Chatty Magpie – the mighty box of fun!

Chatty Magpie – the mighty box of fun!

Print - colour, cut, laminate, use, file - a typical sequence of events when making therapy resources.

When I qualified as a speech and language therapist back in 2000 I sought the advice of another fellow therapist. I enquired about the most essential tools that I would need as a practising therapist. Expecting a list of specialised assessments and tools I was surprised with the following: printer, guillotine, good pens and laminator. Many an evening, since first qualifying, has been spent making and preparing resources.

Unfortunately, at the end of the wettest 2013 I can remember our house flooded. This brought my evening preparation time to an abrupt halt. Living in one hotel room with my family meant that this was just not possible. Still having to work, I racked my brain about what could be done.

A light bulb moment fortunately arrived. Thanks to a super shoe shop that provided me with an endless supply of empty shoe boxes I started to make therapy boxes. I hand wrote activities on pieces of card and left these with families and schools to work on between sessions. The boxes were filled with objects, pictures from magazines and words, as needed. Great hilarity and fun was had each time a box was opened and the activities completed.

After a few months of use,10 favourite activities emerged. Plastic cups, wooden hoops, dice of varying sizes and feely bags were trialled. Jo, from yoohoo resources, took the fully tested prototype and brought it to life. It was then that Chatty Magpie was born.

Chatty (adjective) - readily engaging in talk.

Magpie (noun) - used figuratively to refer to a person who collects things or who chatters idly.

As a therapist, the Chatty Magpie instantly helped reduce the many hours spent making resources. It also, fantastically, helped my families and schools. They were left with a bespoke, ready-made tool that could be used with ease. The evidence spoke for itself as children and adults alike talked openly about how much fun they had had.

A school, so enthused with seeing the progress in individual students, asked me to trial its usage within a group. The school had already completed speech and language based assessments and key students were identified. The Chatty Magpie ran once a week with myself and a teaching assistant (TA) initially. For the rest of the week the sessions were run by the school’s TAs. Well, the impact was incredible. Data collected by the school highlighted dramatic improvements. Anecdotally, the SENCO also reported that the Chatty Magpie group had made more progress than observed when the school had used an online and paper based approach the previous year.

Chatty Magpie Vocabulary

Student                                   Baseline                    Re-test
1                                              50% fail                      90% passed
2                                              75% fail                      95% passed
3                                              48% fail                      65% fail*
4                                              85%                            93% passed
(* Results and data from Chatty Magpie helped support school with evidencing the student’s level of need and support)

Chatty Magpie Speech

Student                                   Baseline                    Retest
1                                              3/6                              4/6*
2                                              1/6                              5/6
3                                              3/6                              6/6
4                                              4/6                              5/6
5                                              0/6                              6/6
(*joined the group part way through)

yoohoo resources are so pleased with Chatty Magpies, these mighty boxes of fun. They encapsulate therapy and our ideology. Making it fun, achievable and accessible.

At yoohoo therapy the future is bright. Our therapists use their Chatty Magpies to support therapy sessions. Families have reported how much they enjoy using them. More schools, fantastically, are using Chatty Magpies. Some have even brought them into their planning as one of their morning carrousel activities.

So, if you are interested please visit our yoohoo shop The Chatty Magpie might be just what you are looking for.

Leave a comment