In our welcome blog last November, we touched upon how Carys, as a Speech and Language Therapist, can help with feeding issues. We’ve also explored our specialist speech development in our research blogs. Yet, amidst the vital discussions on speech, the ‘Language’ aspect of the profession often remains overlooked. Working on increasing language skills is an equally important part of the role. In simple terms, language therapy involves increasing the range of vocabulary, words and sentences for a person who already has speech. In this blog, we aim to shine a spotlight on language disorders and how Carys can provide support in this important area. So, we took some time out to ask Carys about her work with language.
What is your experience working with language and language disorders?
Before joining Skybound, I worked at an institute renowned for its work with young people with developmental language disorders and so I gained experience and knowledge in the best place! During my time there I engaged with diverse age groups, from key stage 2 all the way up to college and honed my skills working with a range of different abilities. I had the opportunity to deliver individual, group and whole class therapies. One-to-one work with students could focus on any and all areas of language, setting specific therapy goals and objectives. Group work was a great way to cover broader language targets and social skills. Above all, I enjoy and get immense satisfaction from working with individuals facing language disorders and it’s great that I get to continue that work now with Skybound’s clients.
Can you identify difficulties and diagnose?
Yes, I have experience conducting a range of assessments that aid in the identification and diagnosis of developmental language disorders and can be used to inform therapy. This includes assessments like the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF), the Renfrew Action Picture Test (RAPT) and the Preschool Language Scales (PLS), all of which are typically used in the NHS. They are all used to assess expressive (use of) language and receptive (understanding of) language, from which I can calculate standardised scores to indicate needs and language levels. These outputs also serve as valuable evidence in EHCP, IEP and Statement reports. I will always do a full assessment first with a new client, before carrying out any therapy.
It’s worth noting that I informally assess language for all my clients, even if we are focussing more on speech, as it’s important to pick up any issues as early as possible and be ready to implement any therapies required.
What therapies do you have experience using?
I have experience using a range of therapeutic approaches tailored to benefit young people with language disorders. These include interventions focusing on vocabulary and semantics (addressing the intricate links between words). I also conduct social skills groups that focus on language around emotions and social problem solving.
I am trained in specialist interventions such as shape coding, a targeted approach that helps young individuals to learn about sentence structure, word types and developing phrases. With training up to Level 2 in Makaton, a signing system, I use this tool to support comprehension and enhance information recall.
I also have experience using a programme called ‘DLD and Me’, which not only addresses the intricacies of language disorders but also teaches valuable self-advocacy skills to young individuals. My skill set also extends to dealing with challenges associated with language disorders, including speech difficulties and disorders.
What support can you provide?
I offer direct or remote (video call) 1:1 sessions on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. I have some clients who prefer a combination of remote and in-person sessions. Sometimes I will do an initial assessment in-person then follow up sessions remotely. In addition, I can provide support for home and school-based programmes including training staff and family members in therapeutic interventions and overseeing programmes. Skybound also offers Intensive 3-5 Day Programmes at our Therapy Centre, which can be used to focus on language. Focused work with one client and their family in this way is genuinely rewarding.
Where are you based?
I am primarily based in Cardiff and The Vale of Glamorgan, frequently working in Cardiff, Caerphilly, Newport and Swansea. Occasionally, I travel further afield to Bristol but I can carry out remote sessions for anyone, anywhere if needed.