Speech Therapist

A Day in the Life of…Poppy

Role: Speech and Language Therapist working within four hearing impaired classes, Hedleys Northern Counties School

Once I arrive I check my emails and catch up with my colleagues in the therapy office. Most days I have a class team meeting at 8.30am where we share students’ progress, discuss therapy and the curriculum.

My favourite type of therapy is smiLE (strategies and measurable interaction in Live English). I run this programme with the occupational therapists and class teachers. smiLE supports students to develop their skills and confidence in communicating in a range of situations with people who don’t use or understand British Sign Language. We support them to use alternative methods including writing down their requests or encouraging clearer speech. Using this approach we have supported students to develop their independence and communication in a range of situations including public transport, cafes and interview situations.

I currently complete three smiLE groups every week; one with three post 16 students where I support them to participate in a work experience interview; another with four 9–11 year olds learning how to order drinks from a café, and a group of 13–14 year old boys developing the skills required to order a meal from a restaurant.

I do Lego therapy to develop social skills and joint literacy sessions with teachers of the deaf. In literacy sessions we use an approach called ‘shape coding’ to develop students’ use and understanding of English grammar. This is usually integrated into a book they are studying such as ‘The Twits’ or ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

I also complete one-to-one sessions with students to work on their individual SaLT targets. This might involve developing their independence by working towards booking their own appointments; developing their emotional literacy; improving their speech or practicing listening skills. I really enjoy opportunities to do joint sessions with professionals from the cochlear implant programme or the deaf child and adolescent mental health service (DCAMHS). Every day I have a dinner duty either supporting students at the dinner table or during playtime.

When I am not delivering therapy I am busy preparing and reviewing therapy programmes; catching up reports and other paperwork, liaising with other professionals and feeding back to parents. I finish each day in the office writing up case notes and making final preparations for another busy day tomorrow.

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