Growing Interest in Linda Miller’s 5P Approach brings new Training Courses to Central London

The 5P Approach, featured in Linda Miller’s book Practical Behaviour Management Solutions for Children and Teens with Autism, is gathering a rapidly growing number of devotees – so much so, that Linda is planning to extend the range of 5P introductory training courses. Here, Linda talks a bit about her 5P Approach and how it was developed.

The 5P Approach is a practical framework which can be used by professionals and parents who want a better understanding about the behaviour of children and young people with autistic spectrum disorders. In particular, it provides an easy to use guide on how to manage the process of behaviour change and how to prevent problems from arising in the first place.

I developed this approach over several years as a result of my work as a specialist educational psychologist working with autism in schools and with families, evolving into a complete framework which has now been successfully tried and tested with many children and young people with autistic spectrum disorders. The 5P Approach developed in the way it did precisely because it met the everyday needs of teachers, other professionals and parents in coping with difficult and often unpredictable behaviour.

As its popularity grew, it became clear to me that a more systematic way of introducing the Approach was needed – and I began to run training courses, based on my book and supplemented with the materials needed to put it into practice. Initially the courses were held in schools and other local authority venues, but with demand still growing I am now planning to hold introductory courses for the 5P Approach in a training venue in central London. The courses are suitable for parents, teachers, other professionals, and anyone involved in the management of children and teens with autism.

See below or visit  www.5papproach.co.uk for more detail about the courses.

Linda Miller is a chartered educational psychologist and chartered scientist with a specialism in autism and related disorders. Linda currently works as Operations Director for the UK-based Eagle House Group and, with more than 25 years’ experience in education, she has worked closely with schools and parents to provide consultation and assessment, advice on behaviour management and support to schools in developing policy and provision. Linda has played a key role in the development of Local Authority autism policy in the UK, and contributed to the national Autism Good Practice Guidance.


Autism and Behaviour Problems – the 5P Approach

Level One Introductory Course

Thursday 30th June 2011

Anyone facing the daily challenges presented by children and young people with autism will know the stress and frustration of coping with difficult and often unpredictable behaviour. Now there’s an opportunity to join a one day practical training course and workshop providing an introduction to the 5P Approach, featured in Linda Miller’s book Practical Behaviour Management Solutions for Children and Teens with Autism. The courses – suitable for parents, teachers and other professionals – are to be held in central London.

Course Fee: £155 per delegate (including photocopiable worksheets and lunch)

The Introductory Course will be held at: The Hubworking Centre, 5 Wormwood Street, London EC2M 1RQ (just 2 minutes from Liverpool Street Station)

Level Two Advanced Course

Tuesday 5th July 2011

Building on the one day Introductory Course, this one-day certified course looks in more detail at methods and materials used within the 5P Approach and also introduces the 5P Approach to Flexibility.

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants for this course must have first completed the One Day Level One Introductory Course.

Course Fee: £155 per delegate (including photocopiable worksheets and lunch)

The Advanced Course will be held at: The Hubworking Centre, 5 Wormwood Street, London EC2M 1RQ (just 2 minutes from Liverpool Street Station)

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Geoff Platt, PhD on Beating Dyspraxia with a Hop, Skip and a Jump

Geoff Platt, PhD, has worked as a lecturer in Sport Science for ten years, most recently working as a senior lecturer and course director in Sports Coaching Science and Sports Analysis and Coaching at Kingston University, London. He has lectured on Olympic Solidarity Courses on behalf of the International Olympic Committee and is the Director of Coaching for Weightlifting in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Geoff recently completed a PhD for which he carried out extensive research into strength exercises for children with dyspraxia. Here he discusses the study that formed the basis for his new book, Beating Dyspraxia with a Hop, Skip and a Jump.

A number of observers have identified that children with dyspraxia have weak muscles, particularly in their fingers, hands and wrists. Despite these observations, and the fact that strength has been identified as improving the symptoms of those with cerebral palsy, whilst dyspraxia has been referred to as minimal cerebral palsy, only four pieces of research into the effects of strength and strength training on dyspraxia appear to have been published.

