This is Avril Nicoll's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Avril Nicoll's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Avril Nicoll
Editor of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice magazine
Recent Activity
"Ralli likes computer games, playing with her friends in the park, and smoky bacon flavoured crisps - BUT Ralli also sometimes finds talking difficult, and she doesn't always understand the words people say. Ralli wants to tell you what this is like and explain what happens." If you haven't met Ralli yet, have a look at the Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairments You Tube channel, and subscribe to receive new video updates. This campaign was launched in May by Dorothy Bishop, Gina Conti-Ramsden, Maggie Snowling, Courtenay Norbury and Becky Clark as a resource about specific language impairment for children,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2012 at Speechmag
Catherine Hollingworth may have been a visionary and steely pioneer of the speech and language therapy profession, but in the small Scottish town where she was born she was known straightforwardly as 'the speaking wifie'. As part of a drive to recognise and celebrate the achievements of 'weel kent Brechiners', Steve Nicoll of the Friends of Brechin Town House gave a fascinating talk on Catherine's life, work and family history last week. Born in 1904, Catherine came from a family with a culture of high achievement and entrepreneurship, with one of her ancestors credited for taking a stand against the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2012 at Speechmag
I was delighted to hear today that Professor Pam Enderby has been given The Robin Tavistock Award 2012 in recognition of her significant lifetime contribution to the field of aphasia. In announcing the award, the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia recognise that listing the extent of Pam's contribution and influence would be 'impossible'. However, they make a valiant attempt, giving particular mention to publication of the Frenchay Aphasia Screening Test, Pam's championing of new technology and development of Therapy Outcome Measures, as well as her pioneering work in establishing the Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2012 at Speechmag
Family Action have been in touch to let me know about some promising targeted work they are doing with late talking 2 year olds. The charity provides over 100 community based services to disadvantaged and socially isolated families across England. This includes managing Children's Centres in Mansfield where they work closely with local health visitors and speech and language therapists. As part of Nottinghamshire's multi-agency Language for Life Strategy a Play and Learning Worker delivers the Home Talk intervention to parents of children at risk of language delay. Children are identified by health visitors using a traffic light screening system... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2012 at Speechmag
Having offered a number of workshops over the years on writing for publication (one written up as ‘Prime and Predigest’), it was a real treat for me to be on the receiving end of a 2 day course on academic writing. John Paley’s main goal was to raise our awareness of the techniques we use subconsciously to make sense of what we read so we can make a conscious effort to apply them when writing. None of the participants were novices with the written word. As editor of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice, I supported therapists who were writing... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2012 at Speechmag
As speech and language therapists we are highly attuned to interaction. We recognise the link between communication competence and how people feel about themselves. Many of our interventions encourage ‘significant others’ to make changes to their communication. This gives our client (the spouse with aphasia, the child with language delay, the parent with dementia or the young person with a stammer) the chance to express themselves more effectively and be a more equal partner in the exchange. Much of healthcare is relational and ‘poor communication’ is recognised as an ongoing problem. The experience of speech and language therapists and their... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2012 at Speechmag
Despite her two year term as Communication Champion officially ending in December, Jean Gross was up with the lark this morning for a 5 minute slot on the Daybreak sofa to talk about ‘testing’ of 2 years olds. Having read her carefully considered and detailed final report, I knew that what Jean had actually asked for was inclusion of “a measure of children’s communication and language development at age two” (p.10) in the Department of Health’s Public Health outcomes framework. On the report's release a week ago, the press furore was around its supposed call that parents should receive texts... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2012 at Speechmag
Readers of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice will be interested to see these short videos accompanying an article about Animation Therapy in the Winter 11 issue. Animation Therapy is a hybrid of skill based and naturalistic activities aimed at improving narrative in older children with language impairment. Speech and language therapist Ravit Cohen-Mimran developed the approach over the past two years. In the Winter 11 issue she describes the rationale, stages, and its use with 11 year old 'Ben'. The first video shows Ben's traffic jam animation, while the second is by another child. Ravit plans to submit a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2011 at Speechmag
