Chatterbox was set up by a group of parents who were all dissatisfied by the lack of speech therapy they received from the NHS, so took it upon themselves to form a Group where regular speech therapy could take place, in the school setting (so as not to disrupt the working day), with the support of the child’s Teaching Assistant.
Why is speech therapy so vital for our children?
Speech and language intervention is probably the most important focus for children with Downs Syndrome, both in terms of cognitive and social development.
We have found that in most cases, children of school age with Downs Syndrome, use spoken language as their main form of communication. This is often backed up by ‘Makaton’ (a form of key word signing), but by the time a child starts in Reception year, the aim is very much to focus on the development of speech, clear production of small sentences and articulation which in turn also supports the start of early reading techniques. Most children with Downs Syndrome have a much better understanding of the spoken word than production of sound.
Our Therapist works very closely with each member of our Group and gets to know what motivates and encourages them and what they find difficult. The Therapist works with the TA to set objectives on grammar, comprehension and production as well as articulation, phonology and intelligibility (ie. pace, tone of voice etc). Oral-motor assistance is also reviewed (chewing, biting, feeding, drinking) as this directly links to speech and is something which is closely monitored in the early years.
We are grateful for the lovely Therapist we use presently. Our children look forward to her weekly visit and she makes the sessions fun, lively and engaging.
The East Berkshire Downs Syndrome Support Group (EBDSSG)
Although Chatterbox is an independently run, voluntary group, everyone at Chatterbox is also a member of a local support group for families caring for some with Downs Syndrome called The East Berkshire Downs Syndrome support Group (EBDSSG).
This Group provides invaluable support for parents who have just been given a Downs Syndrome diagnosis in pregnancy, those who find out their baby has Downs Syndrome at birth and then offers ongoing support, advice and friendship throughout their lives, into adulthood.
The EBDSSG is a well established charity that currently supports 68 families in the local area. They are affiliated to the Downs Syndrome Association (charity #1147303).
For further info on EBDSSG, please take a look at their website – ebdssg
Chatterbox has inspired a local Artist to donate an original piece of art.
Local Artist, Simon Ward decided he wanted to support Chatterbox through his connection with one of our members. He very kindly raffled off one of his stunning pieces and by doing so raised a grand sum of £420 for our Group
You can see more of his work by visiting his Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Artwork2order/
Thanks Simon from all at Chatterbox!
This is the ‘before’ photo of the Chatterbox Swimarathon Team 2016.
We gathered at the poolside on Saturday morning and swam continuously for 1 hour and managed to complete 55 laps!! We had a truly mixed Team, all abilities and ages and each did our bit.
The Maidenhead Lions Club raised a huge £20,500 with this figure expected to increase once money starts being paid in and gift aid is applied.
Our Team raised a whopping £700!!!!!!
Well done to everyone who swam on Saturday. A big thank you to those who came along and cheered us on and an even bigger thank you to everyone who sponsored us. We really are very grateful.
Saturday 9 January 2016 sees Chatterbox once again taking part in the local Swimarathon, run by the Lions Club. We had our first experience of the Swimarathon last year and LOVED it so much we are back again for more. Last year we raised just over £1,000 (and were also awarded a special prize from the Lions) and would like to aim to get close to this again this year.
We have a sterling swim team once again, with swimmers of all ages and abilities, all swimming to raise funds for Chatterbox.
If you are in the area and would like to come and cheer us on, we are swimming for 1 hour from 10am tomorrow morning at The Magnet Leisure Centre, Maidenhead. We would love to see you.
Go Team Chatterbox!!!!!
We would like to wish all our friends, families and supporters a healthy, happy and chatty year in 2016!