Between 1989 and 2001, an Australian sports physiologist by the name of Annette Raynor researched strength as an issue for children with dyspraxia and published two papers on the results of her research. She showed that there was a correlation between children with dyspraxia and children with poor isometric leg strength and showed that this was linked to poor muscle activation and co-activation.

In 1997 two superintendent physiotherapists in London, Michelle Lee and Graham Smith, decided to review a number of interventions that were being used across London hospitals to assist children with dyspraxia (Lee and Smith 1998). Parents, identifying that their children were experiencing movement difficulties, were taking their children to see the family doctor who was referring the children to the local hospital. At the hospital the doctors, lacking any firm guidance, were referring the children to physiotherapists or occupational therapists for support. The occupational therapists identified tasks which were troubling the children and then set about practising them. The physiotherapists had attempted a wide range of interventions and this review was an attempt to identify what worked and what did not.

Lee and Smith found that the best results were achieved when each child’s movement skills were individually assessed and a professional judgment made about the likely causes so that an individualized strength training program could be designed.

This program was performed five times each week under parental guidance, and once under the guidance of the physiotherapist in order to provide support for the parent and child. In this way, Smith and Lee identified that they were able to achieve a 72% reduction in the symptoms of dyspraxia experienced by the children after only eight weeks. Unfortunately, the cost of the intensive employment of specialist paediatric physiotherapists over a period of almost six months was found to be prohibitive and this intervention appears to have almost completely lapsed.

These excellent results seem to have been overlooked in recent years, as doctors, psychologists, neurologists and others have explored the workings of the human brain to find the causes of dyspraxia and a suitable intervention. Strength training has always been seen as an activity for grown men, rather than for children with movement difficulties. Few scientists knew much about strength training and no further research was conducted.

I am an experienced weightlifting coach and a teacher in primary and secondary schools as well as colleges and university. For my PhD at the University of Edinburgh, I decided to seek a way to extend and replicate the results of Lee and Smith using only the resources available at a local primary school: PE teachers, sports coaches, the school field or school hall, a gymnasium bench or a tree log and a tennis or squash ball.

By approaching all the primary schools in the London Borough of Croydon in South London, I managed to secure access to over 800 children. These children represented a cross section of ability, 5% of whom has dyspraxia. I arranged to assess the children using the official test for dyspraxia, the Movement A.B.C. Test, and a variety of dynamic (isotonic) strength tests to identify whether strength (or rather a lack of it) was a factor in the incidence of dyspraxia. The results showed a strong correlation; the children with dyspraxia were the weakest in the class. I then put each child through a six week strength training programme based on running and jumping. The program was specifically designed to require almost no equipment and almost no instruction so that it could be replicated by parents or teachers without special preparation, and so that cost would not be an issue. At the end of the six week training program the children were re-tested using the same Movement A.B.C. test and the same strength tests to see whether they had developed their strength and whether any gains had been reflected in improvements in their movement skills, and again there was a strong correlation; the intervention improved the movement skills of those children with the worst movement skills.

Beating Dyspraxia with a Hop, Skip and a Jump is result of this study, the heart of which is a very simple exercise program, based on running, jumping and hopping, which can be safely undertaken by any child under the supervision of a teacher, sports coach or parent. It eliminates weakness, improves neural control of movement by improving muscle activation and ultimately reduces the symptoms of dyspraxia.

This book provides parents, sports coaches and teachers with a method to help children with dyspraxia to improve their movement skills. It will also encourage further research into an area that has provided positive results and to ensure that strength and muscle training are not overlooked for another ten years.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Rehabilitation Through the Arts at Sing Sing: An Interview with Brent Buell, contributor to ‘Performing New Lives’

Here, Jonathan Shailor interviews Brent Buell, one of the contributing authors to his book, Performing New Lives: Prison Theatre, which draws together some of the most original and innovative programs in contemporary prison theatre.

Brent is well-established New York City actor, writer, director, producer, filmmaker and social activist, and is the author of Chapter 3: Rehabilitation Through the Arts at Sing Sing: Drama in the Big House.