The final issue of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice has been signed off for printing, so will be mailed out to subscribers the week beginning 5 December. Meantime, you can access a new, free, online-only article written to accompany the Winter 11 issue. 'New Dimensions' is a report by Speech & Language Therapy in Practice editor Avril Nicoll from the Child Language Seminar (CLS 2011). This was held in June 2011 in Newcastle, and the organisers made a conscious decision to give it a more clinical focus than usual and encourage more participation by therapists as well as researchers... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2011 at Speechmag
I have watched with admiration as the Giving Voice campaign has spread the message across the UK that speech and language therapy transforms lives. Having been active in both Speak Weeks (circa 1987 and 1990) and the rather oddly named SpeakWatch (1994), it is fascinating to see how tools for raising awareness and ways of measuring success have changed, while the passion and many of the issues have not. The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists now has a Policy and Public Affairs Team which has provided the advice, coordination and resources to inspire and enable therapists at a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2011 at Speechmag
It is sad that, in spite of top level commitment to user involvement and community engagement, funding cuts mean charities including Speakeasy are having to seek income through routes such as the NatWest CommunityForce, where entrants are in competition for public online votes to win £6000. Speakeasy was established in Bury almost 30 years ago with support from both social services and the NHS. Over the years the social services support was gradually withdrawn, but the primary care trust financed core services to which Speakeasy added a range of project work such as developing employment opportunities, computer therapy and piloting... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2011 at Speechmag
The Autumn 11 issue of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice has been mailed today, so subscribers can expect it through their door very soon! Cover star Dan sustained a severe head injury in 2007, and Lindsay King describes how revisiting Melodic Intonation Therapy has helped his recovery. Our second 'How I manage acquired brain injury' contribution comes from Laura Flynn in Jersey and is written in memory of another inspiring client, Suzannah Pemberton. The client-centred theme continues with Karen Leadbitter's reflection on empowering Rhys, a man in his thirties with Down's syndrome, to participate in training his own staff.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2011 at Speechmag
More on voice banking, a subject I posted on a year ago when Laurence Brewer was interviewed for Radio 4’s Word of Mouth. This time there was a Scottish flavour to another Radio 4 programme ‘Giving the Critic Back His Voice’, presented by Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross. Mike Arnott - who is originally from Belfast but now lives in Aberdeen – is 45 and has motor neurone disease. He was referred to speech and language therapist Karen Yuill at a time when he had no speech difficulties to explore possibilities for voice banking. Like Laurence, his goal was primarily to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2011 at Speechmag
By happy coincidence, I completed a new article reflecting on two days immersed in speech sound disorders with international expert Caroline Bowen just as Caroline was awarded life membership of Speech Pathology Australia at its National Conference in Darwin. She is pictured here being congratulated by Ros Neilson, Councillor for New South Wales. Having known Caroline 'virtually' for many years, it was a pleasure to meet her at last at her two day 'Speech Sound Disorders - the Basics and Beyond II' course hosted by the Association of Speech & Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP) in the beautiful city... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2011 at Speechmag
No-one would choose to be in hospital but, if we have to be, the majority of us can at least read the hospital menu and choose our preferred dishes. Unfortunately people who have difficulty communicating - including those who have aphasia, or English as an additional language, or who find reading hard - don't have that luxury. As a result, they miss out on making choices for themselves, and may also miss out on nutrition. Recognising the problem, speech and language therapist Karen Rodger started to explore the possibility of making an aphasia-friendly hospital menu around 10 years ago. In... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2011 at Speechmag
Gesure, signing, symbols, boards and books, adapted computers and Voice Output Communication Aids - in the words of the Hello campaign, 'Other Ways of Speaking' that ensure everyone can have a voice. My final year project 23 years ago was on 'Using computers with people with aphasia'. Technology has moved on unimaginably since then, and people with communication difficulties are benefiting as AAC (Alternative & Augmentative Communication) becomes ever more adaptable, portable and affordable. Speech and language therapists have a crucial role in ensuring the 'other ways' are appropriate to the individual's needs and functional in real life situations. The... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2011 at Speechmag
