COVER STORY: COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
SPEECH & LANGUAGE THERAPY IN PRACTICE
as a top priority and secured funding for year2. The East Sussex Commissioning strategy‘Strong Voices Big Ideas’ has key objectivesand funding for total communication work in East Sussex, and has enabled a series of other total communication projects to obtainfunding via a Total Communication Strategy.Kick Start Phase 2 provided a combinationof training initiatives, road show events,speech and language therapy drop-ins andworkshops, all of which focused on preventionof communication diculties. They gavesta the information and tools to maketheir work places into Total CommunicationEnvironments, where signing, gesture andusing pictures are part of the culture. Kick Start also acts as a signposting service toother East Sussex communication projectssuch as an intensive interaction project andnew training initiatives.We improved road shows by increasingresources, marketing, and developing thedrop-in service. We ran a programme of workshops concurrently at road shows. Onepopular session was by Decoda, a local socialenterprise specialising in working with peoplewith profound disabilities. As Tom Smurthaiteof Decoda says, they are “using sound andmusic as a catalyst for change and to spark new ways of communicating”. Two hundred people attended the annual‘maxi’ road show in 2008, and 80 of these werepeople with a learning disability.We also introduced ‘mini’ road shows whichtravel to residential services to consult aroundcommunication and to link with local personcentred planning initiatives. We held mini roadshows at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings andthe Eastbourne District General Hospital, aspart of Learning Disability Week. These miniroad shows were aimed at hospital sta andfocused on resources relevant to the hospitalsetting, for example simple pictures showingprocedures such as injections and bloodpressure, and the best ways to communicatewith people with a learning disability whoreceive outpatient services.
As a direct result of oering drop-ins at the roadshows, we have developed a new model of working called See A SaLT. These sessions providepractical advice and support without peoplehaving to wait a long time for a more traditionalservice. They are a quicker and more ecient wayof managing the caseload. Sessions are solutionfocused and user-led. The See A Salt sessions areprovided as a part of the Total CommunicationStrategy. They work eectively because theyare one element of a comprehensive range of services (see case examples).We have established with users and carersa set of Total Communication Standards inservices to monitor and audit approaches.Members of the Involvement Matters Teamwere involved in creating the standards. Thisgroup of people with learning disabilitieswork for the Learning Disability PartnershipBoard. They are involved in co-designingand strategic planning of services across EastSussex for people with learning disability. Onemember, Tim, came to a session in Eastbournewhere a number of people got together to planand agree the standards and evidence. We thentook the draft standards to the full InvolvementMatters Team. They went through each standarddoing role plays, exploring the meaning andimpact of the standards and thinking abouttheir own views and experiences.We have successfully secured furtherfunding for 2009/10. This will enable theKick Start team to use the resources andideas developed over the last three years toestablish a programme of events including:• a road show and workshops targetedat families and focusing on transition /school leavers and higher education, runin partnership with education / collegesand paid services• a whole range of innovative workshopsto ensure implementation of the TotalCommunication Standards• a series of mini road shows aimed atimproving competencies and knowledgeof both the learning disability workforceand the general public to improve qualityof relationships for people with a learningdisability• targeting universal services suchas libraries, police and transport, inpartnership with the CommunityConnections project which employs sta with learning disabilities• extending total communicationawareness into the public domain such assupermarkets and leisure centres.We have learnt a lot from the past threeyears and will put this knowledge to gooduse. For example we will target supermarketsthat already employ people with learningdisability. Their experiences of working willdirectly inuence our displays to make themmore relevant to sta and customers. We willensure that the road shows demonstrate andmodel total communication through stalls,workshops, speech and language therapydrop-ins, drama, music and make-and-doactivities in creative and energising ways.
The Learning Disability Development Fundhas nanced a Total Communication Resourcepack. This is a booklet detailing all the totalcommunication resources available to peoplewith learning disabilities. Its exciting featuresinclude real stories of people using theircommunication aids successfully, photosand signposting to websites, organisationsand local groups. It also includes the TotalCommunication Standards.We have produced a short lm of local peoplewith a learning disability communicatingto show that total communication is aboutbuilding relationships and self-esteem,getting to know each other and togetherness.It is a very inspirational lm and a greatintroduction to our training.We are working on our second lm whichwill link directly to the Total CommunicationResource pack. It will show peopledemonstrating how communication toolssuch as picture timetables help them in theirday-to-day lives. Excerpts from this lm willbe used as part of an online resource pack.For example, when the pack describes acommunication passport, you will be able toclick on the icon of a passport to see a shortlm of someone using one.Both lms will be available on DVD and theonline package will be available some timein 2010.Kick Start has highlighted thecommunication needs of people withlearning disabilities and provided apreventative approach to addressing theseneeds. It has inuenced commissioners inthe establishment of an East Sussex TotalCommunication Strategy, of which Kick Startis a key component. The current emphasis is on engaging withspecic services around developing personcentred approaches. We are working inpartnership with local projects and focusing onspecic community groups. We are condentthat this will establish total communication ina far-reaching and nationally progressive way.Kick Start Communication has created areal energy and desire for change in EastSussex, and those of us involved are drivenand committed to continue providing anddeveloping this valuable service. Kick StartCommunication has been extended toBrighton & Hove, West Sussex and otherlocalities in the trust. There has just been a Total Communication road show in Brighton& Hove, and the topic is very much on theirLearning Disability Partnership Board agenda.Hopefully these developments will producesimilar outcomes for people with a learningdisability and their families and carers.
Case examplesDarrenDarren’s carers brought him along to See ASaLT to try and get help for his high anxietyaround activities. The therapists recommendedusing photos on a visual timetable to planhis day. The carers were invited to our totalcommunication training on visual planners andproduced a timetable to suit Darren’s needs.He is much less anxious now he can see what isgoing to happen.PaulaPaula has a severe learning disability andis very dicult to reach. She has a range of self-stimulatory behaviours and shows nomotivation to be with other people. The SeeA SaLT therapists suggested introducingintensive interaction with Paula. This is anapproach where interactions are led by theperson with a learning disability. The therapistsalso signposted the carers to Inter-act Now,the East Sussex Intensive Interaction Network.This brings all those using or interested inusing intensive interaction together to shareexperience, develop skills and support thosewanting to promote an intensive interactionapproach within services.