Jonathan: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you become involved in prison theatre? What has this experience meant to you?

Brent: A friend of mine was teaching GED (General Education Diploma) courses at Riker’s Island (a huge New York City prison) and his enthusiasm was infectious. I was hoping to find a way to use my acting and theater background in a prison setting. Then by chance I met Dr. Lorraine Moller and she told me about a prison theater program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility (located in New York State) called Rehabilitation Through the Arts. I met with the program director, Katherine Vockins, did my volunteer orientation, and the rest as they say is history.

Dancing pirates from Brent Buell’s "Breakin’ the Mummy’s Code". (L–R) Patrick Griffin, Za’id Ali, Patrick Gadson, Lisa Marie Byrne (RTA volunteer), Mosi Eagle, Tyrone Johnson, Joseph Thomas. Photo: Brent Buell.

I love theater. I think that it is one of the most powerful forces for social change that exists. For ten years I’ve witnessed how magnificently theater—just theater, no therapy, no sociodrama, no psychological agendas—can touch and renew the human spirit. It’s the greatest single gift my art has given me. I am sure that other approaches have their place, but for me the process of theater is all that is needed to touch and begin to transform anyone.

We all spend much of our lives building up defenses against an unfriendly world, an uncomprehending universe. That surely is true of the men I met and taught in prison. They were like me. They were tough guys hoping that someone somewhere could reach that almost-forgotten part of them, break it loose, set it free and let them feel human again. After all, to portray a character is to find that character’s heart—and in the process to find your own. To direct a play is to think what would bring the best out of an actor—and in the process to find the satisfaction of hoping for other people to be better through knowing you. To study a play is to find the arc, the direction, the meaning of a story—and in the process to see that your own life has an arc, and that the direction is in your own hands.

My hours in prison were the ultimate validation that I was right to choose theater for my profession.

Jonathan: Tell us about your chapter in Performing New Lives – what is it about, and why did you choose this focus?

Brent: Rehabilitation Through the Arts is the theater program that functions at Sing Sing and a number of other facilities (in addition to Sing Sing, I also worked with RTA at Woodbourne, Greenhaven, and Fishkill Correctional Facilities). Thanks to Warner Brothers movies, Sing Sing became known as “The Big House.” It’s the place about which the phrase “up the river” was coined. It has housed some of America’s most “famous” prisoners. It is the location of the infamous Death House where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and 612 other people were executed in the electric chair that was grimly nicknamed “Old Sparky.” So, to point to drama in that big house—drama of a wonderful, positive and life-changing kind—seemed the right choice of title.

My focus was personal. It was about my experience as a volunteer and how while watching theater change others, I myself was changed.

Jonathan: Can you tell us about your latest production, and how it relates to your commitment to the arts and activism?

Brent: Yes, I’m directing and co-producing “unFRAMED,” a one-man play written and performed by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo. It is about Iyaba’s journey from an idyllic childhood in Antigua to life as an outsider—an undocumented immigrant—in the United States. It is about love, race, family and politics—all told through a mixture of stories and Mr. Mandingo’s amazing poetry. It culminates with the true account of how, after 9/11, Iyaba was arrested and scheduled for deportation because of his political poetry—poetry which, I am proud to say, is in the show. In the course of the show he also paints a self-portrait!

My relation with the show is directly tied to my work in prison. It’s such a good story I’ll relate it quickly here. The first production I worked on inside Sing Sing was a stage adaptation of Richard Stratton’s film, “Slam”, about a young slam poet who is incarcerated in the Washington D.C. county jail. The producer brought in one of the nation’s top slam poets to teach the leading man (a prisoner) how to do true slamming. Well, that top poet was Iyaba Ibo Mandingo. The first thing he did was his poem “41 Times” about the murder of Amadou Diallo by the New York City police. I was moved to my center by the poem and doubly so because I was very involved in the protests of that murder. When we were leaving the prison that night Iyaba turned to me and said, “One day I’m going to write a play about my life, and you are going to direct it.” Nearly ten years later he called me and said, “Remember the play I told you about that night at Sing Sing? It’s ready. Come up to Harlem and see it.” I did, and our journey began.

