The Speech and Language Therapy team within the South Thames Cleft Service, based at St Thomas’ Hospital and the Evelina Children’s Hospital, have recently received 130 ‘Babble Bags’, which have been funded by CLAPA’s Regional Fund.
Around 50% of children born with a cleft palate may experience speech difficulties and their parents play a vital role in the development of their child’s speech. Babble Bags are speech improvement aids specifically designed to provide parents with the tools, including tangible activities and ideas, to work on with their child at home from an early age, encouraging and developing communication and speech sound production.
There are around 130 children born with a cleft lip and/or palate in the South Thames area (South London, Surrey, Kent and Sussex), including around 80 with a cleft palate involvement. Families of children born with a cleft spalate involvement will benefit from a Babble Bag after the primary cleft palate repair operation has taken place.
Tamsin Pennington, Secretary of the South London and Surrey Branch, submitted a funding request in the summer and by Christmas had researched, bought resources, and packed the 130 canvas CLAPA bags. The bags were handed to speech therapists at the South London and Surrey Branch Christmas Party in mid-December.
Tamsin says ‘my three year old son, born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, is currently benefitting from ongoing speech therapy with the service. Speech is so important and I would hate to see any child feel frustrated because they couldn’t communicate appropriately. If these bags provide a few speech ideas and some fun games for both parents and children then they have done the job.’
Zoe Jordan, Lead Speech and Language Therapist for the South Thames Cleft Service says, “We’d like to thank Tamsin and CLAPA for their commitment and hard work in providing these valuable resources, our families within our service are really going to benefit from this initiative.
It’s a fantastic idea on Tamsin’s part, which we were very pleased to support and it is also a wonderful example of how CLAPA and the South Thames Cleft Service are able to collaborate successfully in order to enhance the care and experience of patients born with a cleft lip and/or palate and their families”.
The Babble Bags include a letter from both CLAPA and an activity sheet from South London and Surrey Branch. The resources include a farmyard tales book and a plush puppet, a mini recorder, a ball, and bubbles. All resources were advised by the speech therapists so that the bag could be a relevant and specific home resource.