This is a classic. A sign on a coffee machine in Germany advising potential purchasers of different types of coffee to use ‘no coins (keine Münzen), only (nur) coins’.

After a short period of confusion, I realised that ‘coins’ in this case didn’t mean ‘coins’ but ‘token’. There is a name for this linguistic phenomenon, you could call it ‘over-translating’ or maybe ‘adapting a foreign word incorrectly’, but I can’t think about it. For reasons known only to themselves, they did not want to use the perfectly adequate word ‘Wertmarke’ and looked for a cool, short, English alternative – and picked the wrong one.

You might have guessed – I am in Germany today visiting a therapy centre I had heard about an awful lot from many people. All telling me that Lindlar was the place to go for Speech and Language Therapy (SALT or SLT). Pádraig is now at a stage where he desperately needs to find ways to communicate in a much more efficient way and where he needs to develop his voice.

And guess what?

The HSE-employed SLTs who had treated him on and off have been off for close to three quarters of a year, I’d say. The last SLT working with him is now on maternity leave with no replacement or cover in sight.

We have been trying extremely hard to find an SLT but all of our best efforts have been frustrated by what amounts to a denial of service. SLTs in both the voluntary and the professional sectors have told us that they cannot treat Pádraig. Isn’t that absolutely amazing, incredible and shocking?

The meeting today in Lindlar was really promising and I hope to meet up with a family tomorrow who I got to know a little and whose son has been treated in the centre for several years.

I spent tonight with my German family. We had a really good night together with good company and good conversation, something to be really grateful for.