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Accredited training in speech language and communication for school staff
ELKLAN has been set up by two experienced speech and language therapists, Liz Elks and Henrietta McLachlan to provide training and resources for all those seeking to support and understand children of all ages with a wide range of communication difficulties. We are pleased to offer these courses in Cambridgeshire.
Speech and Language Support in the Classroom.
ELKLAN has developed a highly successful accredited ten week course for teaching assistants called ‘Speech and language support in the classroom’. which is accredited through the Open College Network. The course has been written so that speech and language therapists can teach it in their locality under licence. Experienced specialist teachers support the therapist in delivering the courses.
Aims of the courses:
  • To provide practical ideas and strategies together with some theory for supporting children with a wide range of speech, language and communication needs in a mainstream school setting.
  • To improve communication between therapists, teachers and those working with children who have speech and language difficulties
More than 150 schools in Cambridgeshire have ELKLAN qualified staff who can:
  • Help to provide an enriched language environment in school
  • Help to organise and run language groups.
  • Deliver speech and language therapy programmes
A range of ELKLAN courses offered in Cambridgeshire are described in the links on the left.
Applications for all courses should be addressed to Cathy Rogers:
Further information about ELKLAN courses can be found on their website [www.elklan.co.uk].

Elklan: From 5 to 11 years : Speech and language support from 5 to 11 years.

How it works
The course usually runs over 10 x 2 hour teaching sessions and learners are asked to complete homework tasks each week. In order to gain accreditation it is necessary to complete a portfolio and this requires up to 4 hours per week of extra study. Learners who do not choose to do the accredited course are asked to complete 1 quick homework task each week. All learners receive a copy of the course book 'Language Builders'. There is also a website which supports the learning.
The core topics covered in this course are:
  • An introduction to the processes involved in normal communication and a range of speech and language difficulties.
  • Understanding the role of non verbal communication. An opportunity to become more aware of non verbal communication and how to use it to support children with communication difficulties. How children develop listening and attention skills will be taught and strategies given to promote independent learning.
  • Memory and mind mapping. A model of memory will be presented. You will be able to use draw mind maps to support the learning of children in the classroom. The development of linguistic concepts and appropriate strategies will be examined.
  • Working with children with limited understanding of language. The concept of ‘Information Carrying Words’ will be introduced and you will be able to develop a child's verbal comprehension through this technique.
  • Developing verbal reasoning skills. The Language of Learning Model will be explored and you should then be able to adapt your comments and questions according to the child’s level of understanding. Assessment of the child's level of functioning still needs to be carried out by a speech and language therapist.
  • Developing expressive language skills. Strategies to improve word finding will be shared. You will be encouraged to reflect on your use of 'modelling' to extend a child's language. Developing narrative skills, including linguistic sequencing will be explained and different story grids demonstrated.
  • Speech difficulties. Articulation and the development of speech will be explored. Different speech problems will be discussed and practical advice given as to how you can best manage children with speech difficulties in the classroom. This information can help you to implement speech and language therapy programmes more effectively.
  • Linking speech with language and literacy. The link between speech difficulties and literacy development will be considered and attention will be given to good practice in teaching phonological awareness.
  • Stammering and appropriate management issues will be discussed. Time will be given for questions on any related issues and you will be able to demonstrate how your practice has been changed as a result of the Elklan training.
Each course has an additional 2 day overview for SENCOs and Teachers which covers the course content at a faster rate. This is not accredited.

