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I CAN Learning Opportunity 

Thank you to Dawn House School, part of I CAN, the children’s communication charity, for showing us around your wonderfully nurturing and inclusive setting.

I CAN’s mission to 'ensure that no child should be left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding', came across loud and clear during my short time spent at Dawn House. What stood out, beyond the multi-disciplinary team working, a focus on sensory integration and flexible learning environments, was the child-centred, needs-led ethos echoed by all staff we had the pleasure to meet during our whistle-stop tour.

As well as high quality education, therapy and care of pupils, Dawn House also offer regular training opportunities for profesionals. Keep your eye on their website for informtaion.

The next traning on offer is a signing workshop on 24th November 10am-1pm. The workshop includes over 100 signs, using signs in sentenes and reinforcing sign in song and stories. For more information or to book, contact Andrea Robinson on 01623 795 361 /

Speech and language therapy home and away 

We are missing Jenny to say the least but we are very much inspired by the task that has pulled her in another direction...

To begin work as a speech and language therapist in Zambia!

You can read Jenny's fascinating blog 'Leeds to Lusaka: A Speech and Language Therapist's Zambian Exoerience' at

Best of luck Jenny!

Now providing services to York and surrounding areas

We are pleased to be able to extend our services to York and surrounding areas. If you are a parent in the area seeking speech therapy for your child, or a school looking for bespoke intervention, please get in touch on 07904 810 156 / 


Changes to Data Protection Law

You may be aware that EU legislation around data protection is changing this month. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on the 25th May 2018. 

We have adapted current procedures and introduced new measures to ensure our compliance. If you would like to know more please view our privacy policy:


Away With Words are working to ensure compliance with the the new General Data Protection Regulation legislation by the 25.05.18 deadline. 

A general guide developed by the Information Commisioner's Office (ICO) can be found here:

Please contact our service and ask to speak to the data protection officer if you would like to know more.


Seeking Paediatric Speech and Language Therapists to provide home and/or school based services to children in North Leeds, Harrogate, York and Barnsley.

We are looking for therapists to join our small & friendly team to provide services in each of these areas.

Potential for full or part-time work in one of or a combination of the locations. Flexible working days with pay equivalent to Band 6 or 7 dependng on experience. 

Please contact Lauren Green (Lead Speech and Language Therapist) for more information - 07904 810 156 /

SCERTS Training: We attended the SCERTS Model Introduction,  Application & Assessment training in Sheffield this  week & we're feeling inspired!

(Posted 07.12.17)

Thank you to Communication Crossroads' Emily Rubin (MS, CCC-SLP) for her delivery of the SCERTS training we attended this week and to Sheffield Children's NHS Speech and Language Therapy service for organising such a well attended event allowing around 200 practitioners to access training in this highly regarded approach. 

SCERTS (Social Communication Emotional Regulation Transactional Support) is a comprehensive intervention framework for children and adults with autism and their families.

The model has proved sucessful across the US and more than a dozen other countries worldwide. We were very lucky to have Emily visit the UK to share a slice of the cake with us.

We're looking forward to putting all we have learnt in to practice to support the children we work with to become confident social communicators and to access learning in a meaningful way. 

If you are a parent, teacher or professional involved in supporting an individual with autism and would like to find out more have a look at the SCERTS website 

Join our team: Seeking Independent Speech and Language Therapists - Yorkshire areas 

(Posted 20.09.17) 

Seeking Speech and Language Therapists to provide contracted services to children referred in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire area(s). 

Flexible hours and pay per client.

At least 2 year paediatric speech and language therapy experience essential.

Please contact Lauren Green (Lead Speech and Language Therapist) for more information - 07904 810 156 /


Vacancy: Speech and Language Therapist - Leeds

(Posted 14.07.17) 

We are currently a small team of five speech and language therapists providing bespoke and quality services to schools and families across Yorkshire. We are looking to take on new therapists who share our vision to provide the best possible support for children with speech, language and communication needs in order for them to achieve their communication potential and be safe, happy and fulfilled.

