Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toddlers Get Top Tips on How to Talk

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toddlers Get Top Tips on How to Talk

Article excerpt

Byline: By Craig Thompson

Toddlers in North Tyneside are learning to communicate better than ever before thanks to a fun new teaching scheme. Craig Thompson talks to those behind the success of the Let's Talk for Tots programme

It is a memorable moment in every parent's life when their children say their first word.

But for many mums and dads, it can also be a confusing time.

Just what can they do to help support their child's developing communication skills? And how do they go about doing it?

Now, parents at a Tyneside Sure Start are getting a helping hand thanks to a new booklet.

The Speech and Language Therapy Early Years Team at North Tyneside Primary Care Trust has been taking part in the project with Howdon Sure Start.

The aim was to provide practical guidance on supporting children's communication skills.

Lesley Forrester, speech and language therapist at the Howdon centre, said: "The idea was to create a booklet suitable for the parents of children who were just about to speak their first word.

"We aimed to distribute them in North Tyneside and the feedback we have already had has been incredibly positive.

"We wanted to do something that would act as a tool or guide for parents to ensure the early identification of any speech or language difficulties.

"It is about empowering them, supporting them and giving them the information they need."

After coming up with the idea for the booklets, a bid to support the project was readily accepted and the team set to work designing promotional materials which included a printed bib promoting conversation at feeding times.

Along with that was a height chart containing information about the development of communication skills and a full colour advice leaflet.

The first draft of the booklet contains three sections: Top tips for talking, time to play and a section devoted to watching TV wisely.

Lesley said: "Text was kept to the minimum that was felt necessary to carry the key messages with emphasis on picture information.

"A resident artist on the Speech and Language Therapy team illustrated the booklet and a local printer produced several drafts before the completed booklet. …

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