Experienced West Midlands based speech & language therapy

Friday, September 11, 2020

Lockdown Lessons or how we Kept Calm and Carried on !

Lesson number 1:

In March, like everyone the Soundswell therapists and directors spent a few weeks chasing their tails trying to keep up with the moment-to-moment changes as the pandemic turned from a headline to a reality.

Should anything like this ever happen again we’ve got the benefit of knowing that it’s ‘okay to not know all the answers’ and to not even be sure what some of the questions are!

How could any of us know what to expect, how to react and how to plan for something as unprecedented as Covid -19?

As therapists we are used to problem solving, having a range of tried and tested, evidence- based solutions at our finger tips (and the same is also true for our colleagues in schools and settings).

But this time there were no prepared plans, no ‘try this, it worked last time’ techniques, and yet we got through it didn’t we?

 

Lesson number 2: 

People react really well to us when we admit that we are not invincible. Guess what? It turns out it’s okay to say “I don’t know if this will work but if you’ll bear with us, we’ll give it a try”.

This is really about the skill of making it up as you go along- a skill most therapists will admit to using on a daily basis, but not usually to the extent we have had to do in recent months.

 

Lesson number 3:

There are loads of ways we can support children with SLCN – even when we cannot see them face to face!!

Here are just a few of the innovative and SUCCESSFUL things we’ve been doing:

  • delivering remote training courses to groups of up to 50 staff on topics as varied as: signing, Aided Language Displays (ALDs), Language screening, vocabulary, colourful semantics
  • Developing content for school websites- such as how to support SLCN at home, how to prepare your child for reception, games and activities to do at home to support speech and language development
  • Working with education colleagues to produce new and review existing, whole school communication policies
  • Providing teletherapy sessions & telephone support to children and families
  • Developing work packs for some families who found this an easier way to engage than using the technology
  • Developing (and up-dating on a regular basis!) a workable, sensible and safe Covid 19 risk assessment for our model of working in schools and settings across Birmingham

 

Lesson number 4:

People do appreciate what we do.  We used a variety of pre and post training measures, all of which gave us positive and valuable feedback, but perhaps the most powerful feedback is in the things people took the time to text, email and tweet to us

“I counted down the days for our next training sessions, lockdown was very hard for me & I really looked forward to the sessions”

“Not only did I learn a lot but you guys made me laugh!”

“Staff were texting each other afterwards saying how much fun it was”

“The sessions helped us to feel like we were all still in contact and working as a team “

“Despite the 'remote' working methods which were forced on us due to the pandemic, you have worked strategically and intensively to put us all in a terrific position to tackle the 'post-covid recovery' which we hope will start in September 2020”