We are seeking a part-time paediatric speech and language therapist to work in primary schools and client homes in Leeds, to begin in September. The role will involve identification of speech, language and communication needs and provision of interventions to pupils as well as support and guidance to staff and parents.

At least 2 years paediatric speech and language therapy experience and experience working in primary school settings is essential.

This is a 12month fixed term contract with the likelihood of extension.

For more details please contact Lauren Green (Lead Speech and Language Therapist) 07904 810 156 /




Unspoken is an inspiring production coming soon to Leeds Carriage Works Theatre. With input from Dr Trudy Stewart (Highly Specilaist Speech and Language Therapist) this show about the much misunderstood condition of stammering is a must see. The production is running from 5th - 8th July. 

Tickets available now at

Attention Autism 


Today we atteneded the Gina Davies Autism Centre Attention Autism training.

Probably the most inspirational training we have had the privilege to be a part of... there is no wonder there is a waiting list!

The training has equipped us to introduce the Attention Autism approach to the schools and families we work with, to support both children with ASD and children with other speech, languge and communication needs.

But certainly, the key point I am taking away from this training is the need for a change in the way we view inclusion for chilren with ASD and how impoartant it is that we adapt the curriculum to make all learing exoeriences meanigful for them.

We know that children with ASD are visual learners and we therefore need to think carefullay and plan well to ensure we are consistently offering an irresistible invitation to learn, that is presented primarly through visuals....

...and as it is with all sucesses, the key is team work - everyone involved with supporting the child singing from the same hymn sheet and fully buying into creating the right environment to help children with ASD achieve their huge potential for communication.

We look forward to sharing our bucket of wonders and 'irresistable' lessons!

Check out some of Gina's ideas for yourself at 

A big thank you to Gina and to the East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre for hosting.

World Book Day 


We seem to have days for everything don’t we…. World Hugging Day, World UFO Day… We’re keeping a mental note of World Sleep Day and we’re all for the International Day of Happiness! But, as speech and language therapists, our favourite has to be the one we celebrated yesterday… World Book Day… a day dedicated to books! Entirely justified we think!


There are many little ways to enlarge your childs world.

Love of books is the best of all.

                Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis


So naturally we wasted no time in embracing this!

Any excuse for a non-uniform day… Cat in the Hat was the choice of the primary school staff. This underrated feline is the star of Dr Seuss’ 60 year old book of the same name, one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.



But we were definitely trumped by the efforts of the pupils…. enter Miss Trunchball complete with monobrow, Darth Vader and his talking mask not far behind.

I very much enjoyed my day with these wonderful characters and others - the Mad Hatter, Cruella Deville and Thing 1 and 2 to name a few!


Darth told me he likes books because ‘they’re cool’ - I couldn’t agree more and here’s why…

  • *      From a very early age, books facilitate development of fundamental pre-verbal communication skills such as attention and listing, anticipation and prediction
  • *      Books for young children, particularly those with rhyme and alliteration, support the development of phonological awareness skills - the building blocks for literacy development in later childhood
  • *      Books feed imagination, an essential component of cognitive development
  • *      Books support the learning of vocabulary…
  • *      … and semantics (word meaning and how words are related)
  • *      Books support the development of narrative skills (the ability to re-tell stories and events)
  • *      Books help children to make sense of the world around them and to begin to develop all important social communication skills such as inferencing and reasoning
  • *      Reading with children helps them to internalise vocabulary and sentence structure, consolidating language acquisition
  • *      Reading books together provides opportunity for quality child and care-giver interaction…


… And most of all books are FUN! Today we have been on a bear hunt, rumbled through the jungle, had a run in with a giant octopus, rescued a dancing hen and moved house with mouse…. Definitely the most memorable day of my week!


