BATOD
The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education

green Hello Campaign button logo

Jean Gross' keynote presentation to the conference is available as a download (it is a large PowerPoint file) with permission to use slides that are relevant to any presentations that you may make about The National Year of Communication - Hello Campaign.

Download Keynote Presentation by Jean Gross - The Hello Campaign (20mb)
PowerPoint .ppt
Download Keynote Presentation by Jean Gross - The Hello Campaign (20mb)
PowerPoint .pptx

Focusing on children’s communication can make a difference to a great many of your priorities as Teachers of the Deaf and Jean Gross invited BATOD members to join her in an exciting initiative.

pyramid describing how the year of Communication came about

Hello... let’s get the message across

Many people have been arguing for greater support for children’s communication development for many, many years. And it was this lobby that led to the Bercow Review. John Bercow’s report highlighted the postcode lottery in speech, language and communication services and pressed for improvements. In response, the government produced the Better Communication Action Plan eventually resulting in appointment of a Communication Champion and the budget for a national year of communication . Jean Gross has a wide experience of special needs and at one time had overall management of sensory impairment services working across four local authorities in the Bristol area. Her two year appointment as Champion includes a brief to inform government thinking, weaving communication into government policy. Jean opened our conference Communicating – stronger together, describing the challenges facing many children who do not have a good communication base , whether because of environmental factors or because of special needs.

The strong message was enthusiastically received by everyone present. This campaign offers us the best chance we’ve ever had to move children’s communication to the top of the agenda – and to make a real and lasting difference for children with speech, language and communication difficulties, their families and all of our communities.

communicationListening Speaking Reading Writing
Learned first second third third
Used most next to most next to leastleast
Taught least next to least next to mostmost

There appears to be a general belief that communication skills develop naturally – with one in twenty parents believing they have no role in their child’s communication development , others thinking it is down to education. In fact the basis of good communication skills is laid from the moment of birth. Curiously although the skills of speaking and listening are used most, they are in fact taught least. Far more emphasis is given in school to reading and writing.

We need to talk to babies from birth, starting early rather than trying to fix problems later. Developing turn taking (serve and return) learning nursery rhymes, sharing books, reminiscing about events, all need to be happening continuously in an environment that doesn’t have distractors such as background noise from speakers, TVs etc.

As ToDs we have knowledge of the benefits of Sound Field Systems and can encourage their use in schools and demonstrate by example how effective they are at improving the listening environment.

graph sensitive periods in brain development
what poor communication skills can impact on

  • Children with language difficulties persisting at 5½ are at very high risk of literacy difficulties
  • For Year 5 children with poor reading comprehension, an intervention to boost oral language skills made more difference to reading comprehension than an intervention directly teaching reading comprehension skills (Snowling, 2010)

Policy context for the ToD role

The introduction of commissioning with GP consortia having financial control presents challenges in relation to health funding. At the same time, local authorities are holding reduced budgets, with schools increasingly becoming the commissioners of the future.

The proposal of the recently launched Green Paper is a single education, health and care plan covering the 0-25 age range , and by 2014 there will be in place a right to a personal budget allowing parents to have a powerful input into what and how services are provided.

It is not clear how this will affect ToDs – a cluster of schools may opt to buy services together. There are to be Health and Wellbeing Boards in authorities covering health and education. Schools will buy in services but there will need to be strong evidence and data provided by well managed services. As the health service is to be run by patients deciding what they want we must empower parents to fight for what is right for their child.

Hello Campaign green button logo is the national year of communication – a campaign to increase understanding of the importance of good communication skills.

Hello aims to make communication a priority for all children and young people in homes, settings and schools across the UK.

The campaign is run by The Communication Trust, a coalition of over 35 leading voluntary sector organisations in partnership with Jean Gross, the Government’s Communication Champion.

logos of the coalition members

The Campaign aims to create a society where the critical importance of communication in our lives is realised. This will be done by improving understanding and disseminating information on typical communication development, how to spot if children are struggling and how to make sure they get the right help and support.

