What Is it?
TalkTools® was founded by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, an American speech and language therapist, to help people who have difficulty speaking, positioning their oro-facial spheres and eating. Using an approach based on sensory and tactile stimulation, she provided her patients with an effective therapy giving the best possible results. While teaching her oro-facial positioning techniques to an increasingly wide audience, therapists and caregivers participating in her classes expressed the desire to have tools specifically designed to help them implement what they needed. In response, she developed the TalkTools® brand and its range of tools and accessories.
TalkTools® combines approaches that can be used by caregivers and parents. Parents and caregivers can learn the basics of TalkTools® and use them with their children. TalkTools® techniques are not typically used in isolation, but are part of a holistic approach to communication and diet therapy.
As in any therapeutic programme, it is important to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, in order to make the most of this programme. Level 3 therapists can provide you with an evaluation and a complete programme.
TalkTools® uses specific tools for its activities; it is important to practise these activities regularly. You will need to consider buying special tools and undertake regular practice daily as part of the TalkTools® programme. Some of TalkTools®’ therapeutic tools look like toys. Remember, these tools are not toys. Each tool has been designed or selected specifically for a particular task; replacing a tool with a similar item can compromise the results. As with all therapeutic equipment, children should not be allowed to use them as toys.
Please refer to the brochure ” TalkTools® OPT – Infection Management and Sterilization of Therapeutic Materials” to learn more about the care instructions for your TalkTools® tools.
Swallowing problems (dysphagia management) are a common factor among users of the TalkTools® method. If you are concerned that your child or patient is having difficulty swallowing food or drinks, we strongly recommend that you have an evaluation done by a specialist. A speech and language therapist trained in dysphagia management assesses the risks associated with swallowing and advises you on appropriate strategies for managing this risk.
Not all TalkTools® therapists are trained in dysphagia. To find a therapist trained in dysphagia, you can contact your local health authorities. To contact an independent therapist, contact ASLTIP using www.helpwithtalking.com (in the UK). If you have been told that your child or patient cannot swallow certain food, liquids or textures safely, you should seek specialist advice before using activities that are part of the TalkTools® programme.
A subject who can not safely swallow hard pieces of food should not use chewing activities with foods that will produce small pieces in the mouth, such as cookies.
Where to get TalkTools® tools:
You can purchase TalkTools® OTP tools in a variety of ways. In the UK, they are available through independent retailers. Eg(Training) is one such retailer. You can purchase TalkTools® tools from us by using the ‘buy therapy equipment’ link above. Always discuss with your therapist before starting any programme, so that you understand:
- The therapists level of competence and training
- What is included in the service
- Other service costs
All reputable therapist should be happy to discuss your needs and any concerns you may have, and then provide you with information regarding their level of training and rates.
You can also refer to the Eg (Training) Ltd ” TalkTools® OPT – TalkTools® Training Information” booklet to learn more about the different levels of TalkTools® training.