We all know the importance of books and reading for child development, but sometimes it’s not that straightforward. Not all children learn to read in the same way and some children have difficulty reading phonetically in the way that is taught by the national curriculum. For children who find phonetic reading difficult, whole word reading may be a more successful approach. Discuss any concerns you have with your child’s teacher. Differentiation of the curriculum to better meet the needs of children with such difficulties is often possible.


Of course we feel professionally obligated to encourage reading, but more than that, we see first-hand the huge benefits of reading on speech, language and communication development.

Here are some of our top tips for getting the most out of story time…

  • *      Make stories a part of your child’s bedtime routine
  • *      Let the child choose the book - we know that children are more receptive when engaged through taking the lead
  • *      Let the child flip through pages - don’t worry if you haven’t got time to read all of the words before they flip - the most important thing is that they are interested. As they get older attention develops and they will spend more time looking at each page
  • *      Talk about the illustrations
  • *      When talking about the pictures or story content, provide more comments and descriptions than questions 
  • *      Model the reading experience by singing or saying the words clearly and rhythmically
  • *      Finger-point to particular words, phrases or initial sounds to reinforce knowledge and to show left-right directionality
  • *      Pause at the end of familiar lines to give the child the opportunity to ‘fill in the blanks’
  • *      For the older child who is reading independently, allow for errors and gently model back the correct word for them
  • *      Encourage the child to segment (sound out) tricky words
  • *      Take a trip to your local library!…

Many libraries are open 7 days a week and offer activities and story times for children. Find out where your nearest library is and check out the events on offer:


Leeds City Council also offer mobile library services, which are a great alternative for those who find it difficult to access amenities in the community. The library buses are designed for young children and their families with 1,500 items specially selected to appeal to children, including board and picture books, popular stories and resources to help with homework. Parents and carers can choose from a selection of novels and information books, and access the internet. There's a cosy seating area for story-telling. The children here at school get a weekly visit and love it!


Children have loved stories for as long as stories have been told and books have forever been at the core of learning. But the 21st century presents both exciting opportunities and new challenges in the way we engage and teach children. The use of iPads, particularly for very young children is a popular current debate. Is children’s love of books beaten only by their love of technology? Well I asked each of the children who came to see me today what they like best… 'reading books or playing games on the iPad?'… 7 out of 10 said ‘books’!

​That's a big up to books!


And here are some of our some of our favourites…



The very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle

Good Night Moon - Margaret Wise Brown

Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell

Brown Bear - Eric Carle

Monkey Puzzle - Julia Donaldson

Guess How Much I Love You - Sam McBrantey

Mr Brown Can Moo Can You? - Dr Seuss

First Rhymes - Rod Campbell

What the Ladybird Heard - Julia Donaldson


Key Stage 1

Cat in the Hat - Dr Seuss

Big Bad Bun - Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross

Ug - Raymond Briggs

Horrid Henry - Francesca Simon

 Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl

The Worst Witch - Jill Murphy

​The Magic Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton


Key Stage 2

Mr Stink - David Walliams

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Jane Aiken

Once - Morris Gleitzman

Stig of the Dump - Clive King

The Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe - C S Lewis

Goodnight Mr Tom - Michelle Magorian

Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

The Story of Tracy Beaker - Jacqueline Wilson

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - J K Rowling

The Hobbit - J R R Tolkien


Finally, we thought we’d throw in some of our own most thought-provoking reads, all centred around the importance and complexities of human communication:

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion

Ageing with Grace - David Snowdon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon

Thinking in Pictures - Temple Grandin

The Autistic Brain - Temple Grandin


Now we’ve just about time to finish that chapter……


P.s. National Donut Day is June 2nd!



Speech and Language Therapist opportunities for North Yorkshire area


Please see further information under the Join Our Team page

Thank you Hannah... Welcome Anna!


Wishing Hannah all the best as she leaves our service (ony temporarily we hope!) for maternity leave. THANK YOU and GOOD LUCK Hannah!

