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Innovate UK - Unlocking Potential Award Winner!

Emma Hartnell-Baker, Innovate UK Award Winner
Making Speech 'Visible' in Unique Ways!

Thought-Driven Communication: Think It, Play It, See It, Hear It! Communicating My Way : NextGen AAC with Phonemies


Innovative Solutions for Children with Speech, Communication and Language Needs

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Phonemic Awareness and Articulation Therapy 

The Toddler Prpject - We Don't Wait!

For over 5 years now Aussie parents, teachers and speech therapists have been using the phoneme characters- Speech Sound Monsters (Phonemies!) to make learning to read and spell easier for ALL learners within the neurodiverse classroom.
Each character can be used as an alternative phonetic symbol from the IPA. Emma Hartnell-Baker has returned to the UK and is sharing innovative solutions for children with Speech, Communication, and Language Needs through workshops in Dorset. Inquire about joining via live feed or booking in-house PD, and join the Growing Word Wings Newsletter. The Duck Hands Lady also delivers thought-provoking training through PATOSS: The Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties.

In "Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read," Stanislas Dehaene discusses the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as a universal spelling code. The IPA is a standardised system of phonetic notation that represents the sounds of spoken language in written form. It includes symbols for consonants, vowels, and other phonetic features, providing a consistent way to transcribe the sounds of any language.

Dehaene emphasises the importance of the IPA as a tool for understanding the phonetic structure of language. By using the IPA, researchers and educators can accurately represent the sounds of speech, facilitating the study of phonology and phonetics. Additionally, the IPA allows for precise descriptions of pronunciation, which can be helpful in fields such as linguistics, speech therapy, and language teaching.

In the context of reading, Dehaene suggests that understanding the phonetic structure of words is crucial for developing reading skills. By recognising the correspondence between letters and sounds, readers can decode written words more effectively. Dehaene's discussion of the IPA underscores the idea that learning to read involves mapping written symbols onto the sounds of spoken language, and the IPA provides a systematic way to represent these sounds across different languages.


The Ortho-Graphix 'Sound Pic Mapping Tool' shows the graphemes, and the Speech Sound Monsters (Phonemies) show the SOUND value for those graphemes. It is a more intuitive and natural way to explore the speech sound to written code connections and reach the 'self-teaching' phase more easily. Dehaene, in the book "Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read," explores the neuroscience behind reading and emphasises the role of implicit learning processes in acquiring reading skills. Dehaene argues that much of reading development occurs implicitly, through exposure to written language and repeated practice, rather than through explicit instruction alone. Emma Hartnell-Baker has supported thousands of teachers to merge explicit linguistic phonics - used to 'kick-start' the process - with exploratory work, and by making English easier to learn and understand with IPA aligned phoneme characters.   


Self-directed learning is more productive when the written code becomes VISIBLE, and when non-speaking and neurodiverse learners, e.g. those with dyslexia, are engaged and excited about learning: the methodology 'just makes sense' to them. Speech Sound Monsters (Phonemies) offer a solution by directly linking graphemes with speech sounds, forming logical and meaningful connections based on children's existing knowledge. Furthermore, children become emotionally invested in the characters. This is crucial because “It is neurobiologically impossible for children to think deeply about things they don’t care about” (Immordino-Yang, 2017, n.p.).

Don't Stress! Don't Guess! Ortho-Graphix - Clickable Words
IPA Phonemies Screen
Emma Hartnell-Baker - the Duck Hands Lady!

Are you a teacher or speech therapist?
Enhance and Extend Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Skills with Phonemies! Hope to see you at our Workshops 

As Director of The Reading Hut Ltd and Ortho-Graphix® Project Manager I am delighted to have won a national award from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency: funding will support "Growing Word Wings", which aims to empower non-speaking children by providing them with a voice, bypassing the conventional need for spoken words and addressing the critical literacy challenges faced by children with speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN).
Children connect with specialists who understand their brains and desire for playful self-directed learning. 

Ortho-Graphix®, at its core, facilitates more personalised and intrinsically rewarding language and literacy learning for each individual within the neurodiverse home or classroom setting. Less teaching, more learning.

I'm a late-diagnosed neurodivergent woman, not constrained by conventional thinking, with a passion for children and a burning desire to ensure that every child feels heard and is able to access more words! -  language that excites them and enrich their lives. Connections through ‘Speech Sound Mapping’ that offers freedom and choices in life, regardless of challenges.

Thank you to those who are willing to ‘connect’ with me, as new to platforms such as LinkedIn and if you, too, are obsessed with ‘tech to learn your own way’ and about embracing different voices, I would love to hear from you. Let's connect a build a new Village in the Cloud community of professionals with the shared vision of a neurodiversity paradigm shift in which labels such as "disability" "difficulty" or "deficit" are reframed with a diversity perspective that takes into account both strengths and weaknesses and the idea that variation can be positive in and of itself. 

‘Miss Emma’
‘The Duck Hands Lady’
MEd SEN Doctoral Student. 

New support group: Navigating Our Orthographic Interference as Skilled Readers to Excel as Neuro-Inclusive Teachers of Orthographic Knowledge.