Elklan: from 11 to 16 years : Speech and language support for 11-16s

The core topics covered in the course are:
  • An introduction to the processes involved in communication. The processes involved in communication are identified. Then, a wide range of possible communication difficulties and the impact these can have on a student are discussed.
  • Memory and learning. There are opportunities to explore how the memory works and strategies to improve learning and memory retention. Listening and attention skills are also examined.
  • Learning styles and motivation. Different learning styles and appropriate individual support and considered and strategies to improve independent learning and organisation are explored.
  • Understanding words and sentences. There is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of non-verbal communication and the role this has in helping students to understand verbal information. Difficulties understanding linguistic concepts and issues concerning the complexities of following directions are explored.
  • Blank, or the Language of Learning model is introduced to develop students’ verbal reasoning skills including, inferencing, sequencing, predicting and problem solving.
  • Encouraging expressive language development. There are opportunities to develop strategies to facilitate the learning of new vocabulary and to share ideas to improve syntax (grammar) and narrative skills.
  • Promoting effective communication and social skills 1. Skills required for successful social communication are identified and strategies to promote these skills, including social skills groups are explored. The importance of emotional literacy is also discussed.
  • Promoting effective communication and social skills 2. Comic Strip Conversations are introduced to improve an understanding of social situations. Issues about ASD that are particularly pertinent to the secondary aged student are also explored.
  • Articulation, phonological awareness and spelling. Difficulties with articulation and strategies to support students with unclear speech are considered. The link between speech and spelling is discussed and the relevance of phonological awareness in educational settings for 11-16s is reviewed.
  • Linking it all together. In the last session, participants work in groups planning and presenting a poster which demonstrates the application of knowledge gained across the course during everyday activities and provides more opportunities to share ideas with other practioners.

Elklan: autistic spectrum : Supporting verbal children with autistic spectrum disorder

The core topics covered in the course are:
  • Session 1 What is autism?
    • Understand the triad of impairment as it relates to autism spectrum disorder.
    • To know the different types of difficulties falling under the general heading of autism spectrum disorder.
    • To understand how each area of the triad of impairment affects the child within their setting, educational and at home.
  • Session 2 Using structure with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    • Understand what is meant by visual and physical structure when working with children with ASD and why it is so important to use it.
    • Understand some of the barriers to using structure
    • To explore ways of adding physical structure to the setting in which participants work
    • To explore ways of adding visual structure to the setting in which participants work.
  • Session 3 Developing communication.
    • Be aware of the value of specific strategies aimed at improving understanding and to be able to use them meaningfully within the work setting with the child with an ASD.
    • Be aware of the value of social stories for children with ASD and be able to use them meaningfully within the everyday situations.
  • Session 4. Developing interaction.
    • Understand how a lack of theory of mind affects a child with an ASD.
    • To know how to use comic strip conversations as an effective tool to promote social interaction.
  • Session 5. Developing vocabulary and narrative skills.
    • To learn that children often behave in a certain way because it is one of their ways of communicating
    • To understand the sensory difficulties children with an ASD can have and to learn how these can contribute to behaviour difficulties

Elklan: complex needs : Communication support for children with complex needs

The core topics covered in the course are:
  • What is communication? This session describes the development of communication from pre-intentional communication to communicating through the use of words. There are opportunities to use this knowledge to recognise the stages that different children are achieving.
  • Pre-intentional communication. The nature of pre-intentional communication is examined and adult-child interaction, in functional communication settings, forms the focus for discussions about appropriate support for children at this level. Strategies to encourage children to respond to a wide range of interesting stimuli are also explored.
  • Anticipating the event. The following topics are discussed: identifying ‘responding’ and ‘anticipating’ type behaviours, the development of joint attention, appropriate adult-child interaction and play skills at this stage and the use of objects of reference.
  • Intentional communication and making choices. The session aims to discuss intentional communication and enable carers to offer diverse choice making opportunities within natural communication settings.
  • The link between play and language. This session provides a practical approach to understanding why and it is beneficial to promote symbolic play and how this can be achieved. The value of learning language through the natural context of play rather than through artificial and structured approaches is discussed.
  • Total communication. Issues involving total communication are raised. There is also an opportunity to explore communication passports and write part of a passport during the session.
  • First messages. This session includes discussing how to recognise different kinds of messages that children might be giving and how to increase the range and accuracy of these messages. The relationship between understanding language, using words, non –verbal communication and behaviour are also considered. Time is available to briefly explore issues involved in augmentative communication aids.
  • Linking it all together. There is an opportunity to work in a small group to share observations and a range of strategies to support children with complex needs. The aim is to link all the ideas explored during the course and apply the knowledge in a real, everyday situation.