Engaging Young People through Animation

Speech and Language Therapists recently used animation and anime to improve attendance and engagement at a Hackney Ark Therapy Community group. Twelve local teenagers with social communication difficulties attended a 6 week programme where they learnt to share and respect opinions, work together as a group and give and receive constructive feedback. The teenagers also learnt how to use animation software and make a short stop-motion animation clip each week. This group of young people are often difficult to engage in therapeutic support but the animation provided a motivation as well as a real-life scenario in which to practice their social skills and teamwork. Parents were invited to the film premiere at the end of the group and therapists, parents and young people were immensely proud of the animations they had made and all the skills they had learnt. We hope you enjoy them too!
[The therapists most involved were Emma Whittingham and Clare Minton].

Developmental Language Disorder

On 19th October it is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Awareness Day. This week the Speech and Language Therapy Team are holding stalls with information, stickers and enticing sweet treats around the borough to raise awareness of DLD. We are at Hackney Learning Trust on 16th October, Hackney Ark on 18th October, and we are holding stalls in a number of schools and children centres all week, look out for us!


DLD is the diagnosis given when a child has problems with language development that continue into school age and beyond. The language difficulties impact on everyday functioning such as learning and social interactions. It can only occur in the absence of a biomedical condition. DLD affects 7% of the population (that’s roughly 2 in every class of 30 children).
For more information take a look at these factsheets:
DLD for primary schools
DLD for secondary schools

Also, check out the RADLD website for more info.

Change that Gets Hackney Talking

_MG_0516On my way to work the other day I passed two men wearing skirts. Hackney is changing. It’s hard to ignore the coffee shops, vintage clothes stalls and pop-up hairdressers. Hackney is changing yet behind the rows of sourdough bakeries and boutique shoe shops, ordinary people are still stumbling through their daily lives.

Hackney is one of the most deprived boroughs in London and deprivation is not only about having enough food to eat or clothes to wear. Adequate speech, language and communication skills are a key indicator for success at school, in the workplace and in life. Children from deprived homes are still growing up with around a quarter of the vocabulary of a child from a more affluent home. Young offenders are three times more likely to have a communication difficulty than other young people.

The world we live in is changing and the ability to communicate is vital. Whether your aim in life is to run a retro clothes stall on Broadway Market or an IT business in Shoreditch, communication is key.

We’re hoping that our new website, GetHackneyTalking.org will go some way to improving the communication of Hackney’s children and young people. We want to see change in Hackney but change that reaches the Kingsmead Estate and Homerton Grove Adventure Playground, change that reaches from Homerton Maternity Ward to Hackney College. Change that Gets Hackney Talking.