In this guest post, Jules (AKA Julie Andrews), tells us about her new book, “Colin’s Missing Feathers” and how it can help children with speech sound delays. Plus an exclusive offer for Axcis readers.
Jules started writing picture books with simple speech therapy because, having spent 21 years working in speech and language therapy for the NHS and privately, she knew that for children with minor speech sound delays trying to get therapy was extremely hard. Parents, teachers and other caring adults recognise that children are using the wrong sound, but they don’t know how to help them. Jules wants to give parents some of the skills and activities they need to help their own children. Children can then go off to school and nursery as happy little individuals who can make themselves understood. The ability to use and say the correct speech sounds in words is also very important in learning to spell and read.
Speech Therapy In Picture Books
I started writing a series of Picture Books with hidden speech therapy in them out of frustration at seeing so many preschool children unable to access a speech and language therapy. Sometimes it’s just that the teachers or the parents do not realise that a speech therapist can help their children to develop clear speech, others, it’s that there is no or minimal NHS resource available.
I contacted a couple of agents about my new concept, but as with speech and language therapy in general, the public perception of what we do is very poor; people think that speech and language therapists simply “Teach people how to speak proper.” This is the one thing we don’t do! As my books crossed the fiction/nonfiction boundary, I decided to self-publish… this has been a huge learning curve, as was finding illustrators and getting everything just right!
Speech sound substitutions are normal up to a certain age (see chart in my previous post for Axcis about speech development) but lots of children retain the substitutions and omissions, and consequently have difficulty in making people understand what they are saying. This then leads on to them having difficulty learning to read and spell at school, not to mention frustration at having to repeat themselves!
I started the series of 16 stories with the /ck/sound, this is the most common substitution in children around 2 to 3 years old…
Colin’s missing feathers – is a picture book aimed at 2 to 3-year-olds. But unlike other picture books, it has speech therapy for children who can’t say the /ck/ sound. Millions of children all over the world struggle to say this sound that is made at the back of the mouth. Instead, some children tend to substitute it with the front sound /t/ thus a toddler sitting in the trolley in the supermarket, pointing at the bottles of Coca-Cola will say “Tota tola.
As a bonus, parents, teachers and grandparents can visit my website and download a full programme of activities to address the /ck/ sound delay.
The picture books differ from the widely available books that focus on speech sound awareness. Speech sound awareness books are simply stories with lots of words that begin with the target sound the child is unable to say (if they could say the sound just by listening, wouldn’t they have already done that?).
In the stories the character has the same issue as the child and, throughout the story, the character meets problems because of his speech sounds. Colin ultimately finds a solution and reaches a happy ending. Children will immediately be able to copy the solutions and with practice, will be able to overcome their own speech sound delays.
As an exciting bonus for me was securing support from Mr Phil Collins (Yes, the Genesis singer & drummer) in the form of the following statement, which I will of course use in my endeavour to ensure that every parent, grandparent and early years provider knows the that these books are available and affordable for use with their children.
“Jules has been working hard to help children with speech and language difficulties for many years. I was more than happy to help her out with sponsorship in the early days, so that she could attend postgraduate courses to increase her knowledge and skills. This helped her to help children and that’s what really matters to both of us.”Phil Collins
Jules graduated in 1997 with a degree in speech and language pathology and therapeutics from the City of Birmingham University. She is a highly experienced speech therapist with particular skills in the areas of autism, early literacy development but generally loves to help anyone who is experiencing problems in communicating! Over the past 19 years she has attended training in the UK, USA and Australia in order to maximise her knowledge and skills to help children and adults with speech, language or communication issues.
Jules has written for educational publications such as SecEd, The British Journal of school nurses and Speech & language therapy in Practice. She is passionate about applying her knowledge into practical materials that really make a difference to the lives of children. She currently holds a small private caseload and consults as an Expert Witness for SEND Tribunal assessments countrywide.
Find Julie on; www.linkedin.com/in/julesclarke09092019
Get free advice and more info at; www.sltonline.co.uk
Exclusive offer for Axcis readers
Axcis readers can obtain a free copy of the animation of Colin’s Missing Feathers when they purchase the e or print book from Amazon. Simply email Jules a copy of your receipt and she will transfer the animation via WeTransfer.
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