Posts Tagged ‘Occupational therapy’

Talk Shop Conference 2013

An image of two purple speech bubbles, one with "talk" the other with "shop" written in white.

Talk Shop 2013 takes place 21st of June at the Daventry Court Hotel.

Friday 21st of June, 2013, will see Trabasack once again attending the annual Talk Shop – the national Speech & Language and Occupational therapy conference.

trabasack lap tray with microphone

Trabasack can be used to mount a microphone to encourage speech

The Talk Shop fair is a one day conference that brings together Speech and Language and Occupational Therapists from around the country to discuss ideas, ignite creativity in the field and keep up-to-date with available resources.

Talk Shop is the ideal location for therapists to meet up with others in the field, and gives them an opportunity to discuss their teaching and therapy methods, share stories and learn how others help their patients get the most from therapy.

By providing a forum for those in the SLT and OT profession, Talk Shop can help keep the field of communication therapy fresh and creative. As each patient in need of communication therapy will have their strengths and weaknesses, many therapist will have unique stories to tell, and having a chance to chat and share experiences can help provide new approaches for speech and language therapy.

TalkShop Workshops 2013

This year Talk Shop will be providing 4 unique and in-depth workshops for parents, carers, SLTs and OTs to take part in.

Apps for use in Therapy

With the fast changing technology that is now available for use in communication therapy, Talk Shop have chosen to present a workshop dedicated to iPads and apps as communication and sensory aids. This workshop will be hosted by Richard Hirstwood, well known for his passionate and experienced approach to multi sensory therapy. He will be talking about how to use iPads for children and adults with additional needs, to engage, motivate and to help connect with those who have communication issues. He will also share ideas for creating multi-sensory experiences for children using toys and environments, as well as touch-screen technology. For a sneak-peak of Richard’s work, you can visit his website

Auditory Processing – ‘The Importance of a Full Sensory Assessment’

The next workshop on offer is Auditory Processing – The importance of a Full Sensory Assessment. Alan Heath, head of the workshop, has taken part in a number of Talk Shop events over the years, and is back again to discuss how the complex mix of all 5 senses allows a child or adult with additional needs to understand the world around them. He will talk about how issues with processing one of the senses can impact upon the processing of the other four, and in turn general daily functioning. For more information on Alan’s work, visit his website

An Introduction to TalkTools Oral Placement Therapy for Feeding and Speech

Next up is the introduction to TalkTools Oral Placement Therapy workshop. TalkTools products and systems were developed in the USA and are specifically targeted at helping therapist aid patients with speech and feeding issues. The workshop includes information on motor and sensory issues that can affect speech and feeding, and therapy techniques that utilise oralsensory/ motor tools. Helen Woodrow is heading the workshop, and is an accredited level 4 TalkTools Therapist, making her the most experienced TalkTools therapist in Europe. You can find out more about Helen and her TalkTools experience by visiting her website

We have been using TalkTools with our son who has Dravet Syndrome. They have really helped him with his eating and drinking and we shall continue to tell other parents about them.

‘How do you SLOT in? Joint SLT and OT working’

The final workshop available on the day is an in-depth look at what TalkShop is all about. The workshop is headed by Hayley and Jess – Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapists respectively, they are highly experienced in their fields. Hayley and Jess are currently combining their skills and experience to create a new independent therapy practise called “We Do Therapy”. They will provide an interactive presentation covering how they met and came to work together, why setting up “We Do Therapy” was important to them, and plenty of hints and tips on how to work collaboratively on projects to achieve desired goals. For more information follow Hayley and Jess on twitter : @WeDoTherapy

Exhibitors and Learning Zones at TalkShop 2013

As well as a fantastic range of workshops for SLT and OT professionals, the TalkShop conference also includes a large selection of exhibitors each showcasing their products and communication aids. It is here that Trabasack will be demonstrating their multi-use lap tray bag and media mount, providing helpful ideas on how to get the most out of your Trabasack in relation to communication and sensory aids.

