Meet an Advisor - Speech and Language Advisor Nicola
Nicola Lathey is is one of the top Speech and Language Therapists in the UK. She is a prize-winning and best-selling author and founder and head of The Owl Centre, she is our speech and language advisor here on the community, we thought we would get to know her a little better and find out what warning signs should we look out for in our children’s speech and language.
Can you tell us what you do for a living?
How did you get into this?
I decided to train as a Speech and Language Therapist because I have a younger brother with Down's Syndrome, who needed Speech and Language Therapy support when he was young. I have direct personal experience of the effects which speech and language problems can have on children and on their families. I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 1999, graduating from University College London, and worked for the NHS and abroad from then until 2011 when I set up the first Owl Centre in Oxford.
What is the toughest thing about your job and the most rewarding?
Looking after families who are fanatic with worry about their children and then seeing them improve.
What do you wish people knew about speech therapy?
That there is so much more to speech and language development than talking. Communication begins from birth, crying, and even people at the end of their lives need help communicating.
Can you tell us a little about what parents or carers might look out for in the development of a child’s speech and language?
Children develop at different speeds, but there are a few things to look out for at different ages. If you are concerned then you should speak to a medical professional.
Possible issues to look out for:
By 6 months never reacts to noise.
Doesn´t smile back at someone who smiles at them.
By 9 months doesn´t turn towards a speaker when their name is called.
By 1 year, never tries to get your attention by pointing, making noise, reaching out or eye contact.
By 18 month, your child has not started to babble using lots of different sounds.
He is not saying his first words by 18 months.
Doesn´t respond to simple commands, i.e. "Where's your hat?".
By 2 years, doesn´t seem to understand the names of everyday familiar objects, i.e. "spoon", "cup", "teddy".
Has difficulty following simple instructions, i.e. "show me your hands".
Is not able to say recognisable words.
By 3 years, Chooses to point or show what they want rather than say it.
Doesn´t seem to understand what you said.
Says single words.
You cannot understand what they say.
By the age of 4, Often looks puzzled as if they don´t understand what you said.
Speech is very unclear.
The language they use is jumbled and difficult to understand.
They are aware of their non-fluency / stammering.
By the age of 5, not able to use the right words to express themselves.
Difficulty organising ideas and thoughts in the correct order.
Missing out some words. For example, saying "kicking ball" instead of "Daddy is playing with the ball".
By age 7, Find it hard to learn and understand the meanings of words.
Find it hard to understand language about things in the past or future.
Respond to just part of an instruction, usually the beginning or end.
Use short sentences, often with words missing or in the wrong order.
Is not learning at school, but nobody can explain why.
By the age of 11, They may struggle to join in group conversations. This is because there is too much language.
They may find it hard to make up stories. This will show in their written work as well as talking.
They may find it hard to learn and understand the meanings of words.
They may be struggling to learn at school.
They could find it hard to understand what it is they are supposed to be doing, even though they have been told.
For more information, head over to The Owl Therapy Centre website.
What do you enjoy the most about being a Community Advisor for the Scope community?
Helping Scope and their families with their speech therapy related questions has been such a rewarding experience for me. Keep the questions coming, I’m here to help.
If you have a question about speech or language therapy, then you can ask Nicola and take a look through her Speech and Language Advisor Category here.
Speech And Language Advisor
Phone: 01242 571883
Email: [email protected]pycentre.co.uk