Hannah's role will be covered by Anna Lees (Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist), who, with her wealth of experience, we are very pleased to WELCOME to the team. Find out a bit more about Anna...

An exciting opportunity for a children's illustrator...


We are seeking a children's illustrator to collaborate in an ongoing project creating speech and languge therapy resources for primary school age children. See full details at

Enlisting Expertise!...


We are pleased to welcome Alison to our growing team. Alison will be providing primary school based speech and language intervention and brings with her over 18 years of experience. Safe to say we are happy to have her on board!

Find out more about Alison...



Supporting Schools through the Funding Process


Thank you to the Leeds Complex Needs Service for providing Funding for Inclusion training for our team and our wider independent therapist peer group this week.

We are very grateful to the service for providng training that was tailored to our specialism and our role in supporting Leeds early years settings and schools to apply for support for children with the most significant communication needs.

It is a positive step forward for therapists in independent practice that government organisations recognise that we have vital role in providing services to schools and in contributing infomation for education funding purposes.

We look forward to continuing to broaden these communication avenues to meet the needs of children with speech, language and communication needs.

Roald Dahl Day


Today marks one hundred years since the birth of Roald Dahl!

"One of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century"... His works for children include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The BFGFantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Witches, The Twits and George's Marvellous Medicine.... get reading! Image result for roald dahl week 2016

Follow the link below to register for your Roald Dahl Day party pack and join in the celebrations!


A warm welcome to new staff members


A new academic year, no doubt lots of new challenges and good fun, and new staff members.... We are pleased to welcome Jo to our team. Jo will be working in primary schools and delivering services to children and families in their own homes across Leeds, Bradford and South Yorkshire. Find out a little bit more about Jo...

VACANCIES: Paediatric Speech and Language Therapists 


We are seeking dynamic and innovative Speech and Language Therapists to join our small and friendly team providing services to children in early years settings, primary schools and in their own homes throughout North, West and South Yorkshire.

See full details: Join Our Team

Contact Lauren Green on 07904 810 156 / for details.


PECS Training...


A big thank you to Pyramid Educational Consultants for delivering a fantastic training course this week. I attended the PECS Level 2 Advanced Workshop at the beginning of the week and, like all of their training I have attended, it was most valuable. Delivered by Louise, a highly experienced, skilled and knowledgable trainer, the training reviewed PECS phases I to VI. It also allowed attendees to explore supporting advanced PECS users and consider how to incorporate PECS across the whole day. The 2 day course was highly infomative and relevant to the role of speech and language therapists, teaching staff and parents supporting children and/ or adults using the Picture Exchange Communication System as a means of functional communication. I would recommend it to anyone in the same role. 



Wedding Thank You...


It's business as usual today after a fantastic 2 weeks. Thank you to all of the children and school staff for your lovely cards and gifts.

All correspondence now from Mrs Green (rather than Miss Brown!)

Wear blue on World Autism Awareness Day...


Tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. 

Show your support...

Lego Therapy Training...


Thank you to STARS (Specilaist Training in Autism and Raising Standards) for the Lego Therapy training provided on 24.02.16.

The training has provided a valuable additional therapy approach for developing the social skills of children with Autism and other social and communication diffiuclties.  

It is certainly something we intend to implement with our primary school case loads.

VACANCY: Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist 


We are seeking a dynamic and innovative Speech and Language Therapist to join our small and friendly team of therapists providing services to children in primary schools and in their own homes throughout North, West and South Yorkshire.

See full details: Join Our Team

Contact Lauren Brown on 07904 810 156 for details.


Keeping you informed...


Find all of the myth busters we brought to you throughout 2015 on our FAQs page

December's Monthly Myth!


The last myth buster for 2015...

'Individual therapy is always better'...