We did an industry performance last June at Playwrights Horizons, and TONY Award-winning Broadway producer Jane Dubin was in the audience, loved the play, and has optioned it for a New York production. We are currently on an out-of-town tour and plan to be in Manhattan by the end of the year.

I see the purpose of this show as a parallel journey with my work inside prisons. Its message is so direct, so hopeful, and so in tune with life in America at this moment. It educates audiences on the currency of subjects that many of us would like to think are in the past. The very popular myth that we are in a “post-racial society” is one of them. We are including talkbacks and presentations for young people—and because of Iyaba’s extraordinary ability to speak to the issues that so concern them, I know that this show will stop some young people from having a life of incarceration. It’s that powerful.

Jonathan: Who do you hope will read the book and your chapter? What do you hope they will take away from it?

Brent: While I hope that Performing New Lives has wide circulation with people who have an interest in prison theater, I have even a larger hope that it will be read by people who have had nothing to do with corrections or incarceration. The misconceptions of who we have locked up in our nation’s prisons are mammoth. It’s so easy to think of men behind bars as “them,” and quickly assume that a violent, animalistic nature is pervasive. Our book will put the lie to that easy, corrupt notion.

The chapters in this book by my colleagues are the real story. People behind bars are just like us. Many have made terrible mistakes, done terrible things—but they are still human beings, struggling to maintain that humanity inside a system that is designed to erase one’s humanity. Because they exist in that atmosphere, because they endure strip searches, endless orders, deafening noise, lack of privacy, and numbing boredom—I have found that there is a level of self-questioning inside prisons that is unusually high. I am always pleased that as I’d come in and greet the men in the program that the first questions weren’t “How about them Mets?” or some other sports or small-talk subject. The questions were about life, about meaning, about thought. I remember one man who had taught himself to read while in prison. I saw him with a book one day and asked what he was reading. “This guy Hegel,” he said, “I’m studying him in relation to the development of religious ideas here and in Africa over the last two-hundred years.” What’s not to love about an answer like that?

Discovery. That’s what this book is about. The reader will discover himself or herself in a world that they have largely imagined through the lens of movies and TV as a zoo where daily life consists of murder plots. They will discover a world of people learning, growing and changing through the education that begins with theater.

Once a person finds that theatrical literature is a gateway to places and ideas that were never a part of growing-up life (most prisoners have never seen a live stage play), the desire to learn more is the inevitable follow-up. I watched men who had spurned education decide to enroll in a GED program, then matriculate to college, and then go on to get their Master’s degrees. Wow. That’s what’s in the pages of Performing New Lives. Step right up and buy this book!

While I’m on the subject of this book, I’d like to say something about my co-authors. You, Jonathan, enabled us to form an online community that gave us the chance to meet one another even though we were spread across the country. What a privilege! I so respect each of the contributors to this book because they are doing some of the most beautiful, life-changing work that anyone could undertake. And they are doing it without an agenda. That is what has affected me so much. They are doing it because they love the people they serve and know that lives can be turned around and made whole. The lack of ego and competitiveness has particularly impressed me, and I have come to love these artists—even though I have yet to meet most of them in person. Even via email you know when your life has come into contact with honest treasure. Thank you so much for being a means of this happening.

For more info about Brent and his upcoming projects, visit www.BrentBuell.com. To learn more about unFRAMED, visit www.unFRAMEDthePlay.com.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Breaking Bad Habits in Communication for the Helping Professions

By Maggie Kindred and Michael Kindred, authors of the new book 500 Tips for Communicating with the Public, which addresses the communication challenges that people in the helping professions face in the workplace, covering topics such as managing conflict, assertiveness, feelings, listening and boundaries. It also includes guidance on reflection, supervision, confidentiality and anti-discrimination.

We hope that the advice we provide in our new book, 500 Tips for Communicating with the Public, will help you to do your job more effectively – but it comes with a warning: some bad habits may have to be ditched!

