I have been a Speech and Language Support Assistant (SaLSA) since 2013. I can honestly say that it’s the best job I’ve ever had and I absolutely love it.
I have worked in primary schools since 2005, when my youngest son, then 4 years old, started in Reception. My first job was supporting a Year 1 child on a 1:1 basis. He had a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. I learnt to sign Makaton and to differentiate whole class planning to his compliment his abilities. My passion for working with additional needs pupils was born.
In 2012, I qualified and was registered to deliver S.L.C.N. (speech, language and communication needs) therapy to primary school children on behalf of the county of Hampshire. I am an Assistant Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Academically, I have passed a number of professional courses including Shape Coding, Cued Articulation, Makaton to Level 4, Attention Autism, and A.E.T.’s Good Autism Practice course.
This year (2023), my Continuing Professional Development has included attending the Gina Davies Autism Centre, Curiosity Program training. The Curiosity Programme is a strategy used to help teach individuals to develop the skill of curiosity, form positive relationships with others and to learn to engage with a wider range of stimuli. The Curiosity Programme is a strategy used to help teach individuals to develop the skill of curiosity, form positive relationships with others and to learn to engage with a wider range of stimuli.
I am very proud to be the S.a.L.S.A. for Freemantle Church of England Community Academy.
I have a very special reason for my love of communication, well 3 reasons actually!
Each of my 3 sons has a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (or A.S.C. as it is now diagnosed). They are all in their 20s now and each one has a job in their chosen field, their passion since they were little. My oldest is a senior tennis coach, in charge of arranging coaching for school's in Hampshire. My middle son graduated with a 2:1 in acting Bath University and now runs Fun Science workshops in schools and clubs. My youngest followed an apprenticeship path to become a car mechanic. More recently, he has qualified as an M.O.T. Inspector for our local garage! I am so incredibly proud of them all.
As with most Neuro-Diverse people, they have faced the associated difficulties at school and whilst growing up. Things like social communication challenges (making friends); echolalia (repeating other peoples words and phrases); anxiety and difficulty with the semantic pragmatic uses of language (categories, sentence structure and inferred meaning).
When they were little, as a family, we joined Hampshire Autism and benefited enormously from their experience and specialist days out. Things like cinema trips with the lights on and the volume down! I love the way that mind type can focus and create. Years later, I worked as a volunteer for Hampshire Autism at their Lego Therapy for teenagers group.
There are so many positives to having A.S.C. and I am so happy to say that it was my boys led me to my career!