A stereotypical image of speech therapy is a single child sitting across a table from the therapist drilling speech sounds, but quality therapy sessions come in all shapes and sizes. One-on-one therapy is not always the most effective form of intervention for children who need to practice with their peers or who benefit from reinforcement from others. For example, a child with difficulties with social communication skills may have greater success practicing with others in a similar boat, or with peers with whom they will eventually generalise those skills with, rather than role playing with a therapist. The speech and language therapist will carefully plan individual and/ or group interventions to target the specific needs of the child(ren) involved.

[ə verɪ merɪ krɪsməs tuː ɔːl maɪ wəndəfʊl spiːtʃ θerəpi frenz]

And a very merry Christmas to everyoneǃ

November's Monthly Myth!


‘Longer or more frequent one-to-one therapy is always better'...

For some speech and language difficulties, frequent one-to-one therapy is recommended. However, therapy comes in all shapes, sizes and styles.

The length, frequency and group size of sessions will depend on the child’s individual goals, cognitive skills, attention levels, and motivation.

Some children are not able to attend to longer sessions or may become overloaded with too frequent therapy.

Speech therapy is also not only about what happens in the session, but how children are supported to practice to generalise learnt skills to use in the real. For example, a child may have developed the skill, through therapy sessions, to listen to and follow an instruction containing 3 key words, but this is only a useful skill if they can generalise it to listening to and following instructions in their home and school settings. Similarly, a child may learn how to produce the sound ‘k’ in words when focusing on this in one-to-one therapy sessions, but this is only beneficial if the child has the awareness, motivation and opportunity to practice the sound in general conversation outside of therapy sessions.  

Many children benefit from group rather than one-to-one therapy. For example, if the child’s aims are to develop social communication skills, a small peer group will provide opportunity for the child to practice fundamental communication skills such as initiating and turn-taking.

The speech and language therapist will advise the most effective type of intervention for your child, whether this be weekly one-to-one therapy, monthly reviews with advice regarding how to support the child’s development outside of therapy sessions, or group work in the child’s educational setting.

October's Monthly Myth!


‘A Speech Therapist’s job is to help people to speak properly'...

Although supporting children to develop accurate production of speech sounds in order to ‘pronounce’ words so that they can be understood is part of the role of a Speech and Language Therapist, it is only one of the many goals we may aim to achieve through intervention.

Generally, the aim of speech and language therapy is to reduce the impact of speech, language, communication or swallowing difficulties on an individual’s wellbeing and their ability to participate in daily life.

“Speech and language therapy provides life-changing treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing”. (Communicating Quality 3, Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, 2006.)

Speech and Language Therapists work in partnership with individuals, their families, teachers (in the case of children) and other professionals to support the individual to achieve their potential for communication, or to reduce the risks associated with swallowing difficulties.

Our service supports children with a range of speech, language and communication needs including speech sounds (pronunciation), understanding language, expressing wants and needs (this may be verbally or non-verbally), interacting with others, and talking fluently. Functional communication is what we aim to achieve for all children. However, for many children, this is not through speech. Many children require the opportunity and support to communicate in other ways such as through signing or use of symbols and pictures.

Communication does not necessarily mean speech and we, as Speech and Language Therapists, do not necessarily just work on ‘speech’ – our job is far more interesting than that! laugh

We are certified First Aiders


Thank you to St John Ambulance for providing the First Aid For All Ages training for us today.

September's Monthly Myth!


‘There is nothing to worry about because my child understands everything - his talking will catch up’...

Typical development of language understanding does not indicate typical development across all areas of speech and language. It is possible for a child to have a delay or a disorder in just one area or across several areas of development including attention and listening, language understanding, expressive language, speech sounds, and social communication.

As well as recognising the distinction between language understanding and other areas of speech and language development it is also important to recognise the difference between pure word understanding and the ability to interpret words in context. Your child may appear to understand spoken language when he/ she is in fact responding to you appropriately based on knowledge of his/ her familiar routine and the context in which you are communicating.

If you are concerned about any area of your child’s speech and language development, seek advice from a Speech and Language Therapist. A specialist will be able to provide a screening assessment and then, if necessary, further assessment of individual areas of speech, language and social communication.

