Craigmillar Books for Babies has worked for many years with the community Speech and Language Therapy service. In recent years we have identified a need to work in a more joined up approach with Health Visitors, Speech and Language Therapists and Early Years Practitioners.

The Project

We have developed a programme in partnership with the community Speech and Language Therapy service called Talking Together.  We have been able to appoint a Speech and Language Therapist and a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant to support early communication and early language development.

Talking Together is delivered in community settings which include Craigmillar Medical Centre, Greendykes Early Years Centre, Craigmillar Early Years Centre, Moffat Early Years Campus and Greengables Family Centre.

Families can attend an Early Communication Support drop-in for support and advice on how best to support and develop their child’s communication. The drop in is facilitated by the Speech and Language Therapist with support from the Craigmillar Books for Babies Development Officer. Referrals can be made by Health Visitors, Early Years Practitioners or through our Family Support at Home programme. A referral can be prompted by a concern from a parent/carer or a professional working with the family.

Families are offered a home visit to support them to carry out the activities recommended by the Speech and Language Therapist.  Home visits can take place weekly or monthly depending on what the family would like.

Parent and Child Groups are small groups for families, facilitated by Speech and Language and Books for Babies. At the moment these groups take place in Craigmillar Medical Centre and take place in 3 week blocks.

The Speech and Language Therapists also deliver training to Early Years Centres and nurseries.  Early Talking Time is aimed at 2-3 year olds, and is designed to target pre-verbal skills such as active listening, eye contact, attention, copying, turn taking and early sound awareness.  This also benefits the development of understanding and expression of language and social communication skills.

The Outcomes

Talking Together means that Speech and Language Therapy support for under 3s is now more visible and more accessible in the community. Health Visitors are referring families to Early Communication Support. Support and advice given at the drop-in is extended into the family home through our Family Support at Home programme.

Working in a range of early years settings has extended the support from the medical centres out in to the community. Joint sessions with the family and with the Keyworker means that everyone is on the same page in terms of the best ways to support the child’s communication.

Training for Early Years Practitioners has led to increased knowledge and awareness on typical language development, communication enrichment strategies and how to seek assistance. Early Years staff have been provided with written session plans to follow, along with materials to use.