Originally published on Jan. 14, 2020.


You may notice that all the blogs I am writing this month are loosely arranged around a theme of "do your best, don't beat yourself up". This is because this pretty much summarises how I encourage families to think about their child's Speech Therapy. I truly believe that beating yourself up is a waste of your precious emotional bandwidth, and it's not the best way to get things done.

I also think this is a good theme for January, the time of year when you are supposed to be most motivated and coincidentally - a cosmic joke - the time of year you most fancy staying in your pyjamas in the house.

Obviously, I think Speech Therapy is important. In fact it can be a transformative force in a child's life. But the fact is, especially when you have a child with complex medical, developmental or learning needs, it can be just another thing on your list.

So I hope this blog brings you good news when I tell you that there are many children that I work with where I advise families to focus on their Physiotherapy if they want to support a child's feeding and communication.

Oral skills for feeding and for talking are fine motor skills, growing out of the underpinning gross motor skills such as head control and trunk control. In addition, movement is an important foundation for:

  • Motivation (if you can move, you can explore, which gives you lots to talk about)
  • Body awareness - the use of your body sensations to understand where your body is in space. An important underpinning skill for our sensory learners, for children with feeding aversions and for many children with Autism diagnoses.

We need the best skills in the body that we can if we want to support children's communication. So next time you are carrying out your child's Physiotherapy, you might just have their communication work covered too. And next time you see your Physiotherapist, ask them if you can see them with your Speech Therapist, so they can enhance each other's work.

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If you would like support and information about your child's communication and feeding, I would love to see you in my Facebook group for Families

In March we will be having a Physiotherapist come into the group to talk about the impact of low muscle tone (hypotonia) on children's learning