For more information on typical development across all individual areas of speech and language development, visit 



New Training Available


We are now offering 2 new courses for settings and staff supporting children in early years settings: 

  • Supporting Speech, Language and Communication Development in the Early Years: 0-18 months
  • Supporting Speech, Language and Communication Development in the Early Years: Vulnerable 2s

See our Schools pages for more information 


Welcome Hannah


We are happy to welcome a new member to the team - Hannah Chard, Speech and Language Therapist, who will be providing services to primary schools and children's centres in Leeds and Barnsley.

We look forward to working with Hannah over the course of the next academic year.

August's Monthly Myth!


‘Teaching a child more than one language will hinder their development’...

Many children learn two or more languages at the same time without developing speech and language difficulties. The plasticity of the brains of young children mean that they are the prime candidates for successful dual-language learning. In fact, there are potential benefits to learning two languages such as improved vocabulary, greater phonological awareness skills, and well-developed listening skills.

Typically, the same developmental milestones are expected in bilingual children in terms of vocabulary development, grammar usage, and pronunciation as in children who speak only one language.

Common concerns of parents and teaching staff supporting bilingual children include:

  • These children may mix up their word order;
  • They may use words from both languages in the same sentence (‘code switching’);
  • They may also understand or use a word in one language, but not both.

However, it is important to understand that these behaviours are typical of children learning more than one language and are actually a sign of language development – the child is practicing both both languages as they gain more and more exposure to the languages. Such behaviours fade as the child moves through the stages of typical language acquisition.

It may be useful to know that:

  • It is okay for the child to speak in their home language when they are at nursery/ school.
  • It is okay for the child to mix both languages in one sentence.
  • Parents should be advised to speak the language/s they feel most comfortable in. It is the quality of parent – child communication that is important, not the tongue that is spoken. Parents of bilingual children should be encouraged to speak in their ‘mother tongue’ (native language) at home.
  • It is normal for a non-native speaking child to have a ‘silent period’ for up to a year when starting at a new nursery/ school, even if they have been in the country for a long time prior to starting in the setting.
  • It is likely to take between 5 and 7 years for a bilingual child to master their second language academically (i.e. for education purposes). Social language develops at a faster rate.

A child with a speech and language disorder will have difficulties with both languages, but this is not due to the fact that they are bilingual. If you are concerned about the language development of a bilingual child, seek advice from a Speech and Language Therapist. It is likely that the therapist will be able to provide assessment of the child’s first (native) language to inform whether or not there is a speech and language delay or disorder. Often this assessment will be done jointly with an interpreter.

EdFirst Listed 


School Supplier Banner   Away With Words is now listed with EdFirst schools supplies and services. If you are a local school considering a speech and language therapy service for your setting take a look at our EdFirst profile.

July's Monthly Myth!


‘All children will grow out of speech and language difficulties’...

As a child’s speech and language develops, it is normal for them to make mistakes. Children learn through listening, copying and experimenting with sounds and words and putting them together to make sense of their language. Making mistakes, then correcting and rehearsing is all part of typical development. It is also typical for many children to go through a period of dysfluency (stuttering) as they are learning to talk, particularly during periods of rapid language growth as their speech tries to keep up with ever increasing vocabulary and sentence structure.

However, in typical development, these errors correct themselves as the child has more exposure and practice. If errors do not start to correct themselves by the expected age intervention may be necessary.

Research indicates that early intervention is the most effective in the case of children with speech and/ or language disorders and this is why speech and language therapists often take a hands-on approach to providing assessment, and if necessary, therapy early on. Helping children with speech and language difficulties later in life can be more challenging and these children may miss out on opportunities to succeed both academically and socially if they do not receive specialist support. The best advice is to seek advice from a speech and language therapist if you are concerned. A speech language therapist can help to evaluate whether your child’s speech and language skills are age-appropriate, and if not, advise you on the best next steps to take.

