Language & autism (4)
Language & gender (4)
Selective mutism (3)
Developing children's communication (8)
Children's emotions (5)
Children and introversion (2)
High sensitivity (2)
Language & maths (3)
Improving adult communication (3)
Children and ICT (2)
Children & sleep (2)
Improving storytime & assembly (2)
Building vocabulary (3)

Bad Breath!
Understanding mood swings
The silent phase of EAL
Overcoming stage fright
Food poverty/language poverty
Children and trains
Speech sounds
Nelson Mandela tribute
Combating low self-esteem
Children and colour
Men and childcare
Non-verbal communication
Language and autism
'Small talk'
Children's behaviour
Music and feelings
Spelling problems
Describing children accurately
Sharing books with children
Singing and language


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Charles and the Bangkok BTS Skytrain: or why you can’t ‘just talk about the pictures’

Date posted: Saturday 19th January 2013

I often think about little Charles and his mum, and how he hated books so much! And I felt like him as I was sitting on the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok a few years ago.


Evie and her Grandad’s canal barge: shyness, introversion and selective mutism explained

Date posted: Thursday 10th January 2013

Sir Walter Scott, famed Scottish author and poet, apparently didn’t speak a word until he was seven years old. One day the cook served him sausages that were slightly burned. “Take away these offensive charred items immediately!” were the first words that he is supposed to have uttered. When Scott’s astonished parents asked him why he had never spoken before, it is claimed he replied, “Well, no one has ever given me burned sausages!” After that the floodgates were opened, and he went on to write such classics as Ivanhoe, The Lady of the Lake and The Heart of Midlothian.

Canal Barge


Sing a song, learn a language and understand your culture

Date posted: Tuesday 1st January 2013

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi.

If you speak Welsh then you will know that this is the first line of a famous Welsh song. My father is from South Wales, and we grew up in England at a time when Welsh rugby was going through a golden age. Dad had a repertoire of several Welsh songs that he would sing a lot to us, though he had only a vague idea of what the words meant. Consequently we had a very mangled exposure to very basic Welsh. In the 1960s and 70s Welsh was not generally spoken in South Wales, or taught in schools. There were few road signs in Welsh, though street names were often very long and all small towns seemed to begin with ‘Aber’ or ‘Ponty’. But when we visited our grandparents, in their terraced house in a small mining town up one of the valleys, we developed a very clear feel for the local coal mining culture and of ‘Welshness’. Because it was always a fun and exciting experience, I have very positive memories of Wales and of hearing the language.


Quiet children with High Sensitivity: helping them by exploring ideas in depth

Date posted: Thursday 13th December 2012

“The Indians send signals from the rocks above the pass”. That first line of a song may mean nothing to you, but if you can recite the next line then you will know it is from ‘Cool for Cats’ by Squeeze. You may even know that the writer was Glenn Tilbrook, who is still being successful almost 30 years on.

What has that got to do with helping quiet children? Please bear with me… I heard Glenn on the radio, talking about his early life and influences, as I was driving down to meet Barbara Allen-Williams, founder of the National Centre for High Sensitivity.


Quiet children: are they ‘shy’ or ‘introverts’?

Date posted: Monday 26th November 2012

I spend a lot of time thinking about children who are quiet, and particularly those who are unhappy about joining in during group activities. We often assume that these children are ‘shy’, but what does this mean? A good way to think about shy children is see them as really wanting to contribute through talking, but their anxiety about ‘performing’ in front of a group prevents them from doing so. This bothers them, and if adults put pressure on them to talk, this can increase their self-consciousness and create anxiety.


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