During the COVID restrictions, it has been difficult to socialise and meet new people. That is why Trusted Clinical Services Speech Pathologists used the opportunity to bring their clients together and practice their communication skills.
Hence, the social skills “group chat” began on the April 22nd and is held weekly via video call. It consists of four young men, Matthew Hunter, Nathan Cropper, Daniel Cox, and Clayton Hudson, supported by their Speech Pathologists Kate Bruton, Hayley Peters and Emma Iddon. The participants choose a topic of interest to share with the group and then take turns to ask each other questions. It’s a great way to get to know each other and learn new things.
When asked what they liked about the group, Nathan commented, “I like meeting new people”, Matthew said that he “enjoys his Friday chats as he gets to catch up with his friends” and Daniel said, “I like talking to the other kids and sharing what I have been doing”.
Emma Iddon (Speech Pathologist) states that, “the participants are very engaged with the group and really make an effort to attend each week. The group allows them the time and support they need to develop friendships and engage in meaningful conversations and with their peers, which can be difficult in a fast paced community setting”.
Feedback from Sue Cropper (Nathan’s mum) was extremely positive. “We have seen a noticeable improvement in Nathan's communication skills and I think the chat gives Nathan the opportunity to put these learnt skills into practice with his peers. He has always found it difficult to converse meaningfully with others, which obviously adds to his social isolation, so this chat group is a great starting point for him to develop confidence and strategies to overcome these challenges".
Likewise, Tin Cox, Daniel’s mum stated, “I feel that this group is an amazing Idea as it is helping Daniel build confidence in his group conversation. I have heard from flagstaff than Daniel is engaging more in group conversations”.
Given the positivity of this feedback and the outcomes reported, the Speech Pathologists plan to continue these sessions post COVID-19 and are looking at innovative ways to expand and develop the group.
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