Building blocks helping children develop new skills

Young Finnley, Alfie-James and Joshua (pictured) from Bath and North East Somerset are among a number of children using an exciting approach to help improve their communication and listening skills, level of attention and speech and language skills.

The trio have been part of a therapy session that uses building blocks to encourage collaborative play by working together in a team of three to help each other.

Finnley, Alfie-James and Joshua have all said they like working in a team. Alfie said “It helps me practice my team work” and Finnley added he “likes building as a team”, while Joshua said he likes working with his friends.

The resulting interaction has developed key skills which are sometimes difficult for children with autism to acquire including joint attention, sharing, collaboration, verbal and non-verbal communication.

This approach is being used in speech and language therapy sessions and also specialist autism sessions by Bath and North East Somerset’s Community Health and Care Service’s Speech and Language Therapy Service.

Speech and Language Therapy, one of many services Virgin Care runs and oversees across the county, were given extra funding through the organisation’s Feel the difference fund to introduce more equipment so the service could extend the delivery of the supportive therapy to more people.

The local Citizen’s Panel – a group of people who want to be informed, asked and involved in delivering transformation – called the idea “beneficial for the development of children in many ways” and “valuable and could definitely help support children with autism”, when they were asked to score the fund application recently.

Vicky Millgate, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist who completed the funding application, said: “Therapy sessions have been really useful in developing the children’s communication skills. Focus is placed on language development, turn taking, listening and communicating appropriately in order to build models together in a collaborative way.”

Kirsty Matthews, Managing Director of Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Care Services for Virgin Care, added: “The Feel the difference fund has already helped a number of our colleagues improve their service by seeing their ideas come to fruition. This is another example of how our colleagues can make a difference through a simple idea that really benefits the children they see.”

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