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How it all started  

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Lorna describes the early history of Commtap

It all started with a photocopier chewing up a speech and language therapy programme needed for a therapy session due to start in two minutes. A specialist teacher colleague waiting in the photocopier queue helped to retrieve the pieces form the photocopier and as we sellotaped pieces of language programme together we started to understand how much overlap there was in what we were doing – one specialist teacher and one speech and language therapist. We realised we shared many strategies targets and activities in our work supporting children with a range of communication difficulties.

So we planned to share resources – in a filing cabinet. And of course - it did not work! The carefully created resources got lost and muddled and were not to hand when needed at a school or a parents home. It took another colleague, who was computer literate, to point out – gently – that people in the twenty first century tended to use the internet to store and deliver information and he would sort this out!

Which he did – starting from scratch, buying books on software and programme writing and taking a sabbatical from his speech and language therapy job. The first version of the site was hosted on the Tower Hamlets' intranet site but it became obvious that the site had a much wider remit than just Tower Hamlets and it was set up on the internet proper.

Commtap does have an unusual ethos. It is a not for profit community interest company: users download communication targets and activities for free. There are no adverts and no pop ups and the site is designed to be very user friendly. In return some users freely contribute their own communication targets and activities to the site. Content is monitored by skilled speech and language therapists to ensure high standards.

Commtap aims to 'talk teacher talk'. Its speech and language therapy targets and activities are pegged to the National Curriculum making them readily accessible to busy teachers working with the 10% of all children in mainstream schools who have speech language and communication needs.

The site grows and flourishes because of its collaborative ethos. Developing communication skills for those who need them seems to be the kind of human right that should not be used to make money.

The site has received generous grants from the Canary Wharf Achievement Fund and UnLtd.

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