Tag Archives: speech

Communicating Though Technology

4 Mar

Like many people on the autism spectrum my little man has a fondness for his PC and more so the Internet. But its not just a hobby, Interest or even an addiction! Its his voice, the great one within… The one he can’t seem to use to express himself in the real world.

I’m not saying that Little man can’t speak, because he can! He is very verbal (ask our neighbours, the bus driver or even the postman)! Its just that little man struggles to put some of what he needs to say In the right set of words. This can lead to frustration, misunderstandings and a degree of sadness.

Of course I’d always heard about both children & adults with Aspergers having some type of connection and in many cases, great knowledge when it comes to the world of computers, many children branded as little whizz kids. I didn’t think much about this, that was in till my own child took to the keyboard.

I’ve never had to really ever teach little man something more then once when it comes to computers. I remember his interest at a young age. He was eager to know what all the fuss was about and couldn’t wait to explore cyber space. At 12 years old my son can now show me a thing or two when it comes to using a computer especially when it comes to windows (yes, its true, once you use a Mac you never go back).

Both the existence of computers and the net has opened a whole host of doors for children like Little Man. I’ve noticed that online his much more confident, fancying himself as something of a comedian at times. He loves talking to others about the world of Mind Craft, making Youtube Tutorial videos and sharing his love of wrestling and transport.

Its simple, the computer has no string of facial expressions to understand, it doesn’t constantly change its tone with every mood, it won’t ever demand you stare at it in order to prove your paying attention… Its your connection to the world and those in it. Its a place that lets you express yourself without fear in a way you know how! No ones looking at you and even if they are its through a web cam which according to the little man is an extremely cool invention (his words not mine).

As your child gets the most out of their new communication tool, they also learn and discover all there is to know about it! Little man has no issues when it comes to making spread sheets and presentations. His a massive fan of power point software and seems to understand where every file lies on his PC (even those he has no access to).

It allows him to write at speed instead of lagging behind as he struggles with his fine motor skills when doing things the traditional way. Whether his working on a new movie trailer for his youtube channel or sending that occasional funny tweet that makes everyone laugh, his expressing himself without fear… His learning, communicating and experimenting all at the same time.

All the above is fantastic, making me a very proud mother. However, though I think its great, as his mother I still feel its important he learns the communication skills required to use away from the computer, out there in the big wide world. That’s why together along with his school Little man is thought communication and social skills that we encourage him to use both on and offline.

So… Will I be at all surprised if my son grows up to get a job that involves computers, the net or both?

No… I think its looking pretty likely don’t you?

Teaching Communication Skills To 3-5 Year Olds

29 Oct

I receive emails on a daily basis from worried parents of toddlers or young children.

Many of these emails stress the same concern… My child still isn’t speaking or is speaking little for their age compared to that of their peers.

For others its their child’s lack of understanding of language or how to use it that’s the concern.

Little man was a very early and advanced speaker, only he failed to use certain words in the correct contents, had poor social interaction and would normally dominate conversation. His listening and communication skills are improving all the time now that he has weekly speech and language therapy (SALT) at school. This just proves its never to late to start a programme though the earlier we are taught the skills we need the better, especially in those with autism or any other communication disorder.

Its natural for us parents to worry if our toddler isn’t using communication at the rate we expect especially if we have their siblings to compare them too. But despite the worry its important to note that its not always due to a medical or developmental problem… Some children just develop that bit slower than others, where some just require a bit of help along the way.

Whatever the reason I believe it is important for all parents to encourage communication from an early age… If you feel that development is slow progressing or even too advanced, early intervention is the key.

Those with experience will know just how long waiting lists are for Paediatricians or Speech Therapist… But there are things we can do as parents at home.

I was extremely impressed to hear about a new developmental tool called “chatting with children” I haven’t really seen anything of this kind before and feel its something that could make a whole lot of difference to parents everywhere.

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Chatting With Children is an activities pack designed to build the language development in children aged 3-5. Even better its been developed by Kate Freeman a qualified Speech and Language Therapist.

The pack from I Can (the children’s communication charity) is the third in its series following Babbling Babies and Toddler Talk (also created by Kate Freeman).

Chatting with Children is a stunning pack of 30 fun and interactive activity cards aimed at helping parents and practitioners develop young children’s communication skills. The pack also comes with a well written top tips activity guide that has been designed to help its user get the most from it.

