My name is Emma Roberts. I am currently based near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, but I have lived and worked in various parts of the UK.
I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2002 and began my career in South Wales in NHS community clinics working with children. I also worked in the South Wales area as an independent SLT, again working with children, in their home environments.
I took some time out to raise my 2 children, and returned to Speech and Language Therapy with the NHS in Milton Keynes and then in Buckinghamshire once my children were in full-time education. My work was mainly within pre-school, primary and secondary school settings, with some clinic work included.
My intention has always been to return to independent practise and use my management skills to run my own business and when my family and I relocated to the East Midlands, and I was unable to find permanent work within the local NHS trusts, it seemed like an ideal time to begin my independent practise. And so Toucan Communicate was born.
I was keen from the outset to involve my family in this venture so the logo for Toucan Communicate was designed by my daughter.
Through my work with the NHS I have become increasingly aware of the need for speech, language and communication support. The amount of children entering school with inadequate language and communication skills is ever-growing, and the resources to support this are ever-stretched, with the NHS making frequent cuts to services and criteria for children to be seen by SLT services being tightened, which has resulted in many children who would benefit from SLT support, not being seen and therefore not reaching their potential. On top of this, resources in schools are constantly being challenged with reduced numbers of staff available to work individually with children and more and more demands on teacher's time within a school day.
So, in setting up Toucan Communicate, my main aim was to make supporting speech, language and communication for all children as easy and accessible as possible. As well as providing 1:1 support for children in their homes, I also wanted to work with schools to provide support at all levels, through training of teaching staff, providing evidence based interventions for children at risk of developing speech, language and communication difficulties, and providing specialist support for children with significant speech, language and communication needs.
On top of this, I was also keen to provide practical advice and strategies for parents, carers and other adults who support children with speech, language and/or communication needs that was accessible to all.
So my main goal for Toucan Communicate...
To make it as easy as possible for you to support children to meet their speech, language and communication potential.