Who am I and what do I do
Hello, my name is Hayley Greatorex and I am a Speech and language therapist. I have been working for Soundswell for 4 years. Throughout my work with Soundswell, I have worked in various pre-school and school settings in the Birmingham area. I love a new challenge and enjoy taking on new projects for example introducing the 'Wellcomm Toolkit' as a screening tool in Early Years settings.
I also work for South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, working in diagnostics for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I have a particular interest in this area and have worked with individuals with ASD since qualifying in 2011.
I am extremely passionate in promoting the use of 'Makaton Sign Language' to support children with speech, language or communication difficulties. So much so, that I completed the Makaton tutor residential training in June 2018 in order to deliver Makaton training to staff working with children in order to support speech and language development.
My favourite resource is a toy postbox from the Early Learning Centre. I use this for so many different activities using flashcards such as rehearsing speech sounds, teaching vocabulary and practicing prepositions e.g. 'Can you put the letter in/on/under the postbox?' Children also seem to love posting the letters into the postbox at the end of an activity as a reward for finishing their work. The postbox is so versatile, it can be used for any activity!
Best advice you could give to worried parent of language delayed child
Model words for your child to hear as often as possible. Give plenty of repetition of new vocabulary on the accurate production of a word if your child is mispronouncing. Seek advice from a Speech and Language Therapist as soon as possible.
Best advice you would give to anyone considering Speech & Language therapy as a career
Try and gain a range of work experience as soon as possible, preferably before you start the course at University. The degree is not easy, particularly if you do it in 3 years, like I did! Be prepared to be working on placements during University when all your peers are having days off and finishing early for the holidays!
Working with children with Developmental Language Disorder who experience word-finding- difficulties usually involves a game of 'Head Bandz' at some point during therapy intervention. One particular group of children I worked with found it hilarious when I had a flashcard picture of a 'chicken' on my head band. They were in hysterics as I was 'unable' to guess what my picture could be so they all started using the 'Makaton' sign for 'chicken' and gesturing wildly whilst jerking their heads to try and give me clues. By the end of the session, the children, the Teaching Assistant and myself were all in stitches laughing uncontrollably. Still now, when I see the children from this group, they like to model the sign for 'chicken' for me when they pass me in the playground/school, with a huge grin on their faces!
Biggest challenge in the job
Time. There is just not enough time in the day to offer enough support to meet the constant demand for Speech and Language Therapy input.