ll take it in turns to say their tricky sound and practise at whichever level they are working at/towards.

2. Pop up pirate or similar

Explain the rules of the game to your child (as above). You could stick a picture to each of the swords for variety or stick photos on different characters beginning with their tricky sound. This would be particularly helpful if they are struggling for motivation.

3. ISpy

This is a great game where you can involve the whole family and you can even play it to and from school. Choose their tricky sound and everyone takes it in turns to say “ISpy with my little eye something beginning with [insert tricky sound]”.

4. Hide and seek with words

Explain to your child that you will hide pictures around the room. They will cover their eyes and will be told when they can look. Then they become a word detector and search for the pictures. After they’ve found each one, they are to say the sound (at whichever level they are working at).

5. Name 10!

Your child will name 10 words beginning with their tricky sound. Your Speech and Language Therapist will be able to give you the words at the level they are working at.

6. Sound focused game – silly sentences!

Your child will make silly sentences beginning with their tricky sound. E.g., if your child’s tricky sound is /s/ a silly sentence might be ‘Simon sat on sizzling sausages this Saturday’. Take turns to create them. Allowing your child to hear the correct sound is important for their production skills.

7. Throwing a beanbag on the correct sound

Have their tricky sound and the sound they make placed on the floor. They can use a beanbag or a ball to throw or place on the sound which you produce. Explain what you expecte them to do. Use specific praise (e.g., you listened well).

You can adapt all the above activities to meet your child’s needs. Please feel free to contact me should you need any further advice. I’m here to provide support, reduce your overwhelm and empower you to support your child’s speech and improve their communication. This will in turn reduce their frustration.

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.

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Discover seven activities to support young children with word-finding difficulties
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Discover seven activities to support young children with word-finding difficulties

Speech Therpaist in London
Discover seven activities to support young children with word-finding difficulties

You watch your child struggle to find the right words in conversation. You’ve noticed that they describe what they mean (e.g., it lives in the trees outside, has wings to fly and squawks) but cannot think of the correct word to use (i.e., bird). You see the frustration on their face as they search for that never-ending missing word. You know that as your young person becomes older, they are likely to face an increasing frustration. You recognise the importance of putting strategies into place for their word-finding difficulties. It’s vital that this diagnosis has come from a Speech and Language Therapist, as different activities will target different needs.

Ensure activities are interesting and fun. Be creative and use the activities your young person relates to. Use words that interest them. Remember, the words we use matter.

1. Read, read, and read some more!

  • Read books that rhyme, or those that talk about opposites
  • Read about the semantic classes in the book such as occupations, the equipment they might use, or names of related words
  • Talk about books that involve animals and their young, and the names of the animal genders (i.e., Horses have foals; horse; mare, stallion, filly, colt)
  • Use books that have repetition of the same word or ones that have a silly rhyme

2. Play word-games

You could play games which transform one part of speech to another

  • Today I am riding, yesterday I … (rode)
  • Today I am driving, yesterday I … (drove)

You could name the odd word out from a list of items

  • e.g., cat, dog, sheep, red

Why not read out a list of words and your child must guess which two go together

  • e.g., television, sofa, apple, banana

Play a game of complete the sentence

  • e.g., “A house is a place to live. An office is a place to …”

Play a word game involving synonyms or antonyms

  • e.g., Can you think of another word for “small”? Can you think of another word for “sleepy”?
  • e.g., “The opposite of hot is …” or use a question-and-answer format e.g., “What is the opposite of hot?”

Play a word game involving similarities and/or differences

  • e.g., “what is the same as a car and a bus?”
  • e.g., “what is the difference between a car and a bus?”

3. Use story telling

Sing rhymes or songs, and allow children to complete the sentence

  • e.g., ‘Little Jack Horner sat in a …’ (corner)

4.Tell jokes

Why not tell knock-knock jokes, or riddles? These need accurate word-retrieval otherwise they wouldn’t be funny.

5. Make up words in rhymes

Use rhymes and make up words

  • e.g., “Humpty Dumpty had a great… grandmother”

6. Play word category games

These games might include ones (e.g., “see how many boys’ names you can think of in one minute”. Time yourself while you do it. Categories may include tools, games, girls’ names, drinks, films, toys, animals, makes of cars, clothes, sports, items that you find in school, colours, names of places beginning with ‘B’). You could also play this in reverse, so name items in the category and your conversation partner guesses the category.

7. Play “what comes next?”

  • e.g., ABCDE…
  • e.g., First, second, third…
  • e.g., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

Knowing that you’re helping your child with their word finding is a weight off your mind. It helps you to relax knowing that you’re supporting their word-finding difficulties. Watch your child develop strategies as their word knowledge grows.

Credit: Caroline Bowen

All information in this blog originates from:

Bowen, C. (1998). Information for Families: Helping Children Who have Word Retrieval Difficulties. Retrieved from http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100 on [15.11.2022]


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.

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