How do people get into these bad habits? Life consists largely of ‘learned behaviour’. We learn everyday skills, like cooking, mainly by example. It is quite possible to get by doing all kinds of things which could be done better. Interestingly, many people decide to have lessons to supplement their cooking, recognizing that their level of competence is perhaps limited – but when when it comes to communication, it does not necessarily occur to us that we could do it better!

At the extreme end of the scale it is obvious that shouting at people, causes distress and does not get the desired result. But how many people do not realize that they are causing offence by:

  • standing too close to people?
  • writing letters and emails which SHOUT, because of the lettering and style they have used?
  • using nicknames and over-familiar modes of address?

Do we perhaps take for granted our ability to communicate effectively? How can we recognize our bad habits in communication and un-learn them?

Hopefully this is where our book comes in. Over the years experts in the helping professions gradually learned what helps and what does not in communication from their detailed observations and analysis of clients’ and patients’ reactions. This collective knowledge is generally thought to make up the tools of counselling and psychotherapy, but we believe that volunteers, carers, public servants and everyone in the helping professions can benefit enormously from learning adapted forms of counselling and communication skills.

This book contains advice for all who work with people on ‘the front line’. With its  jargon-free, practical advice, our book brings communication skill development within the reach of all, helping us to break the bad habits of a lifetime acquire some new, good ones!

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the many helpful tips in the book:

One-to-one communication is best in short bursts.
Take breaks when you or your client needs them. No session should be longer than an hour – even this is three times the 20-minute attention span commonly recommended by educationalists. (page 36)

Check whether your client prefers information in writing.
It’s preferable to provide information in writing to avoid it being forgotten or misinterpreted. (page 53)

Beware of communication running too smoothly.
Things rarely progress without conflict or negotiation…If there’s anger or disagreement under the surface, it needs to be brought up as it can sabotage your work. (page 117)

For 497 more great tips, read 500 Tips for Communicating with the Public!

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Rising Above Bullying: Powerful new book from Red Balloon shines light on 15 years of success in recovering bullied children

By Dr Carrie Herbert, founder and Chief Executive of the Red Balloon Learner Centre Group (pictured, left) and children’s author Rosemary Hayes – authors of Rising Above Bullying: From Despair to Recovery, published this month by JKP.

Rising Above Bullying is a book for all those who encounter bullying. For those who are being bullied and their families, for the perpetrators and their families and for teachers and other adults who are in a position of influence. And for the bystanders – those who ‘turn a blind eye’ thinking it is not their business. We all have a shared responsibility to ensure the safety of our children; adults must be proactive in putting a stop to bullying behaviour. This involves doing something if you believe a child is being subjected to unkind and unpleasant treatment.

The sections which deal with coping strategies and the advice to parents and teachers on how they can be proactive in preventing or dealing with bullying have been compiled after years of first hand experience in recovering severely bullied children at Red Balloon Learner Centres. It is our hope that this invaluable advice will be absorbed by adults and passed on to children who are experiencing bullying, helping them to begin to find a way through their misery, to deal with their tormentors and to regain their self-esteem.

The sheer scale of bullying is often not recognised; gang-bullying and cyber bullying, for example, are both relatively new – and they are escalating.

Rising Above Bullying also serves to make readers aware of the long term effects of bullying – and this is brought sharply into focus by the stories in the book recounted by young people (Red Balloon students and ex-students) who have suffered such traumatic bullying that they could no longer cope in mainstream education. Most of us think of bullying as a bit of unpleasant behaviour: a poke or pinch here or there, being called a few names, being ignored. What you will read about here is the traumatic, tortuous, systematic destruction of a young person’s self worth and self-belief.

