With Let’s Talk well over a year into its life, over 850 families have now directly engaged with the project, helping give parents the skills they need to best develop their child’s communication skills.

The project started in September 2016 with the Let’s Talk with Your Baby programme for babies aged 6-9 months, with the success of this initial course leading to the inception of Talking Tiddlers (12-18 Months) and Talking Toddlers (18-24 Months) in January of this year.

The continued positive reaction led to the setting up of two further courses in April 2017, Chatting Children (2+ years) and Super Sounds (3+ years). All five courses are for children who have not already been referred to Speech & Language Therapy. All of the short Let’s Talk courses, which last between three and six weeks, also provide key hints and techniques to be taken home and used by families.

In addition to the success of the courses, since February over 700 children aged between 6 months old and 3 years 11 months have had WellComm screenings of their communication skills, checking their receptive and expressive language. These screenings are held at a number of different settings in ABSS areas (such as children’s centres, pre-schools and day nurseries) as well as control settings in non-ABSS areas of Southend. Those children who receive scores that indicate potential difficulties on these screenings are then invited to join the courses or are offered 1:1 home visits, and the families are given tips to support their child at home.

As part of our research, we are using a standardised assessment (PLS-5) with 10% of the children to validate the scores on the WellComm screen. We are also obtaining a quantifiable baseline to measure the effectiveness of the Communication & Language Workstream by offering a screening assessment to all children entering school Reception within the ABSS wards.

Isobel Wratislaw, our Senior Speech and Language Therapist, says: “Our Let’s Talk sessions have proven to be highly popular with parents and children and we are proud of the work we are doing here. Ensuring the impact of these sessions is correctly monitored and evaluated is a very important part of the project and to have carried out so many WellComm screenings so far will help to not only evaluate the project, but also identify children early who may particularly benefit from our courses.”

Click to find out more about our Let’s Talk courses or call 01702 356056.

Don’t forget to look out for our 23 month check birthday invitations, sent out to all children in ABSS areas as they approach their second birthday.

 

Article published November 2017

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