Child Wellbeing|Insights|Primary|Secondary

It’s that time of year when “Parent-Teacher Meetings” are looming. Are you one of those parents who has nothing to say? Or one of the ones with such a long list of discussion points you don’t know where to start? Whichever camp you fall into, most parents are aware that this opportunity for partnership working is one to make the most of. But do you ever get feedback from the most important person… your child? To discuss this topic, we are delighted to be collaborating with educational expert and speech therapist Charlotte Hall.

As children grow and develop, they often need support with their speech, language and communication skills. They might need support to focus their attention, understand what you’re asking and/or express their own ideas fluently. Even the most competent talkers need more support when they’re overwhelmed, stressed, poorly, hungry or tired… So many parents notice that when they ask their child about school, they just get single word answers (school is “fine”, “ok”, “good”).

What can we do to find out more about what they really think?

Visual Supports

Using ‘Visual Supports’ is one of the best ways to support children’s speech, language and communication skills. Quite literally, a ‘Visual Support’ is anything that your child can see that will help them. You might show them an object, photo, picture or gesture to help them focus their attention, understand you or express themselves. Here’s an example of a ‘Visual Support’ created by Charlotte for gathering your child’s views about school.

Below are some benefits of using visual support with your child:

  • Help structure your discussion
  • Help your child to anticipate how long the discussion might be (which will support them to engage and participate)
  • Help you keep your language simple and repetitive (which supports your child’s understanding and vocabulary learning)
  • Give your child extra clues about what some of the words mean
  • Give you both something concrete to refer back to

Your child could write or draw their responses, or you could act as a scribe for them.

Why Is This Important?

Children need to be given opportunities to practise talking and feel like their opinion is being heard. Giving children structured opportunities to share their thoughts not only supports their speech and language development but also builds confidence and self-esteem. Frequently engaging in high-quality interactions with your child will positively impact their mental health, academic achievement and ability to form social relationships with others. The way that we support children at home and in education settings can have a huge impact on them as they grow into adults.

Where can I get my Hands on This?

You can download this free resource by visiting Charlotte’s website at speechtherapywithcharlotte.com. While you’re there, you can also subscribe to her mailing list to receive her newsletter. This includes tips about how to support children’s speech and language development at home and in education settings.

About Charlotte

Charlotte is an experienced Speech and Language Therapist with a passion for adult education. She is on a mission to empower parents and practitioners to support ALL children’s speech and language development at home and in education settings so that they can go on to achieve academically, form strong social relationships and achieve positive mental wellbeing. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook: @speechtherapywithcharlotte.