ICAN was established in 1998 at Cyril Henry nursery school as a joint venture between the Greenwich local authority, Greenwich NHS and the ICAN charity as a specialist ICAN accredited setting.
Following a service review by the local authority in 2013, the provision expanded to include Pound Park Nursery School in January 2014. This was achieved by sharing the intake and staffing from the established Mulgrave provision.
What is ICAN?
The ICAN provision is a short term, early intervention, intensive specialist provision for early years children with severe speech/ language delay.
The provision sees the child holistically and there is a strong focus on working with the family (through daily contact, parent groups and individual sessions) as well as working with the child’s ongoing setting.
The provision uses a “themed approach” as a basic structure. This ensures that the children are taught basic vocabulary through repetition, and practical approaches in everyday situations around the classroom and home.
Each child has individual targets that are discussed and agreed with parents
At Pound Park the ICAN team are totally inclusive within the nursery joining planning and staff briefings and introduce new Makaton signs every week. Additional resources across the site have been introduced to support vocabulary.
There is a strict admissions criteria; children are required to be 2.10- 3.3 years at the start of the placement. This is the age they would reach before they would normally be offered a nursery place.
Currently 12 part-time places are offered both within Mulgrave Primary School’s nursery class and Pound Park Nursery.
Referrals to the provision are through the Early Years Speech and Language therapy service only.
The placement is for one term only within the provision (Pound Park Nursery or Mulgrave Primary School), with an additional outreach and training element.
Before the children start at ICAN two separate home visits are arranged.
Two of the Early Years Practitioners visit to complete the admission forms and gauge the child’s language skills. The second visit is the Speech and Language therapist to enable them to establish targets for the child.
Attention and Listening
It is important that children have attention and listening skills before introducing stories. To accomplish this, various activities are introduced at the beginning of the programme to provide fun ways for children to learn turn taking skills in a short space of time and to encourage them to stay focused for longer periods without getting distracted.
Makaton is a language programme which has been designed to support spoken words.
Signs are used with speech to help children communicate, (assisting communication difficulties).
Makaton can help aid speech and understanding, empowering children to express their needs alleviating frustration and the symbols are used to support communication skills.
Each week the children participate in an Interactive music session. This gives the children the opportunity to practice turn taking, listening and choice making skills.
Non Directive Play Therapy
The aim of this therapy is to support the children with their language difficulties
- following the child’s lead in play
- developing confidence, attention and sequence of play
This gives each child the opportunity to initiate communication skills through word and gesture.
Positive reinforcements are used to increase attention and good behaviour.
- Good looking
- Good listening
- Good sharing
The transition between nursery/programme is strong and seamless with the cross roles between the settings. Towards the end of the child’s term a transition visit from their local school is arranged for the staff to meet the child within the ICAN setting. The ICAN practitioners demonstrate tailored activities that link with the child’s current targets.
Ideally, there should be no gap between ICAN and starting nursery. Most nurseries in Greenwich will keep a place open for the child or give the child a priority place once the ICAN placement has finished.
Parent child interactive therapy (PCI)
Additional PCI therapy is offered to parents to improve their strategies based on play.
PCI is parent and child playing together whilst being videoed by a practitioner. This video is then played back to the parent who rates their interactions in accordance with a rating scale. An agreed target between both the practitioner and parent is agreed for the parent to work towards at home before returning the following week.
Once a child has completed the 10 week course with ICAN and is attending their community nursery, outreach visits are arranged. The practitioner and Speech Therapist demonstrate small group work to the setting in line with the child’s targets, offering them visual support or further intervention.