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. 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 my youngest passed his car mechanic's apprenticeship and is now working in a local garage . I am so incredibly proud of them. 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!