YOUNG patients with communication problems are being given a boost at Oxford Children's Hospital with the introduction of boards to help them engage with staff and other children.

Targeted at craniofacial patients who have conditions that affect bones in the head and face, the two sets of large boards feature Makaton signs and symbols.

These aid spoken language and the boards were designed in consultation with the trust's craniofacial specialist speech and language therapists and play specialists

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Funded by Oxford Hospitals Charity's Small Grants Fund, these boards will be displayed in the main waiting areas for young patients undergoing treatment at the children's hospital.

Sarah Kilcoyne, principal specialist speech and language therapist at OUH, said: "Play is so important to how children engage and interact in the world around them.We want our boards to open up different communication channels so all our children can engage and play together within our departments, creating an open, welcoming, learning and equal environment for all."

From April 2017 to March 2018, 1,385 young craniofacial patients used the John Radcliffe Hospital's West Wing outpatients area, and approximately 48,000 children used the Oxford Children's Hospital Outpatients Department.