Media Mount holding a communication switch and a 'hello' symbol

Trabasack being used for symbols and switches

The Learning Zones offer different environments for experimenting with and seeing various equipment and technology in action. This year sees four zones on offer – Tech Zone, featuring the latest in assistive, speech and interactive technologies. Then the Sensory Zone provides an area dedicated to providing the latest in engaging sensory equipment and experiences. The Classroom Zone is a ‘mock’ classroom which will showcase the most inclusive and innovative furniture and school equipment on the market. Lastly the Design Zone will allow you to see ideas that are still in development, get involved with prototypes and take part in discussion on how to develop innovative therapy tools.

Finally, there will be a “Day in the Life” presentation where companies and experts examine the daily equipment needs of children with additional needs, including everything from waking, hoisting, feeding, travelling and bathing. This presentation will demonstrate some of the products on offer from many of the exhibitors and will help provide you with ideas on new equipment that may help your own child.

Image of someone with a Talk Shop tote bag on their shoulder, browsing items for sale on a table.

Each attendee will receive a Talk Shop bag filled with resources and ideas.

TalkShop Venue and Ticket Bookings

TalkShop 2013 will take place on Friday, 21st of June at the Daventry Court Hotel, Northamptonshire. Doors open at 9:15am and the work shop and exhibits are available throughout the day until closing at 4:45pm. There is a large car park available for attendees and tickets are available for £55 per person. To book a place at TalkShop 2013 simple fill in the online form here or contact Louise Scrivener via phone 07881 523804 or email


The video below is a little taste of the kind of information Alan Heath will provide during his sensory and iPad app workshop:

Communication Aids for the Elderly

Communication Aids for Older People

As we age many of us succumb to conditions and the natural effects of ageing which means communication and the use of other faculties becomes difficult. From macular degeneration to dementia, many conditions can affect communication and finding communication aids and devices for the elderly is a sensible move when looking to ensure quality of life is maintained. Obviously depending on the particular issues faced by the individual elderly person in question the requirements from a communication device will differ. The communication devices that we look are particularly valuable to the older people and can make a huge different to daily life.

Due to conditions such as dementia causing a decline in cognitive abilities, modern technologies are usually avoided when considering communication aids for the elderly. There is nothing to say that some people may be capable of communicating via an electronic AAC device in most instances introducing this new technology would just provide more confusion, hence the devices mentioned below being quite simplistic in comparison to many on the market.


Menu Board Communication Device

A simple, communicative menuboard

Simple and straightforward, Menuboard allows an elderly person who may have become non-verbal or has non-verbal periods to put across what they want to eat. Obviously eating is a basic human right and choosing your own meals is something integral to remaining independent. Alternatively, this board can be used in a care home environment to signify to groups of elderly people what’s arranged for meal times.


Aquapaint has been developed specifically for those living with dementia and is designed to promote conversation and communication through art therapy. Not only do they promote communication, water-based aqua paints are able to provide endless stimulation and the finished product can instil a sense of pride in individuals who are struggling to deal with the rapid onset of the disease.

We’d also suggest users trying out Aquapaints could consider a Trabasack lap tray as the perfect painting surface, especially when topped with a Trabasack non-slip mat, keeping the surface of the lap tray perfectly clean thanks to the non-slip mat’s protective covering. The Trabasack sits comfortably on your lap without exerting pressure and provides the perfect portable table.

This video shows Aquapaint in action:

Talking Mats

Talking Mats Communication Device

Talking Mats Low-Tech Communication Aid

Talking Mats are a further low-tech communication device, simply comprising pictures, words and the requirement of the individual to point out or nod towards their specific request or requirement. They can help with the expression of feelings as well as giving directions and are extremely simple, providing an anxiety-free communication method without the need to worry about modern technology.

These are just thee communication devices which could benefit the older people. There are many more on the market which may suit individuals and of course, each person has their own personal requirements, strengths and weaknesses  so may suit a different type of device altogether.