In order to recount their experiences, these children have had to return to this trauma and relive their pain and fear. For some, the bullying happened a decade ago, for some it was only a few months ago. We are enormously grateful to them all and hope that their courage in contributing to Rising Above Bullying will show readers how destructive bullying can be. Their stories make uncomfortable reading but they are all based on personal experiences – though, for obvious reasons, all names have been changed – and illustrate just how widespread and diverse bullying is. The damage inflicted can be devastating so it is crucial that bullied children don’t suffer in silence. Overcoming their reluctance to admit to being bullied is the first hurdle. They need to be able to trust not only the person or organisation in whom they confide but also their school and their family to deal with the bullying and to keep on top of it. ‘Letting on’, ‘snitching’, ‘grassing’ can often make things worse if ongoing support from school and home is not forthcoming.

Not only have Red Balloon students contributed to this book but we have also had the help of staff at the centres in Cambridge, Norwich, Merseyside and North London who have given freely of their time, answered questions and set up interviews. They are in a unique position to provide comfort, counselling and one-to-one targeted education that begins where the child left off learning. They rebuild confidence and teach useful strategies to help students deal with bullying behaviour.

Dr Carrie Herbert is founder and Chief Executive of the Red Balloon Learner Centre Group, a qualified teacher and Educational Consultant.

Rosemary Hayes is a children’s writer, a reader for an authors’ advisory service and runs creative writing workshops for both children and adults.

The book’s Foreword was written by Esther Rantzen, CBE, journalist and broadcaster and patron of Red Balloon, amongst other various hospices and charities for children and disabled people.

For more about Red Balloon, visit www.redballoonlearner.co.uk.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

JKP author Jan Greenman attends the Ambitious About Autism charity launch at the House of Lords, UK

By Jan Greenman, author of Life at the Edge and Beyond: Living with ADHD and Asperger Syndrome.

Last year my son Luke spoke to author Nick Hornby’s Treehouse Charity staff, and they were so impressed with him that they asked him to become a Youth Patron for their new Ambitious About Autism charity – watch their video below to see Luke and I being interviewed.

They also asked Luke to speak at their launch at the House of Lords on 10th February. Lord Tim Clement-Jones introduced Luke, and the next speaker after Luke was the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.

The photo below is of Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, myself, John Bercow, Luke, Luke’s sister Abbi, Luke’s dad and our MP James Gray, who wrote the foreword to my book, Life at the Edge and Beyond.

In other exciting news, Luke is off to the Artic on 24th March as a mentor to four pupils from the school that turned his own life around, and just today he received an invitation to represent Ambitious About Autism as a guest of Her Majesty’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Our life is crazy and the challenges of autism are still with us, but we share our story to help inspire and encourage others never to give up. Our children are exceptional!

Jan Greenman
March 2011

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Street-Based or Detached Youth Work: What it looks like, and why it matters

By Vanessa Rogers, youth worker and author of 101 Things to Do on the Street: Games and Resources for Detached, Outreach and Street-Based Youth Work.

A uniform definition for ‘detached youth work’ is a topic that has been the subject of hot debate over the years. The term ‘detached work’, reported to have first been heard in the UK from the USA in 1955, has come to mean a whole range of interventions outside of a building. When people talk about street-based work they can be describing very different things ranging from ‘quick fix’, one-off sports sessions to targeted crime prevention to longer-term community projects. As well as more traditional street projects, lots of agencies including health and police, community support services, street pastors and social care agencies claim to be using detached youth work to target ‘hard to reach groups’ with great success.

For me, at its simplest, detached youth work is all about engaging young people where they choose to meet – be it a village green, retail-park or urban housing estate – and working with them to an agreed outcome. It is about empowering, politicising and supporting young people within their community, and definitely should not be used as a tool for social control or trying to get ‘kids off the streets’. Detached youth workers literally enter the ‘space’ occupied by young people, and the dynamics are different to other youth work interventions. The key to success is in the positive relationships built and this requires time, commitment and really good negotiation skills.

All detached work should be planned in consultation with young people to ensure that it really meets their needs. As such it needs to be paced to match the young people’s engagement and interest in the project, and focussed on the issues that they wish to explore, rather than set up to meet another agenda. If the young people are not interested they will vote with their feet, literally.