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Inside this kit that resembles a hard back book, you will find 30 beautifully illustrated cards that make up a number of activities designed to encourage the language and communication of children aged 3-5 years. Each task is simple yet provides effective ways of enhancing speaking, listening and understanding skills. The kit has been Designed in association with Studio Conran and illustrator Owen Davey, who has designed each beautiful activity card to feature an activity designed to develop a different aspect of communication.

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What I like most about this pack is that this is a tool recommended to professionals such as therapist & practitioners yet its simple enough for a parent to use at home meaning we have the tools of the professionals at hand to work with at home whenever we want to.

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The fact that the pack has been created by Kate Freeman A Speech and Language Therapist who holds over 15 years experience, gives me even more confidence when using the pack and applying each individual activity.

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Each activity is so simplistic and easy to follow that there is not really any excuses for not being able to try it on a daily/weekly basis. Its not time consuming whatsoever as there is always little if no set up involved.

Toddler Talk and Chatting with Children are each available in paperback for £7.99 or hardback for £12.99 and its available over at the I Can website

In my opinion this is beyond reasonable, I expected it to cost a considerable amount more considering the market its targeted at. I normally find most tools designed with the aim of encouraging a child’s develop within any area, to be over priced and beyond most families reach. So I’m seriously impressed with what I Can are providing here for little money!

What’s more every last penny of the proceeds are put back into the registered Charity “I Can” so they can continue to provide help and resources to parents like you and I.

Any parent with a question or concern about their child’s communication can contact the I CAN Help Enquiry Service for a call or email from a speech and language therapist – visit www.ican.org.uk/help

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. I was sent a sample of Chatting with Children in order to share my honest opinion… I have decided that this will now be donated to a local Speech And Language Therapist in our area.

This ones for you Little man

3 Oct

 There was lip gloss, cleavage and killer heels. Fancy frocks, satin bags and the odd freshly pressed suit! Soho didn’t know what hit it when the mummy bloggers and one or two daddy bloggers, came to town!

 The occasion? Why, the Mad blog awards of course!

 The theme was “GLAM” and Glam it was! There was some serious hot dresses on display with shoes you longed to adopt and take home as your own.

 I spent much of Friday afternoon in the salon, where my long locks were chopped and replaced with a shorter but nicer restyle.

Then It was a mad dash to the beautiful Radisson  Edwardian Kenilworth hotel in London’s west end. It was here, I got ready for the long-awaited big night ahead. Jeans and a tee were swapped  for a floor sweeping, black satin grown, black stilettos and sparkly, shimmering makeup. With a generous spray of Jean Paul Gaultier & little black clutch in hand, I was all set!

 On arrival at the Talk Talk experience centre Soho, I was greeted by a photographer who took a couple of full length pictures before allowing me to scramble off reaching for a glass of white. It was clear on arrival that Sally and the sponsors had gone all out to create an amazing event for us bloggers.

 I met some awesome bloggers, one’s I had met before but overjoyed to meet again, others I knew from online and had wanted to meet for ages and some I was yet to discover. The atmosphere was electric, and as the wine bottles emptied the laughter grew stronger. With each award came a spectrum of reactions and emotions. There were tears, laughter, gasps & roars of applause.

 When the little gold envelope was opened and I heard the words “A boy with Aspergers” my  tummy became a flutter of butterflies and my eyes watered every so very slightly. Yes, stood there with my little glass award in one hand, a microphone in the other, all I could say was

“OMG I’VE WON”

which was followed by a muttered ,

“I don’t know what to say but thank you”

Yes, the word “Thank You” was repeated several times before I scooted off.

Louise (@bobbity666) left, Me & my lovely award centre, Jenny (@Edspire)

No, of course I hadn’t  prepared a speech, that meant I had considered myself a winner. I didn’t even want to think along that line, So with no speech I stood like a donut . There was so many things I wanted to say, they were buried in my head unable to flow out. Nonetheless I would like to think there’s a way to make up for my lack of spoken words by doing what I do best…. Sharing my thoughts and emotions through my writing!

 So, without further delay, here’s what I should have said on collection of my award for the Most inspiring blogger!

 Huge thank you to all that nominated and voted for me to win, those in cyberspace as well as my lovely family and friends You lot are truly amazing, please go about your day today knowing you made this mum and blogger smile a massive smile.

 Sally Whittle (@swhittle) I just can’t thank you enough! Not just for Friday night but the whole experience, it’s just been amazing for me! From the day I discovered I was nominated to the night I collected my winning award I’ve just had such a ball. Yourself with the help of Jen, Parentdish, Talk-Talk and all the other Mad sponsors, made me and so many others feel really special, thank you to you all for making this brilliant event possible.

The lovely Sally Whittle who made it all happen.

