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Innovative website helps young people Sing and Say

This article is more than four years old.

A website launched by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is helping young children with craniofacial conditions to develop their language and communication skills.

Sing and Say was developed by the Oxford Craniofacial Unit Speech and Language Therapy team following a £75,000 award from the Health Foundation.

The website features songs, music, instructional videos and activity ideas that parents can use as part of a prescribed package of care.

Parents are invited to share these activities with their child following advice from a Speech and Language Therapist, which means they can continue to work on their child’s development between specialist appointments in hospital.

Sarah Kilcoyne, Principal Specialist Speech and Language Therapist in the Oxford Craniofacial Unit, said: "Research has shown that early intervention is vital for speech and language development.  We often saw that children would have an operation for their craniofacial condition, undergo an initial speech therapy assessment here in the hospital, and then return home where they could face long waits for local speech and language therapy services."

"By developing the Sing and Say website, we've given families the resources to work on their child's speech and language development at home, and help their child grow at their own unique rate and pace. Things like songs and music are incredibly useful - music is understood by people all over the world, has a universal appeal, and many children can move and show enjoyment of music long before they can speak."

"It's a fun way for parents to join in with their children, too - some parents might struggle at times to know what to say to a child who isn't yet talking back, or has limited communication ability. It's lovely to have something enjoyable for parents to do with their child that isn't just talking about food or what to eat that day!"

The team has filmed a video called 'Shooting Star', a song written by Trust music therapist Andy Stevens and featuring children with craniosynostosis. Craniosynostosis is a rare condition where a baby's skull doesn't grow properly and their head becomes an unusual shape. The song celebrates what makes children with craniosynostosis unique and promotes 'face equality'.

The Speech and Language Therapy Team is holding a website launch party on Thursday 30 August 2018 at the Children's Hospital, including presentations on how the materials can be used and the opportunity to meet the team behind the website.