Happy Talk

In the early days as a speech and language therapist, I had a deep desire to work creatively with children but became disillusioned with systems and methods of working that failed to address the child’s underlying emotions.  I was acutely aware that in the past, my own experiences had coloured  my perception of what was really going on  and this had caused me to make judgements which had interfered with the child’s ability to progress.  Professional assessment whilst providing a diagnosis indicates a list of assumptions about what the child is or is not capable of and limits and veils our perception of the child’s potential.

Having tried and tested numerous working methods, whilst working with children struggling in the school system, I eventually came to the conclusion that focusing on a child’s impairment and endeavouring to teach them to do what they find most difficult is a debilitating exercise for both child and teacher.  I was inspired with the dawning realisation that children are able to heal themselves surprisingly quickly when offered positive creative choices.  These choices should be based on what the child enjoys doing within a structured framework of familiarity, routine and clear boundaries.  This approach caused me to shift my focus from the left brain, the seat of impairment, to the creative intuitive aspects of the right brain.

In my later work as a Holistic Voice Consultant and  toning therapist, I became convinced  that a child’s enjoyment of a creative task causes positive light energy to flow into those areas of the brain that are impaired, just as sunshine and water droplets stimulate plant growth through the process of photosynthesis.

Children benefit from interacting with the elements of nature, earth, water plants, trees and all life forms.  This activity engages those parts of the central nervous system that are unimpaired.  There is now much evidence to show that plants, flowers and trees respond to our emotional state and harmonise our energy flow.  We feel better if we smell the roses.

Relationship to other people, to the land and to animals is how we become connected to each other and how we learn.  I have been lucky enough to visit central Australia more than once and  through the connections I made, I discovered that relationship was of paramount importance to Aboriginal society.  Exploration of the environment is encouraged and within the family groups, all generations learn together, sharing knowledge and socialising.  The children learn at their own level sharing resources, ideas, thoughts and feelings.  Through observation and interaction they learn to gauge each other’s emotions, behaviours and style.

Hyperactive children who reflect the anxiety of those around them are more likely to become calmer and settled in the presence of an adult who predictably responds to them with a calm voice and demeanour.

All too often we ‘shine a torch’ on a child’s difficulty in the hope that any new learning will be integrated into their daily life.  Instead we need to refocus their minds away from their own difficulty and involve them in an enjoyable creative experience of their choosing.  This will relax them, restore their confidence and begin to melt away self-doubt.  A relaxed child will learn more easily.  The positive energy of enjoyment will change the child’s perception of their own difficulty which will be diminished as a result.

It is my hope that my passion and love of this work will inspire you too.  In my manual  Happy Talk  I have provided some suggestions to help you follow your own intuition in working creatively with the children you meet.