World Breastfeeding Week ~ 1st Aug – 7th Aug 2023

Speech and Language Therapists work on our neonatal unit at Homerton and regularly support preterm and fragile babies to establish breastfeeding. Today we start to celebrate world breastfeeding week. You will find information on the neonatal unit and there will be a stand at the main reception at Homerton Hospital run by our infant feeding team.

Hackney Playbus

Hackney Playbus is a small charity dedicated to bringing play opportunities and support to families who need it the most. They run a variety of services for families with children under five in East London. All our services are free to attend.” Speech and Language Therapists visit the bus several times a year to offer advice and support to families, to answer questions, model simple strategies and to distribute information leaflets about the service.

Find out more here:

The Hackney Early Interaction Project – Chance to win a £20 Sainsbury’s voucher!

Survey stall held at Kingsland Shopping Centre

We’re working to improve language outcomes for 0-5 year olds in the Hackney Downs Neighbourhood by:

  • Improving our identification of children who need support
  • Empowering parents to support their child’s language development
  • Working with local community spaces to create supportive environments for 0-5 year old’s language development

To do this we need to understand how parents are supported to help their child/ren’s early language development.

Why? We know that at least 50% of children in Hackney are at risk of not achieving the expected level of language for their age by the time they start school. Language difficulties early in life can have a significant impact on a child’s later life outcomes.

Who? We want to hear from parents/carers, education, healthcare and voluntary staff.

How can I help? We need to know what you think would support your child’s language development. Do you receive support for your child’s language development that works well? Anything making it hard to access support? We want to know!

Here is the link to our survey which is only for parents/carers who are living in Hackney:

Early Interaction Project: Parent/Carer Survey  

As a thank you for your time, respondents will be asked at the end of the survey if they would like to be entered into a prize draw to win a £20 Sainsbury’s voucher. The prize draw will take place on Friday 27th January 2023. 

International Stammering Awareness Day~ by Speech and Language Therapist Lauren McCormick

It was International Stammering Awareness Day on Saturday – 22nd October!

Last year I wrote about my experience of being both a Speech and Language Therapist and a parent of a child who stammers. You can still read that blog post here.

This year I thought I’d share how things are going!

My son is nearly 5 now. He’s started in Reception, he has strong emotions, loves trains and sometimes stammers when he talks.

Lots of children start to stammer when they are developing their language skills, about 5% of the population. 4 out of 5 children who start to stammer will stop stammering naturally. About 1 out of 5 might need some support and may continue to stammer in their later childhood and adulthood. However, this doesn’t have to be a problem. You can be an excellent and confident communicator and have a stammer. If a child or parent is feeling worried about stammering, getting some support can be really helpful.

I’ve noticed my little boy stammering a bit more since he started Reception – a big change and lots of cognitive skills are developing! He’s learning to read and is absorbing so much from the lovely activities and playtimes at school.

We know that people who stammer tend to pass neural (brain) messages to do with planning and articulating speech a bit less efficiently, and that children often stammer more when they are speaking about more complex ideas – so it’s not surprising that we might see more stammering at times of transition to a new year or key stage.

Slowing down your own rate of speech a little bit can help a child who stammers feel less rushed. However, making a change to the way we naturally communicate is quite a hard thing to do, and it would be an unachievable goal to try to reduce our rate of speech all the time! It can be helpful to think about it for 5 minutes a day (or 3-5 times a week) when you are playing or talking together with your child. In Speech and Language Therapy we usually call this Special Time (or 5-minute time, for older children).

My little boy loves Special Time! But I’ll be honest, we have found it difficult to do it consistently every week! Even so, I have noticed the impact on his confidence and with taking a bit more time to talk.

His teachers have also been really helpful in thinking about ways they can reduce time pressures in class which is great 😊

More than anything, I want him to know that we (his family and teachers) know that he has loads of wonderful ideas, that we want to hear them, and we have time to listen.

If you are a parent of a child who stammers and would like to talk to us about supporting confident and struggle-free talking, or if you or your child are feeling worried about stammering, please do get in touch with us.

You can make a referral through your child’s school SENCo, your GP or by calling us on 020 7683 4262

International Stammering Awareness Day~ 22nd October 2022

There is still time to add your name to 25,000 others on last year’s STAMMA petition about hearing stammering voices in the media – No Diversity Without Disfluency – they will be presenting the petition to the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV on 22nd October. Click the link – Petition · We need to hear and see people who stammer on TV & radio all year round, not just a day. ·

The Airedale Stammering Centre have just released this video- “I don’t need to be fixed – what I wish the world understood about stammering.” – it features members of the stammering community talking about what they would like us all to know and what feels helpful to them as a person who stammers.

Developmental Language Disorder Awareness Day~14th October 2022

Developmental Language Disorder is a hidden but common disability that affects 1 in 14 people causing difficulties understanding and using language for no known reason.

Developmental Language Disorder Day #DLDday, now in its sixth year, is celebrated annually around the world with more than 40 countries involved. The Children’s Speech and Language Therapy team at Homerton has joined the campaign to raise awareness of DLD. They will be holding information stalls for parents and staff in schools and colleges, and keep your eyes peeled for purple conkers hidden all around Hackney!

“As many as two children in every classroom are affected by DLD, but this condition is still under-recognised. We want all of Hackney to know about DLD so those affected can get the right support, and so we can work towards making Hackney a more communication-inclusive place,” said Anna Sowerbutts, Speech and Language Therapist.

There are lots of brilliant videos to learn more about DLD and what it is like to experience the world with DLD. Have a look at some of them here:

or watch this video below, featuring a racing driver with DLD!