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Schoolchildren need checks on speech and learning problems

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Schoolchildren must be monitored regularly for potential speech, language and communication problems, an independent review has concluded.

The review, commissioned by government in September and published last week, was carried out by Buckingham MP John Bercow. It warned that up to 50% of children in some areas were growing up with significant communication skills problems that put them at risk of behavioural problems and emotional and psychological difficulties.

‘Our review has found that these essential life skills are too low a priority in education and the health service. This is severely hampering children’s ability to learn, achieve, participate in and contribute to society,’ Mr Bercow said.

Barrie Brown, Unite lead officer for nursing, said: ‘Our members will be tremendously pleased by this report.’

He said the quality of speech and language therapy provision had steadily been eroded by service cuts, loss of leadership and specialist posts, and cuts to specialist training for speech and language therapists

‘Cuts in the services that support speech and language therapy provision – particularly the catastrophic cuts in health visitor numbers – also make adequate support for children and their families difficult to achieve,’ he added.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I fully agree that the amount of children going through the education system with undiagnosed speech and language problems has increased. These children then become young adults who have missed out on the most important learning period of their lives. leaving them with poor social skills and no positive outlook in life.

    There are a lot of education providers throughout the country who provide excellent education for children with speech and language problems but due to the lack of funding, from local authorities,children are not able to attend these centres.

    Without the support of these centres young adults fall behind and have no self esteem.

    I can say this from personal experience as, my son was looky enough to be statemented at the age of 5 (1989) and attended Alderwasley Hall Speech and Language Unit in Derbyshire. Having speech therapy on a daily basis. He has Expressive Dyspraxia with Severe Dyslexia (reading age 4-5). But due to the speech therapy support has achived a BSc Hons degree in Art + Design (1st) and just received his Masters from the Royal College of Art.

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