New THRASS chart with Cued Speech
(Teaching Handwritting Reading And Spelling Skills)
This year saw the development and completion of an official Cued Speech THRASS chart! The new chart is fully adapted to show the Cued Speech system skilfully integrated into the colourful THRASS maps to perfectly support the development of literacy skills for deaf children and other visual learners. THRASS is an excellent Synthetic Phonics resource used in many schools both here in the UK and abroad.
The charts are already in use with deaf children at ERADE (Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Eductaion) to enable them to have a clear mental 'picture' of how written English works; it enables them to 'crack the code'. The two maps clearly show that there are forty four speech sounds and each one can be written down with a range of spelling choices (from one letter like 'a' in ball to four letters like 'ough' in thought) and that the same letters can make many different sounds (the letter 'e' for example can be used to represent twenty sounds in spoken English.) Spelling tests have become much more fun for the students when they are done the THRASS way!
Our deepest thanks go to Alan Davies and his team for the hours of work that went into creating this resource and his on-going and generous support of our work in deaf education.
Charts are available directly from www.thrass.co.uk
Cueing weekend booking deadline this Friday, June 27th 2014
Only 3 family rooms left, all on-site camping pitches taken. Single rooms for professionals are still available.
Friday 1st August - Sunday 3rd August.
- formal tuition in Cued Speech for parents, family members and professionals
- plenty of practise time in Cued Speech
- activities for the children run by the Slapton Ley Centre
- a full creche using a professional company.
Cued Speech and BSL users will support the children's activities and the younger ones in the creche.
Click here for more information and follow the link for the booking form.
The Children and Families Act - Success for our campaigning!
Since 2011, when the green paper ‘Support and aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability’ was published, we have been working to try to ensure that the ‘once in a generation’ changes contained within the new Children and Families Act were suitable for deaf children in general and CS-using deaf children in particular.
The details and practicalities of support for Special Educational Needs (SEN) children are spelt out in the Code of Practice (CoP) which accompanies the Act. The ‘public face’ of the CoP is the Local Offer where the Local Authority (LA) sets out what they will offer to SEN children.
The CoP has been a long time in preparation. Our Director, Anne Worsfold was a member of the Communication Trust ‘task group’ on the legislation; through the Trust we were able to meet Department of Education officials and contribute to an ‘indicative draft’ last summer, and two further drafts, the last just before Easter. We also contributed to the Trust’s responses and communicated with other organisations such as the National Sensory Impairment Partnership about our concerns.
The CoP drafts had one huge omission for children with deafness or early identified communication problems – there was inadequate support for babies and their parents – and recently this has been our main focus. The Communication Trust took up this issue as one of their main concerns; they added the weight of their 50+ members when they responded and obtained direct access to government officials to put the point face-to-face.
This partnership work has paid off! Not only have we seen on-going improvements but with the publication of the CoP early this month we were thrilled to see an entirely new paragraph in the section ‘From birth to two – early identification’ which says that parents of some SEN children (including deaf children) must receive support including:
training for parents in using early learning programmes to promote play, communication and language development (para 5.16).
This important right to very early support has the potential to transform the outcomes for deaf children.
Our secondary aim was that the CoP would require the LAs to set out in the Local Offer how they would meet their obligations under the Equality Act to make both language and education fully accessible to deaf children. We did not win this battle but might yet win the war because 1.) the CoP as a whole requires LAs to abide by the requirements of the Equality Act. 2.) the National Sensory Impairment Partnership have been tasked by the government to develop guidance to support the Local Offer; Anne was part of the advisory group and the guidance includes mention of CS where appropriate and advice that service providers must meet their obligations under the Equality Act. 3.) when the LAs prepare the Local Offer they must request input from children, young people and parents and those providing services; and any one of these groups can request information about how LAs will meet their obligations under the Equality Act to make both language and education fully accessible.
If parents have the opportunity to work with their LA to build the Local Offer this will help ensure that it is suitable for deaf children. If you need help or information do get in touch with Anne.