June's Monthly Myth!


‘My child has selective hearing – he chooses when and when not to listen’...

There are several factors that can impact on the listening ability of young children, some of which are explained below.

The typical development of attention and listening skills:

The ability to listen to an adult whilst doing an activity/ task is known as dual attention, and is a skill that is not typically established until 5 years old. If your child is under 5 years and appears not to be listening to you, it is likely that they will be focused on an activity of their own choice and will find it difficult to shift their own attention from doing to listening. You can help them by getting down on their level, being face to face, repeating their name and using a gentle physical prompt (tap on the arm) if necessary. Wait until they are looking at you and you have gained their full attention before asking a question or giving an instruction.

Conductive hearing loss:

Glue ear is a common childhood condition in which the middle ear becomes filled with sticky glue-like fluid. This prevents the tiny bones in the ear from vibrating properly, in turn preventing the child from hearing sounds at a typical volume. If your child suffers from a build-up of ear wax or has frequent ear infections it is recommended that you consult your child’s GP. Glue ear can impact on a child’s speech and language development.

Environmental noise levels:

The environment in which a child is in can have a significant impact on their ability to listen. A child in a noisy environment may find it difficult to filter out the background noise in order to listen to speech. The same applies for background noise such as the television or radio, or even the washing machine being on. When children are bombarded with noise they find it difficult to listen. You can create the optimum listening environment by keeping background noise to a minimum, choosing a time of day to play with / read to your child when there are minimal distractions and when you are able to provide one-to-one attention. Small changes such as choosing the a different room to sit in (one with a carpet and soft furnishings, so your speech sounds do not ‘bounce away’) can have a big impact.

Currently, children routinely receive a hearing screen at birth and on school entry. If you are concerned about your child’s hearing you should visit your child's GP, who may be able to make an onward referral for a hearing screen if necessary.



May's Monthly Myth!


My child will be a slow learner because he/ she has difficulty using speech sounds...

Speech sound difficulties are not an indicator of a child's cognitive ability. Children who have a difficulty with speech sounds can have a mental ability within the typical range expected for their age.


Thank you East Leeds SILC


A big thank you for the opportunity to spend time at your school

Spending time with the Speech and Language Therapist based at the East Leeds Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre today was a valuable learning opportunity, and I was made to feel very welcome by staff and students alike. I hope to be able to visit again in the future!


April's Monthly Myth!


My child is slow to talk because their older sibling talks for them…

Although it is helpful to remind older children to give their younger siblings opportunity to talk, it is unlikely to be the only reason for the delayed talking of the younger child. There are many factors that can contribute to delayed talking, for example, a family history of speech and language difficulties, premature birth, reduced opportunities for practising talking, developmental disorders. If you are concerned, seek advice from a specialist as soon as possible. Early intervention is crucial in supporting speech, language and communication development. 

March's Monthly Myth!


My child does not pronounce words properly because he/ she is lazy…

As a child’s speech develops, it is common that they are able to imitate a sound in isolation (on its own) but still have difficulty pronouncing that sound in words and sentences e.g. they can copy the sound ‘c’ but still say ‘tat’ instead of ‘cat’. This is because the child has a learnt automatic pattern for the sound which can be overridden when focusing on that sound alone, but is so habitual that it is difficult to change during connected speech when they are thinking about what they are saying rather than how they are saying it. The child may need help to learn to say the sound in connected speech. This begins with practising the sound in isolation e.g. ‘k’, then in simple sequences with vowels e.g. ‘koo’ / ‘eek’, then in words e.g. ‘cat’, ‘book’. This may require intervention from a Speech and Language Therapist. As a general guide, see below for what sounds are typically produced in words at what age.

1 year: m, n, p, b, w

2 – 3 years: t, d, k, g, ng

3 – 4 years: f, s, l, y, z

4 – 5 years: v, sh, ch, j, th, r

It is common for the consonants ‘w’, ‘l’, ‘y’ and ‘r’ to be interchanged between the ages of 4.5 and 5 years.

