Both Helen and I have written before about being a Speech and Language Therapist, how we ended up in this profession, the bits we love and the bits that aren’t so great. However after a rather random email between myself and the mother of one of the children I am seeing about the child’s inability to blow their nose, it made me think about all the rather odd things I end up knowing because of my job!
- Knowing all about Sportacus and sports candy, Peppa and George etc. It really helps to know about children’s television and the current favourites. Not only does it give you common ground to talk to the children, it also gives you a fighting chance of understanding what your speech disordered child is trying to tell you. Half the characters have really tricky names at the best of times. I learnt that lesson when being told all about ‘portius’ and having the image of round Roman in my head, not an athletic man in a blue jumpsuit!
- To be very careful when googling for images when making resources. I much prefer to use real pictures rather than drawings or cartoons when making my resources. I will always remember making a set of ‘who’ pictures with associated objects for a narrative therapy session. So for example a fireman needs a fire engine, a doctor needs a stethoscope etc. My difficulty came when I looked for pictures of policemen, only to find the first few pages of Google filled with half naked stripper policemen – really not suitable! After some rather confused comments from my husband, I did find a much safer picture!
- Knowing all about dinosaurs. I must have spent many hours discussing dinosaurs and refereeing dinosaur fights with small children. They will always capture the imagination. Dinosaur names are also great for practising longer, multisyllabic words for your speech children!
- That I would find myself writing social stories about hair and other less obvious things. Social stories are fantastic and very useful for a range of children. Often they revolve around playing nicely, listening to the teacher, completing your work etc. But every now and then you will find yourself writing some slightly less obvious ones. ‘I like hair’, ‘I like looking at plates’, ‘I must not stroke or eat other peoples hair’, ‘Hair is fun to look at’ etc
- Talking about children’s bodily functions! It is inevitable that when you spend time with small children, you get the joy of runny noses and being covered in spit through overly enthusiastic bubble blowing. Hence my email about palate function and the child’s difficulty with blowing their nose.
- Learning the art of subtly cheating in a game without the child noticing. Sometimes you need the game to slow down or speed up, or maybe you need a certain child to win. Maybe you are letting the child hide the cards in ‘hide and seek’ and you need to keep an eye on where they are putting the pictures! Trying to subtly cheat is tricky! However, I find it interesting when the children start to notice what you are doing and tell you off!
I love working with children as you never know what they will say or do! What else have you learnt whilst spending time with children?