Often presented as a modern solution to anti-social behaviour, today’s detached youth workers are actually following in the footsteps of a rich history of creative and effective street-based work. It is certainly worth looking at the work of some of the early pioneers such as T.H. Tarlton (1844) and Maude Stanley (1890), and reflecting on how much the concerns about young people (e.g. teenage pregnancy, alcohol consumption, youth unemployment and fighting) have changed over the last 175 years – or not!

So what is the difference between ‘detached’ and ‘outreach’ work? Well, although there are similarities I think that detached is very different to outreach work. Detached means working where the young people are, and outreach aims to engage with young people and then support them into centre or building-based provision. A description I often use is to imagine a new bar opening in town. If I am employed to hand out flyers to potential customers and encourage them to come to the bar for a drink then I am doing ‘outreach’ work. If I am employed to engage with a group of potential customers and support them in setting up a satellite bar on the street, then it is detached. Easy!

One of the things I like best about being a detached youth worker is the element of excitement; no two days are likely to be the same. Street workers need to be quick thinking and have a wealth of ideas to keep young people focussed and interested. The games, activities and ideas contained in 101 Things to Do on the Street have been put together to enable both new and experienced detached youth workers do just that. From team-building games and energisers to lift a dull evening, through to ideas for longer projects and issue-based sessions, all have been tried out with young people in a detached or outreach session so can be used with confidence.

I hope you enjoy using them as much as I have.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Helping Children to Develop ‘Communication Well-being’

By Deborah M. Plummer, is a registered speech and language therapist and imagework practitioner, and author of the new activities book Helping Children to Improve their Communication Skills.

My latest JKP book is firmly based on the premise that ‘how we are’ with children is of equal and sometimes greater importance than what we ‘do’ in terms of specific strategies and techniques. It is a principle that has informed my own clinical work as a speech and language therapist and I believe it to be a vital element of any therapeutic work. The games and activity ideas offered in the book are deliberately basic and easily adapted for use by therapists, students, teachers and parents. No complicated equipment is required – just a willingness to engage in exploring our own therapeutic imaginations and to continue to learn from the children with whom we work. As is often the way, my clients have taught me most about the realities of living with speech and/or language difficulties.

The publication of Helping Children to Improve their Communication Skills coincides with the 2011 National Year of Communication (run by The Communication Trust) – an initiative that is close to my heart. My area of specialism is in stammering, a potentially devastating speech difficulty which can have far-reaching consequences for the emotional well-being of children and adults alike. Sometimes referred to as a ‘hidden’ disability, stammering can develop over time, in different ways and for different reasons. It is estimated that in the UK around 450,000 adults and 109,000 children between the ages of 5-16 stammer.

The recent release of the film “The King’s Speech,” has once again brought stammering into public awareness with its sensitive portrayal of George VI’s struggle to control and cope with his dysfluency. Although the strategies used by speech therapist Lionel Logue may seem a little unconventional compared to current practices, the fundamental principles of a trusting therapeutic relationship and a tailored approach to suit the individual, continue to be important elements of effective therapy for all types of communication difficulty today.

In recent years I have been involved in the training of speech and language therapists at De Montfort University, alongside my main role as lecturer in counselling theory and practice and in the psychological aspects of health and illness. This dual lecturing role is no coincidence. My belief in the profound importance of working within a framework of social, emotional and mental well-being ties in with my enthusiasm for learning more about how our conscious thoughts and unconscious processes are connected with our emotions and behaviours. Ultimately this has led me to pursue a smorgasbord of post graduate training courses in psychology and counselling and to embark on a writing career. However, I know that my learning in this field will continue to be immensely influenced by the actual experiences and insights of children and adults who themselves live with the challenges of communication difficulties.

For more info about Deborah and her work, visit www.deborahplummer.co.uk.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Reminiscence and Life Story Work – The Importance of Remembering Our Life’s Journey

By Faith Gibson OBE is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and author of Reminiscence and Life Story Work: A Practice Guide, now in its fourth edition.

Who says it is only old people who reminisce? Remembering the past – called reminiscing – is now recognised as an invaluable process to be encouraged from early childhood onwards. It may be undertaken in small groups or with another person. It may be spontaneous or planned, solitary or shared with others. It involves recalling, reviewing, reconstructing and re-presenting, in various tangible or artistic ways, our life’s journey from the past to the present.

