We commissioned some research with parents in Norwich to find out how they felt about supporting their child’s early speech and language, the availability of support, take-up of the funded childcare offer, and what we could offer to promote more language interaction in the home.
The findings told us that:
- Parents in Norwich note a lack of speech and language support groups across the area
- Families would welcome a resource box with small group input
- Families would like more advice on how to support their children’s speech, language and communication skills
- Families would like advice on where to seek help and the referral route for speech therapy
In January 2019 the Community Communication Champions team was established to work with parents and carers, to support their child’s early speech, language and communication development. The team work with families who have a child aged 0-5 in Wensum, University, Catton Grove and Mile Cross wards.
The team work closely with a multitude of local schools, pre-school settings, community groups and other organisations and agencies such as the Healthy Child programme to reach and support parents in need of input. Much of the CCC offer has been in response to specific needs identified from each target ward.
The team have reached out to families who would benefit the most from their input, whilst recognising that many other families may be unaware of the provision if they are not currently supported by other agencies, or if their child does not attend a pre-school setting within Norwich.
CCCs tailor their support to each family’s needs and individual requirements, with a focus on enabling parents and carers to support their child’s speech, language and communication at home. This includes 1:1 sessions held at community venues, training via the Elklan ‘Let’s Talk at Home’ course for families with children aged 2-5 years, group sessions run at local libraries and existing playgroups, as well as regular attendance at pre-school groups in the community.
The team have begun a programme of cascade training to professionals and leaders supporting families with children aged 0-5 years across Norwich, either in paid or voluntary roles. The training uses course materials provided by The Communication Trust and follows the session plans delivered as part of the Communication Champions training which was rolled out to over 80 teachers and practitioners across the city in 2018/19.
Training can be tailored to individuals’ specific requirements and prior knowledge, and gives those people working with preschool children a firm understanding of both speech and language development and key strategies that they can use to support this. The CCC team will continue to offer this training and support for those groups attending the course until the project’s end; with the aim of upskilling as many colleagues working in the community as possible, to help raise awareness of the importance of children’s speech, language and communication development, and how families can support this ay home.
If any professionals in Norwich would like to talk about the speech and language training offer please contact Ashley: Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org