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Speed of sound
Lynn Griffiths explains a child-friendly visual representation of speed / pace of speech. Aim: To encourage a child to speak at a reasonable pace. Materials: A3 sheet of paper and crayons. Activity:
Explain: Sometimes you talk too fast for me to understand what you say. We are going to draw a picture so you can talk at a slower speed. Ask child to think of something they can draw to show speed. Go with the childs likes What about a train / plane / horse? Divide A3 into thirds. We are going to draw the same picture 3 times. Ask: How are we going to show how fast they are going? They might draw speed lines out the back of the train or a horse walking / trotting / galloping. Then say Lets put some numbers on here to say how fast they are going. What would be the fastest / slowest number? What number would be a good in-between number? They might need help to get a realistic in-between number (which is the important number). Then demonstrate talking at the fastest, slowest and in-between speeds. Children love this because its funny. Encourage the child to practise each speed. Find a nursery rhyme that they know and ask them to repeat it. Praise for remembering it and then practise it at the different speeds. Always finish on the target in-between speed. Photocopy their picture or make similar on computer, laminate it and give to all involved with explanation on how to use it (put tick above in-between number). Use it during sessions as a flashcard reminder to develop selfmonitoring / correction. For ownership the child needs to decide content of the picture. Numbers can go into the thousands; you just allocate the pace of speech to each number. Although there is no visual resemblance to my original sources of inspiration, I had two starting points: 1. The idea for rate / volume / fluency / clarity / intonation came from Talkabout (A social communication skills package) by Alex Kelly (p.48). Its format is cartoon drawings and writing - you discuss components of speech / conversation and write down how you think you cope with them using a smiley chart. 2. The idea of scaling came from Solution Focused Brief Therapy. As they were, both of these were too abstract for my client group to understand, so they morphed into a more child-friendly presentation. Lynn Griffiths is an independent speech and language therapist in Northampton.

In Brief is a new section of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice for 2009 suggested by readers to showcase short, practical ideas. One lucky contributor in each issue will receive 50 in vouchers from Speechmark, a company which publishes a wide range of practical resources for health and education professionals working with people of all ages (visit www.speechmark. net for more information). Brief items (250-500 words) may include therapy or assessment tips or a description of a resource you have developed. It may also be a reflection on the best piece of advice I have been given, or the things I wish theyd told me at University. Although what you write will be substantially your own work, please acknowledge any influences. E-mail your entries to