Memories give shape and value to who we are and where we have come from. Recall assists coping with present challenges and memories provide sign posts for assisting future coping. While reminiscence may be about the past, it occurs in the present. From infancy to old age, the recall of personal memories serves to establish identity, safeguard self esteem, assist communication, enhance relationships, and preserve and transmit personal, family and community history. By valuing memories people are helped to value themselves when developmental challenges, current circumstances, transitions, failing health and increasing age assail us.

This fourth edition of a popular handbook contains much new as well as updated material. It provides detailed practical guidance about how to undertake planned reminiscence and life story work with a wide variety of people while also being a useful guide to the steadily growing body of relevant research evidence about the effectiveness of various narrative and biographical approaches. Importantly, reminiscence and life story work are low risk, relatively low cost and widely acceptable; reminiscing with others in a small group or life story work with an individual benefits most people of different ages and varied circumstances. They can also be hugely enjoyable activities.

Facilitating reminiscence groups or life story work, regardless of the age of participants, requires skill, empathy and knowledge. A wide range of professionals employed in various statutory and independent organisations will find this book helpful. Health and social care staff, librarians, community artists, museum staff, teachers and oral historians should find it particularly relevant. Volunteers, families and friends will also find this book provides new ideas about ways of extending and deepening relationships and enriching the time spent in the company of people with diminishing abilities.

The nature and purposes of reminiscence are situated within a life course developmental perspective. The stages of work and the relevant responsibilities of reminiscence workers are identified while the importance of values and the necessity for training and support are stressed. Chapters focus on oral history in community development, reminiscence with ethnic minorities, inter-generational work, reminiscence with people with dementia, depression, sensory impairment, learning disabilities and those who are terminally ill or bereaved. Case examples, illustrations, application exercises, reading and recording forms are included.

This book is both practical and scholarly. It is relevant to practitioners, students, trainers and supervisors and is designed to encourage reflective practice and the development of practice skills.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

The Importance of Fostering the Creation of Imaginary Worlds

By Claire Golomb, Professor Emerita of the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, USA, and author of the new book The Creation of Imaginary Worlds: The Role of Art, Magic and Dreams in Child Development.

The urge to create imaginary or alternative worlds, to represent the world in drawing, make-believe play, dreams, and stories, is a remarkable human achievement which unfolds in the early childhood years, and represents the child’s deepest thoughts and feelings.

Unlike previous, by now outdated views of child art and pretense play – views that in the past emphasized the immaturity and conceptual deficiency of the child artist and his or her games of make-believe – my more recent studies and those of colleagues highlight the inventiveness and intelligence of the young child who creates, in the realm of child art, an original language, a wholly new vocabulary of forms, colors, and spatial composition that is both meaningful and aesthetically appealing.

In the realm of imaginative play, extensive series of studies have highlighted the importance of the preschooler’s *perspective-taking skills in make-believe play; the ease with which even the young child maintains a dual orientation toward pretense and reality; the ability to synchronize two parallel worlds, which is a mark of flexible thought processes and a form of abstract thinking that promotes perspective-taking, and which expands the mental and emotional horizons of the child.

The preschooler’s ability to create pretense scenarios is a cognitive achievement that is in advance of other mental domains as it fosters perspective-taking, creativity, initiative, and coming to know the developing self and its social world.

The ability to represent imaginary worlds in child art, pretense play, dreams and stories fulfills a vital function for the growing child’s emotional and cognitive development; it is an important source of the child’s creative engagement with his or her world and ought to be fostered by caring adults.

For over 40 years, Claire Golomb taught courses on child development to undergraduate and graduate students of psychology. Her research during those years focused on symbol formation in child art, make-believe play, story construction and the role of gender in those domains. She resides in Waban, Massachusetts, USA.

*Perspective-taking is the ability to take the view of another person into
account, to consider not only one's own view and desires but also the views
another person may have of the same event.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.