Children’s early language skill, and in particular vocabulary development, are strong predictors of academic outcomes and social success. Language and social communication develop most strongly when children have exposure to safe, enjoyable interaction, imbued with positive affect across a range of experiences, topics and people. For language and social communication to flourish in a child, attention must be paid to the factors within a child’s relationships and social world which create safety, and allow him to experience enjoyment and a rich, positive emotional life. Interventions which support children’s secure attachment are foundations of children’s mental wellbeing and of the development of social communication, language and literacy. Despite disadvantage in early attachment opportunities ‘it is never too late’ to enrich attachment, and to empower language growth.
Just Time introduced the Circle of Security Parent DVD Program® into the context of a women’s prison. The program teaches a readily-grasped model of attachment processes, made powerful through reflective dialogue and shared video clips. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from all parties – the women, the speech pathologist facilitators, and the prison personnel.
This paper will share theoretical understanding of the processes which link attachment to the empowerment of children’s voice through language and social communication. It will share the participant’s reflective learnings and the importance of metacognitive awareness for behaviour change. With these understandings, it will link empowerment of the voices of disadvantaged children to wider society, and point at direction for systems-change to support these developing voices and lives.

Rosalie Martin
Chatter Matters Tasmania
CEO & clinician

Biography: Rosalie is a criminologist, an accredited facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal, and a clinical speech pathologist with more than 30 years’ experience. In 2013 Rosalie founded a charity, Chatter Matters Tasmania, to bring literacy and parent-child attachment programs to Tasmania's Risdon Prison. She was awarded 2017 Tasmanian Australian of the Year for the work she began at the prison. She is grateful for the platform this recognition has afforded for promotion of the importance of kind communication in evidence-based service delivery. And she is grateful to all family, friends and colleagues. Nothing that is worth doing is ever done alone.

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