Conference summary 2024

Once again, the NAPLIC conference showed the power of getting people in a room together and sharing views, stories and information.

We started the day hearing the lived experience of Ioan Berry, a young man with DLD. Ioan highlighted how curriculum related visits whilst at school helped his learning. Together with strong creative interests outside of school this helped build him into the confident young man he is today. I expect we will be hearing more from Ioan in the future!

Ioan’s Mum Imogen Berry counted up the professionals who have supported her son from Early Years to post-university and it came to the astonishing figure of 42. And even though most professionals were supportive Imogen reported that the only time she could truly relax was when Ioan was at a specialist Language Provision for 3 years as she knew his needs were being met and he was being well supported.

And in a first for NAPLIC, we heard from a sibling of a person with DLD. And Jotham Berry is one great big brother. He has been a protective and guiding presence for Ioan, and interpreted for, advocated for and protected him. This support has extended right through from childhood to dissertation level. Jotham’s research was about the work experiences of people with DLD, so his dedication is profound.

Following the Berry family was the trailblazing Speech and Language Therapist, Rachel Sievers. Rachel has been working with adults with DLD for many years now. Rachel outlined the lack of services and awareness but importantly the impact that diagnosis can have on adults with DLD, including on mental health, social inclusion and self advocacy. And whilst progress has been made, the issues that Rachel outlined in 2005 are still the same issues in 2024. We need to do much more for adults with DLD.

Simone Ojei is a Speech and Language Therapist and lecturer at UCL. Simone outlined the impact of language on social, emotional mental health with a particular focus on those in the youth justice system. In three case studies Simone addressed the complexity, barriers and missing information that are common in this context. Simone advocated for a partnership approach as the most effective method of working.

Henrietta McLachlan and Heather Price from Elklan presented their research into Information Carrying Words (ICW) that came from the Derbyshire Language Scheme. This technique is widely used, but under-researched, and so much needed. The intervention was delivered via trained TAs and proved to have a significant impact. Heather and Henrietta also presented the Higher Level Communication Practitioner which is new scheme being developed, and will have multiple providers.

Vanessa Llyod-Esenkaya addressed the topic of friendships for children with DLD. Whilst professionals may focus on the classroom, children are most interested in friendships, but this is often the area that is neglected. Vanessa advocated for foscussing on ‘activity’ and ‘participation’ as opposed to ‘impairment. She also made a strong case for working with children and young people when conducting research.

Our final presenter was Professor Helen Stringer, talking about the 10 year ‘Northumbria Healthcare and Newcastle  University Universal, Targeted and Specialist (NNUTS) Framework.’ A key component of the approach was working with schools to ensure that support for SLCN becomes embedded across the schools. This allows for much more efficient working long term as staff have higher levels of skills and schools can offer far greater support. We look forward to hearing more when papers are published and resources become available.

Across the day lived experiences, practitioner and academic perspectives all added to an advancement in understanding. Conference delegates were left feeling inspired!

Thank you all who contributed and attended.

Videos of the event will be made available for all attendees shortly. Recordings will also be available via naplic.org.uk/conferences.

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NAPLIC 2024 Conference booking now open

The NAPLIC 2024 Conference will be held in Birmingham on Saturday April 27th 2024. We will keep you updated with the details as they are finalised.

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