The National Year will provide tangible improvements for the 1.2 million children and young people in the UK, with some form of long-term speech, language and communication need. These tangible improvements include;

  • more support for parents and carers.
  • earlier identification of children’s difficulties.
  • earlier and more appropriate referral to specialist support.
  • raising the profile of the right to be supported to develop good language and communication skills
  • helping parents and practitioners know what they can do to provide that support.

Hello has produced several publications and posters that are freely available and the PowerPoint presentation that supported Jean’s keynote talk at the conference is available in the conference folder. These can all be used to share and disseminate the information and encourage professionals and parents to develop communication skills in children.

To involve parents, settings have made ‘story-sacks’, ‘musical instrument bags’, ‘verb bags’ and ‘treasure boxes’. Each contains a small piece of advice for parents on how to interact with the child, eg ‘Spend 10 minutes playing with these items’, ‘Wait for your child to comment on these items BEFORE you do’ etc.

To reach young people and the many people who use Facebook and Twitter Hello has accounts that can be linked into.

facebook page twitter page
Throughout the year there will be events based on a monthly theme. This will culminate in awards – for communication friendly setting/primary/secondary school of the year, best multiagency team of the year, young communicator of the year and other categories..

February and March Early chatter matters – from bump to birth and beyond
Babbling babies don’t turn into talkative toddlers by chance. It requires help and encouragement from you!
AprilIt’s not just about talking
Children learn to talk by listening, taking turns and interacting with others. These are the building blocks of communication.
May Good communication begins at home
Learn how to turn everyday activities into fun communication opportunities.
June Imagine life for those that struggle.
Children who find communication hard, find life hard. Over 1 million children in the UK struggle to communicate
July Skills for work, life and play
The power of communication helps you stand out from the crowd, connect with people and live life to the full
August Talk and go
Develop your child’s talking, listening and communication skills in the park, at a museum, in a cafe – even in the car
September Back to school
Speech and language skills are vital in the classroom. Language is the way that teachers teach and children learn
October More than words
Some children have little or no speech. They use facial expressions, signing, symbols or computer aides to communicate with others
November Celebrating communication
Our ability to communicate is something to celebrate – it’s what makes humans unique
December Talk to the future
Children with  severe and complex communication difficulties will struggle for life, not just in 2011

I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge is an annual activity for nurseries, children’s groups and childminders. Children aged 0-5 have fantastic fun and develop their communication skills by singing songs and rhymes. Chatterbox Challenge is a milestone event of Hello. February and March are the official Chatterbox Challenge months, but you can take part anytime that suits you best.

Hello is keen to hear about any local resources that can be signposted. Hounslow created five films (commissioned and funded by the Early Years dept as a ‘spin off’ from Pathfinder work). They are only short - maximum five minutes long and include the top tips as determined by the poll of professionals working in speech and language in Hounslow. The videos are published on youtube and are supported by have posters, postcards and credit cards with the top tips for parents and early years practitioners. Electronic versions are downloadable.

Almost everything that we do as ToDs is about communication and developing communication skills. This campaign supports and extends to all children and young people, encouraging parents and professionals to provide good environments for listening and talking. The support materials – and probably a lot of your personal materials – are relevant to the work that we do. Please take the National Communication Year on board and join Jean Gross in this exciting initiative and become part of the Hello Campaign – sign up for further information at www.hello.org.uk

Many people have been arguing for greater support for children’s communication for many, many years. And it was this lobby that led to the Bercow Review. John Bercow’s report highlighted the condition of speech, language and communication services and pressed for improvements. In response, the government produced the Better Communication Action Plan eventually resulting in appointment of a Communications Champion and the budget for a national year.

Jean Gross' keynote presentation to the conference is available as a download (it is a large PowerPoint file) with permission to use slides that are relevant to any presentations that you may make about The National Year of Communication - Hello Campaign.

Download Keynote Presentation by Jean Gross - The Hello Campaign (20mb)
PowerPoint
Download Keynote Presentation by Jean Gross - The Hello Campaign (20mb)
PowerPoint .pptx