 This afternoon I went to a twilight seminar for a range of professionals. We heard about the findings of a critical review of the literature on children and young people’s views on the factors that influence their mental health. One of the authors, Jenny Spratt, summarised the findings of the review’s 137 pages and we were then encouraged to reflect on how they relate to and can inform practice with young people, whether at school or in the wider community. The four most important influences for young people emerging from the review are all familiar territory for speech and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2011 at Speechmag
The Summer 11 issue of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice magazine was mailed to subscribers on Friday and Saturday, so should be with you very soon. As well as the second instalment in the new goal negotiation series and an 'In Brief' contribution that puts the accent on aphasia, we have an uplifting story of the evolution and impact of a total communication project across Devon. In 'Journal Club', Jen Reid provides a framework for critical appraisal of intervention studies, while 'Boundary Issues' looks at the ethics of new professional roles. We hear about a collaborative project with a... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2011 at Speechmag
I know from all the articles I receive that speech and language therapists put a great deal of thought, imagination and effort into providing the best possible service to clients in challenging circumstances, and that sharing their experience really inspires others. So I'm delighted that the Hello campaign is going to 'Shine a Light' on good practice for children and young people's communication with an extensive awards scheme. The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists is sponsoring Team of the Year for speech and language therapists, and there are other categories for outstanding achievement, communication friendly establishments, other types... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2011 at Speechmag
Throughout April, Routledge is having an Education Free for All, which means you can get online access to the most recent issues of all the publisher's education research journals. You can print off any article which is of interest, as long as it is for your own use in research, teaching or private study. Having browsed through the titles, I have added the journal 'Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties' to my email alert list. This means I will be sent a table of contents with access to abstracts every time a new issue is released. Many speech and language therapists working... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2011 at Speechmag
The needs of people with communication difficulties will be well represented at the Naidex exhibition, which starts tomorrow at the NEC in Birmingham. It’s a shame I’ve never managed to get to this annual showcase for products to aid independent living, as I’ve found other exhibitions such as BETT, the Communication Matters roadshows and Talk Shop inspiring and informative. As Louise Scrivener of Talk Shop says, such events give you “the space and time to re-discover your passion for your new ideas and products...and most importantly to network and update your CPD.” Naidex runs from 5-7 April 2011. Wordswell... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2011 at Speechmag
Humour can be difficult to get right - but last night Lenny Henry and the BBC got it very wrong. My children have been very moved by the various TV programmes leading up to Comic Relief, in particular one involving Lenny Henry in Kenya. On their own initiative they set themselves challenges and got sponsorship. Their questions have led us to discuss politics, culture and the use of humour to highlight inequalities, injustice and our own inconsistencies. It beggars belief that Comic Relief would open with a spoof of The King's Speech which involved absolutely no irony, hidden message or... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2011 at Speechmag
I’m sure Jen Reid didn’t intend to improve my shopping habits when she conceived the ‘Journal Club’ series on critical appraisal for Speech & Language Therapy in Practice – but that has been one outcome. I picked up a pack of four leeks yesterday emblazoned with ‘Special offer! Only £1.70!’ But I paused as a little voice in my head said, “Check the figures and think about it. It’s up to you, not the shop, to decide if this is the best deal.” The loose leeks had a tiny little sign saying ‘£2.75 a kilo’. The four nicely packaged leeks... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2011 at Speechmag
"We found music provided an opportunity for people to express themselves and interact in a poignant way...This has given us food for thought about the link between communication, music and movement." So say the speech and language therapy team for people with learning disabilities at Yourhealthcare, while reflecting on their Signsational training in the Spring 11 issue of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice (pp.28-29). Another speech and language therapist, Lindsay King, has been pondering the link between singing and speech. Having heard about the resurgence of interest in Melodic Intonation Therapy (which I reported in 2007), she introduced it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2011 at Speechmag
Mailing of the bumper Spring 11 issue of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice is now complete and, as always, it is blooming with practical and inspiring articles. We have a new arrival, Whose goal is it anyway?, a series for 2011 on goal negotiation from Sam Simpson and Cathy Sparkes. Journal club continues with a look at critically appraising systematic reviews, Editor's choice is on stammering, and Boundary issues is back with the ethical minefield when work and home life meet. Other articles are on: putting people with learning disabilities in control of where they live and with whom... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2011 at Speechmag