  Special thanks to Mothercare, the sponsor of my winning category, “Most Inspiring blogger”

 Sending a big thank you to TK Maxx, Helen (@HelenGunter) & Polly (@p_hibb) for the beautiful dress, shoes and accessories that were perfect for me and helped me to feel comfortable and confident on the night!

 Thanks to my fellow finalist, who helped create an amazing reading list, I’ve uncovered so many great blogs to read. An extra special thank you to the finalist in my category “Most Inspiring” who have all been so lovely to me, your all incredible  and I will continue to read you’re inspiring blogs.

Kylie (@kykaree) it was lovely to see you again, you looked ravishing.

 Massive Thank you to my personal sponsor OptiBac Probiotics, ( who have not only given me support and encouragement but introduced my family to their fantastic products that have been of great benefit to all, but exceptional for my son who has Asperger’s syndrome. lastly thank you OptiBac for covering my hotel expenses at the fabulous Radisson Edwardian hotel, avoiding a half cut merry mum, night busing it through London (don’t think the children would have appreciated waking to a half-drunken mum on the sofa) so thank you.

An added thank you to Soyraya who is part of the OptiBac team and is just the loveliest person you can ever wish to work with when working with a brand.

 Lastly ( Yes, I know! Bet you’re glad I was speechless on the night, anyone would thing I’d won an Oscar) nonetheless I have to thank my three beautiful Children, especially Little Man (aka A boy with aspergers) for giving me the inspiration to write and share our story, the highs and the heartbreaking lows that have brought us to where we are now (a much better place).

Little Man (aka A boy with Aspergers)

“This Little man, this one’s for you! Happy 11th Birthday!”

 As for the “Blogger of the year” I didn’t win this, So don’t panic, I’m not about to reel of any more speeches,  though I would like to congratulate Anna Ranson (@imaginationTree) who was crowned the Mad blogger of the year for her fabulous blog, “The Imagination Tree”

 Well, done

(No hard feelings, that is unless I see you walking the streets alone 🙂 Don’t panic, It’s just a joke)

 I was also super pleased for Lisa (@MummyWhisperer) and Ruth, (@geekmummy) not only where they dressed by TK Maxx meaning I got to meet them during the run up to the awards, they are also fellow winners.

Lisa (Mummy Whisper) Sally Whittle

Ruth (Geek Mummy) collecting her award.

Huge Congratulations girls.

  A highlight to this already wonderful evening was  meeting the lovely Karen (@allaboutheboys). Gosh, Karen had the most stunning shoes, she has taste that’s for sure! Also the lovely Jenny (better known on twitter as @edspire) a real gem with great dress sense. These are two ladies who are genuinely really lovely both on and off-line!

 There are many others I had the pleasure to chat with, far to many to name.

 The rest of the night went by in a haze of excitement and alcohol, after an eventful taxi ride back to the hotel (long story) and a quick change of clothes I headed to a local bar in Covent Garden with these awesome lot, @SuperAmazingMum who was live blogging  (We finally met 3rd time lucky), @michelletwinmum (who had the best eye makeup by far), @seasiderclare (really sweet and friendly),@alforalenyna (who made me laugh so much I almost passed urine) and last but not least @bobbity666 who with Jenny I spent most the evening with and would love to meet again.

Michelle (@michelletwinmum), Clare (@seasiderclare)  (@alforalenyna)

Michelle, Louise (bobbity666)

The very lovely Super amazing mum (Live blogger) we finally meet &  so worth the wait

We had a lush few bottles of wine that we all sat and drunk into the small hours of Saturday morning, before heading for some over priced but yummy fast food (in an alcohol intoxicated kind of way) before walking back to the hotel and parting.

 As I lay on my massive double bed with luxurious velvet throw I drifted of to sleep dreaming about the full English that would greet me in a few hours time, only that didn’t go to plan!

 Waking up with a maid looking over me at 11.35 am was so not the plan!

“Oh no you sleep to late, you must check out”

For a moment I stared at her

“Who the hell are you and where the f*** am I?”

Was what first thought that came to mind, before  it hit me! I suddenly found myself doing things in fast forward (Benny Hill style) jumping up throwing belongings into bags, cat licking instead of showering and getting out of there looking rough, slightly hung over and gutted about my breakie, yet excited about seeing the kids and giving a (Not so little Man) a Happy birthday kiss.

 So, there it is! I mingled, drank, scared a maid with my sticking up Barnet and panda eyes and WON myself a Mad blog 

Not bad for one night ha?

 To see the full list of winners click HERE

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