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HERES ONE / reviews

Heres one I made earlier...

Alison Roberts with more low cost, flexible and fun therapy suggestions for groups True story
This memory activity helps clients to listen, and to learn something about each other. It could be something about their biography, or maybe an event last weekend, such as a barbecue or a trip to a zoo. It also requires the person telling their story to plan something reasonably coherent, for which they may need some help. If your group of clients prefers, they can tell made-up stories. It is best for a group of four teenagers or adults. IN PRACTICE a. Person A tells their story, which should last approximately half a minute. b. Person B repeats the story as exactly as possible, trying to use the same words and inflections. c. Person C mimes it. d. Person D tells it again, but as a character such as an old woman or a reporter might. e. Together think of some questions that would extend the information originally given. f. Now person B tells their story, and the procedure is repeated. g. When everyone has told their story try to remember Person As story. h. The outcome should demonstrate that, if the clients really focus on other peoples news or biographies, they can remember and use them to form part of a conversation. The point can also be made that, if the story is remembered, it can be referred to at a later date, showing interest and therefore possibly helping to build a friendship.

Foundation Role Plays for Autism Andrew Nelson Jessica Kingsley ISBN 978-1-84905-063-0 34.99

An excellent resource

This is a practical resource for anyone working with young people with autism spectrum disorder. It offers pre-prepared activities to enable participants to make choices and practise skills in a safe imaginary situation. I particularly loved the sections aimed at siblings, parents and peers as there are very few resources available for these groups. These role plays are most suited for older children or young adults as they require higher levels of language ability and have a written feedback form for each activity. This is an excellent resource for therapists working with young people with high functioning autism. I will be passing it on to our therapist dedicated to the secondary school service and the Youth Offending Team. Louisa Waters is Principal speech and language therapist, Childrens Therapy Team, Medway Community Healthcare.


Every cloud
MATERIALS List of problems Paper and pens

This activity has two main purposes: lateral thinking practice, and how to be optimistic. Clients who are working on idiom will also learn the meaning of the expression Every cloud has a silver lining.

Benjamin Writer-Messy / Jake Monkey-Tail Priya Desai Learning Cycle Ltd ISBN 978-0-9565247-0-6 / 978-0-9565247-1-3 5.99 / 6.99

Hard work to hold attention

IN PRACTICE Write a problem at the top of the page, such as Amy broke her ankle but. Now, as a group, brainstorm some positive points about such a situation. These could be: she found that her true friends rallied round to help her; she found out different ways of doing things (like bouncing down the stairs on her bottom, and drinking her tea beside the kettle rather than carry it to her table); she learnt to use crutches, and in so doing her arms got stronger; people wrote funny things on her plaster; she was given lots of flowers. Other hypothetical problems and positive points might include: There was a power cut (but - we ate by candlelight; we had a log fire; we teamed up with others and had a bonfire; we saved a bit on electricity). We missed the train (but - while waiting we took the opportunity to have a coffee in the station caf; we caught a later one which was a through train; we spent another day on holiday). Our car broke down (but - at last we were able to benefit from all those years of paying in to the RAC; two of us could go and get everyone an ice cream; it made us decide to buy a new car; it made us decide to sell the car and use public transport instead). Faith failed her driving test (but - she was able to have a bit more practice before driving alone so was a safer driver in the end; she didnt need her own car yet; so could save on petrol money; one less driver means a bit less pollution; she shared a lift with someone who became a friend). When you have tackled some hypothetical situations you might feel that the group is able to look at some actual problems of their own. Its best to stick to fairly light problems that will pass in time rather than examining deeper difficulties.

Both these beautifully illustrated books feature characters who have writing problems. Benjamin Writer-Messys handwriting is illegible and Jake Monkey-Tail cannot spell. Writing and spelling difficulties, perhaps even more than poor reading, can seriously affect confidence, self-esteem and motivation. Ms Desai, a speech and language therapist, aims to encourage children to identify with the characters in her stories. Both Benjamin and Jake, with the help of a little magic, win through to conquer their difficulties and gain praise and respect. Both books also touch on the need for hard work and practice. I am not sure whether the stories are intended for children with language impairment. Some of my own young clients (aged 7-9) enjoyed Benjamin Writer-Messy but I had to work hard to hold their attention. Jake Monkey-Tail proved too long and its language too advanced for this particular group. As the stories are concerned with writing and spelling, I consulted an occupational therapist and a teacher. We all felt that, as motivating tales, both stories could be valuable as a resource for pupils needing a multidisciplinary approach to literacy. They would be less useful in a community clinic. Zohra Jibb is a specialist speech and language therapist with NHS Lothian.