Growing Word Wings! Speech Sound Mapping - Ortho-Graphix Phonemies

Across the UK, a staggering 1.9 million children are grappling with speech and understanding words, highlighting a crucial area of need beyond literacy: effective communication skills. The ability to communicate is foundational for learning, emotional well-being, and social interaction. Challenges in speech production, such as those seen in speech delay and verbal dyspraxia, specifically impact a child's ability to articulate thoughts clearly, without necessarily affecting their comprehension or understanding of language. This distinction underscores the importance of supporting both expressive and receptive language skills to ensure children can both understand and be understood, facilitating better learning and social integration.

The Toddler Project offers solutions, shared at the 1,2,3 and Away workshops!

Department for Education (DfE) data reveals a worrying trend: one in four children in England hasn't reached the expected level of reading by the age of 11, raising concerns about literacy rates potentially being lower than two decades ago. This challenge is compounded by disparities in educational attainment, as by the end of compulsory schooling, children from disadvantaged backgrounds are on average almost three years behind their peers from affluent homes in reading skills.

The Toddler Project offers solutions, shared at the 1,2,3 and Away workshops!

The National Literacy Trust's 2019 report indicates a decline in reading enjoyment and daily reading habits among children, with the lowest levels of daily reading in free time ever recorded. Only 25.8% of children said they read daily in their free time in 2019. Furthermore, the OECD's findings suggest a generational decline in literacy and numeracy skills in England, highlighting the importance of reversing this trend to ensure future generations possess the necessary skills for success.

Given these challenges, it's more important than ever to take action. Get involved and make a difference in the lives of children in your family and community. By attending the 1,2,3 and Away workshops held monthly at The Centre in Ferndown, Dorset, you can learn effective strategies to support children's speech, language, and literacy skills. These workshops, part of the Word Wings project, are designed to empower you with the knowledge and tools needed to help our children overcome barriers to literacy and thrive in their educational journeys. Don't miss this opportunity to be part of the solution and contribute to a brighter future for all children.

Ortho-Graphix - Speech Sound Mapping

- Latest Ortho-Graphix® projects

- A Clickable library: SEE the graphemes, HEAR the phonemes, and develop phonemic & orthographic awareness along the way - so they can say ‘I Can Read Without You!’ with the 1,2,3 and Away! (Village with Three Corners) series.

We will soon be able to import any books.
Learners can choose texts that interest them AND receive real-time word mapping support!


The Spelling Piano app for tablets : Speech to Print - Linguistic and Visual Phonics designed for ALL neurotypes. The app includes the Phonemies Screen - learn the Speech Sound Monsters

- Speech Sound Monster Map and Drag - an online tool for children to use IPA-aligned fun characters to explore our Universal Written Code, and that gives adults a fast way to learn about the IPA and English orthography!

- Speech Sound Mapping Tool. Type your text and SEE the grapheme markers! Another world first, to make the written code VISIBLE.


I Can Read Without You (ICRWY) Lessons app: Includes the Speech Sound Word Mapping Tool PLUS Copy and Paste the text! 

- ICSWY Word Wings: thought-driven communication designed for non-speaking children who do not yet read and spell. #InnovateUKFunded

This technology also signifies a breakthrough in screening toddlers for dyslexia and will launch The Toddler Project - We Don't Wait.

Unique ways to make speech sounds visible! An easier way to learn to speak, read and spell in English


Ortho-Graphix Phoneme Characters: Phonemies are Speech Sound Monsters
Accelerated Learning: Unlocking Potential for All Neurotypes

Finally learning to read and spell in a way that suits his brain's understanding, after not being able to read or spell by the end of primary school

1 in 4 children in England can't read 

Learning to 'follow the sounds to say the word' from left to right, top to bottom, in 'The Toddler Project: We Don't Wait'.

Growing Word Wings: Speech Sound Mapping

Growing Word Wings:
peech Sound Mapping

Building Confidence and Independence through Innovative Play-Based Speech and Phonemic Awareness Therapy. The Toddler Project: We Don't Wait.

The I Can Speak Without You (ICSWY) app, although initially designed for non-speaking children with the injection of Innovate UK grant funding, will be a cornerstone tool that reinforces and supports the overarching mission of The Toddler Project. Designed to complement our comprehensive approach to early childhood development, ICSWY extends the reach and impact of our initiatives, providing critical reinforcement and support for speech and phonemic awareness. Through its innovative features, the app empowers parents and caregivers, giving them the tools to effectively contribute to their child's communication and literacy journey, in alignment with the inclusive, proactive ethos of The Toddler Project.

*Communication device for non-speaking children
- Communicating My Way
*Speech and Phonemic Awareness Therapy
*Early Dyslexia Screening and Intervention
- The Toddler Project: We Don't Wait 
* Early Reading and Spelling

*Deeper understanding of learning differences
*Awareness of Orthographic Interference

Connect with us! 'I Can Speak Without You': Thought Driven Communication

Ortho-Graphix !
Speech Sound Mapping: Growing Word Wings
Speech Sound Monsters - Speech Sound Mapping with IPA aligned fun phoneme characters
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