Some later developing sounds such as ‘r’ and ‘th’ often do not develop until 7 years.

There is a lot of variation within typical speech development. If you are concerned, seek advice from a Speech and Language Therapist.

Helpful things you can be doing if you are concerned about your child’s speech development are:

  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes
  • Play rhythm games with musical instruments
  • Clap out the beats (syllables) in words
  • If the child mispronounces a word, model the word back to them clearly without correcting. For example, if the child says ‘look, a tat’ you say ‘yes a cat’. Do not expect the child to repeat the word. They will say it in their own time when ready.

February's Monthly Myth!


If I use signing with my child it will mean he/ she stops trying to use speech and will delay development of talking…

There is much research that evidences the positive effect signing systems have on a child’s language development.

Signing with your child can help them understand what you are saying and may give them a way to express themselves whilst speech is still developing. Having a signing system therefore means that the child can get their message across effectively without becoming frustrated or giving up when talking is difficult for them.

When signing with your child, always use speech at the same time- use signs to support only the key words of your spoken sentence.

For many children using a signing system, the child will learn to sign key words to get their message across and then learn the spoken words to use alongside these signs. Signing often then drops away naturally and speech remains.

Signing supports rather than hinders speech and language development.

Training Feedback


Some of the comments from primary school Teaching Assistants who have attended our training session 'Speech, Language & Communication Awareness for Teaching Staff ' this term …

  • The training was clear, informative and relevant to my job.
  • I really found the training useful, with ideas I could implement with specific children.
  • Take-away info sheets and checklists are really useful - will be good to keep to hand in the classroom. 
  • The training was very enjoyable and informative, we just need it more frequently!
  • I feel like I will be able to use practical interventions with the children I support to help their speech and language development.
  • The training has made it easier for me to understand the needs of the pupil I work with and what I can be doing to help her more.
  • I have a better understanding of the role of the Speech and Language Therapist in school and how we can work together to benefit the children.
  • The training was interactive and enjoyable - I look forward to observing speech therapy groups to learn more.
  • Being able to talk about individual children and gain ideas to support them has been a valuable opportunity. 

If you would like to discuss training packages for your school, get in touch 07904 810 156 /

January's Monthly Myth!


Dummies don’t affect speech development…

As babies get older they need to learn to move their mouths in different ways, to smile, chew food, experiment with babbling sounds and gradually learn to talk. Dummies get in the way of the regular practice of babbling that is crucial for learning to make the quick mouth movements needed for speech. The more practice children get at babbling the better their awareness of their mouths and the better their speech is likely to be. Prolonged dummy use can contribute to delayed babbling and first words. It also increases the risk of dental problems later on.

Dummies can be helpful for comforting babies. As the baby gets older it is recommended that:

  • A dummy is only used if really needed to comfort the baby.
  • If your child has a dummy at bedtime, it is taken away once they have fallen asleep.
  • Dummy use is stopped by 6 months, before teeth grow and speech starts to develop.
  • The dummy is always removed when the child is speaking.
  • The dummy is never dipped in anything sweet as this can lead to tooth decay.

Down Syndrome Training & Networking Event


Thank you to the Down Syndrome Training and Support Service for the fantastic training update and networking event yesterday. The training was highly informative, practical and relevant to the role Away With Words plays in supporting children with Down Syndrome in mainstream primary schools. 

Afasic Event in March


We will be taking part in an Afasic event next March, a chance for local parents of children with speech, language and communication difficulties to get together to chat, offer advice and support to each other and access workshop sessions run by professionals. If you are a parent interested in finding out more please complete our online enquiry form. Watch this space for more info.

A Great Success!


The assessment phase in each of our four primary school bases during the first half term has been a great success...We are now looking forward to next half term and getting underway with speech and language groups, and giving the children the support they need to fulfil their potential for communication.