The Sound We Found – an innovative new book for speech development

A new 'listen and look' book designed to help facilitate speech sound development in babies and young children has been published by three Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs).

The sound we found'The Sound We Found' aims to encourage early sound and rhyme play, and is the first in a planned series of picture books which can be enjoyed by all children, but is of particular benefit to those with delayed speech development.
Speech, language and communication are key to a child's social, emotional and educational development, yet research shows that around 10 per cent of children and young people (over 1.4 million people in the UK) experience problems in communicating.
The three authors - Rhian Hoccom, Lisa Farquhar and Hélène Somerville - are all Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapists and have used their shared knowledge and experience to create a book that also doubles as an educational resource which can be used by parents and families to reinforce speech sounds in their children.

They say: 'Young children learn sounds through hearing them regularly. Early intervention is the key to minimising speech sound difficulties and was the starting point for us coming up with The Sound We Found. Targeting sounds at the earliest opportunity encourages correct speech patterns and discourages speech errors which can become ingrained and difficult to resolve. Involving parents and carers, who spend the most time with the child, is crucial to the process'.

Based on therapy techniques used by SLTs, The Sound We Found enables children to hear and see how sounds are made, without any pressure to repeat them. Through regularly sharing the book, sounds are repeatedly modelled to the child who may then attempt the sounds of their own accord. The book also provides an example of how sounds can be reinforced throughout the day during play and daily routines.
With a shortage of speech and language therapy provision and increasing waiting lists in the NHS, the release of The Sound We Found could not be more timely. Although two years in the making, this book is being published at a time when parents and carers are in greater need than ever of advice and resources to help them to develop their child's speech.
During the recent pandemic, SLTs have had to find innovative ways of working, such as the use of telehealth to deliver therapy. However, not all Health Boards have been able to offer this and for those that have, the use of technology has automatically excluded some families from accessing the help they need, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As Services are looking at ways to return to a more typical way of working, they may not be able to operate at full capacity and school visits and clinic appointments are likely to be severely restricted. Safety requirements will make the delivery of therapy difficult and the use of face coverings in some settings, will make modelling speech sounds nigh on impossible.

The authors highlight the benefits of the book as a form of early intervention, while also recognising the importance of promoting a love of books in children.

'Sharing books with your child will activate their imagination, expand their understanding of the world around them and help them broaden their vocabulary and listening skills.'

'The Sound We Found can be used as a standalone tool to help parents foster correct speech patterns, as well as being a visually stimulating story book, and when you buy the book you get a QR code which gives you access to a supporting website and video explaining how it can be used to maximum effect.'
Published by Burton Mayers Books, The Sound We Found is released on 23rd October and is available for pre-order online through several retailers including Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles.

Follow the authors on @ListenAndLookB1