We have been talking about the the many benefits of Elklan training for TAs but even I was pleasantly surprised this week: I run Smart Talkers pre-school communication groups, some of which are for a universal audience and some which are targeted for referred children with definite needs. They are commissioned by the Sure Start Children’s Centres and we work closely with the mainstream services such as social workers, health visitors, NHS SaLTs, Local support teams etc.
Following a recent change in the procurement procedure and a successful tender, we find ourselves with four times as many groups as previously. This is wonderful as it’s more opportunities to spread the word about good practice in communication and to work with children and families who really need our in-put. It is also a nightmare in terms of recruiting and training new staff.
I advertised for a speech and language therapy assistants but had lots of newly qualified SaLTs apply too. I deliberately didn’t look which were the NQP and which were the TAs before the interview as it's the ability to run the groups that I am interested in; being a SaLT isn't mandatory.
We work on the usual skills such as attention, listening, auditory memory, vocabulary, simple reasoning etc so part of the interview was a case discussion. On the final day, 2 people stood out from the rest. They understood the terms I was using, talked about levels of questioning, strategies to develop attention and came across as really confident. I almost didn’t even need to score the person specification, they were perfect! Were these SaLTs? No....... 2 Elklan trained TAs!!
We need to carry out some work to show the time saved by SaLTs when staff are Elklan trained. This is valuable and worth money as a result of the reduced time it takes. It’s also exactly the type of evidence that we need. If you’d like to take part in this please let me know. It would be great if we could have input from as many people as possible.