Having worked in the field of autism and early intervention for over 20 years, I am very aware of the magnitude of information that exists around therapy approaches. Over these past two decades, I have spent time undertaking training and certification in a wide range of models. This training has incorporated both the developmental (a Montessori teaching diploma, a PGCE in Early Years, DIR Floortime, drama and play therapy) alongside the behavioural (ABA, VB, PBS) and the mixed (ESDM, PRT). I am also a researcher, completing my MA in Autism and Education in 2006 and my Doctorate in Education in 2017. I have continued to have a keen interest in following research trends in this field, in order to continue to ensure that my practice and that of my therapy teams is based on the most recent and up to date findings.
After using and advocating other researchers’ interventions for a very long time, I realised that the unique mix of training that I had undertaken enabled me to use a wide ranging ‘toolbox’ of strategies that I would always fit around child’s individual needs. There was not, and never will be, a one size all method for supporting children with developmental challenges. However, the way in which I (and the teams I train and supervise) work so effectively with each and every child we meet has become a well established method in its own right.
Over 98% of the children that we meet learn to talk with our support. 100% of the families that refer to our services first identify their child’s differences through their difficulties with speech. Speech and communication are the key part of a child’s development that can make such a positive, long term difference in their experience of the world around them. Language is powerful, but so is play. Play is the foundation of everything I do when I am supporting children to communicate and learn. Using play to teach children to talk has been so enormously successful in my own experience, and the experiences of my teams over the years, that is was simply time to start to formalise the fun!
Play2Talk has been developed so I can share this approach far and wide and support parents, family members and professionals to learn some simple, practical and enjoyable ways to help their child learn to engage and communicate. It is a model that is flexible enough to support each child’s individual strengths and differences, but with a strong focus on staying true to an already established and every growing evidence base. Whilst the approach is new, the foundations sit firmly within the NDBI paradigm and I hope that our ongoing research and evaluation of the Play2Talk model will make a valuable contribution to this field. I also hope that by disseminating this model through our online and face to face courses, many more families will be supported to help their child reach their fullest potential!
Dr Ruth Glynne-Owen