Communication Aids: Communication Cards

Communication Aids: Communication Cards

If you have problems with verbal communication, perhaps due to learning difficulties, deafness, cerebral palsy, or stroke, you may already have normal communication aids or methods. But what if the person you’re trying to communicate with doesn’t understand BSL or Makaton, or your Lightwriter‘s batteries are flat? Or you may just have communication problems occasionally, perhaps due to fatigue, or if there’s too much noise.


Communication Cards, from Stickman Communications, are the answer. These sturdy laminated communication aids cover most situations in a non-clinical, light-hearted (but never offensive) way. In the bank, the post office, shops, and a multitude of other situations, Communication Cards will be invaluable.

You start by ordering a Starter Pack, which has a “Thank You” card on a keyring style holder. Then you add whatever other cards are going to be helpful for you. Your selection will come as a set on the keyring.

There is a wide selection of Communication Cards available, including one for writing your own message and one for your personal data. Some are specific to certain conditions – for instance one has a brief description of Hypermobility Syndrome – but most of them could be used by any of us.


Each card is 11cm by 7.8cm, and your set will come with stickers to put on the cards, so you can easily find the one you need. They can slip into a bag or handbag, or even into your pocket, or clip onto a wheelchair using a carabiner clip.

Communication Cards have only been available for a short time, but as this tweet shows, their popularity is growing fast by word of mouth.

@ Do you know @ she makes amazing communication cards you can flash at ppl if you need? Do you live with anyone?
Imogen May

New Communication Card designs are coming out all the time, so keep an eye on the website to see what’s new!  These innovative and attractive communication aids are great fun, and can be a lifesaver in an emergency. A highly recommended product.

Cartoonist artist and communication card designer Hannah Ensor signs a book at a book signing event.

Communication card graphic artist Hannah Ensor at a recent book signing event

Visit for the full range of products or follow @stickmancrips to keep up with all Hannah’s news.

Trabasack at Talk Shop 2011

Trabasack at Talk Shop 2011

This Friday, September 30th, Trabasack will be at Talk Shop’s National Speech & Language and Occupational Therapy fair. 2011 is the national year of communication which aims to help highlight the importance of communication, speech and language. We are very pleased to be part of an event embracing this.


Talk Shop communtication fair

The Communication Champion, Jean Gross will be speaking at the event and we are very much looking to hear about her work as a champion of the needs of children with communication difficulties.

This one-day event will the be attended by Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists and their assistants and students . There will be a trade area where we will have a stand alongside some of our old friends such as Guy from Disabled Gear. There will also be a resource sharing area, workshops and discussion groups running throughout the day.


The event is being held between 9am and 4.30pm in Derby’s Yew Lodge Best Western Hotel in Kegworth, East Midlands. So it is a venue very near to us. The conference facilities will give the professionals in both speech and language and occupational therapy a chance to communicate, share ideas, products and developments.
As one of the many exhibitors at the event, Trabasack we will be taking the opportunity to demonstrate trabasack and its uses to the many professional attendees. We are hoping that they in turn will be able to pass on information about the quality of our product and its uses as a communication aid mount or for speech therapy tools and educational toys.
As well as the other exhibitors showing off their products and services, a number of workshops are available. From Working Effectively in an Inclusive Classroom for professionals who work in an mainstream educational capacity to Sound Foundations – The Power of Music & Sound, the range of workshops is really diverse and bound to interest a range of different delegates.

If you do decide to attend please say hello, we will be the ones making notes on at the workshops on a Trabasack!


While doing some research for the conference I found this very interesting new video for the Hello campaign:

Earlier this year, Wendy Lee, Professional Director at The Communication Trust, interviewed 7 children with speech, language and communication needs about their life, their experiences at school and what it’s like to have a communication difficulty.  The Way We Talk is a new film from the Hello campaign showing how speech, language and communication needs can appear in some children through the words of Oliver (aged 8), Attiyyah (15), Luke (4), Jamie (15), Barnaby (6), Aiden (7) and Alex (6).

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Trabasack is available from these Communication Aid companies (to add your company to the list, please email duncan{at}