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Speech and language therapy recommended for kids in disadvantaged areas

Access to these services gives children a better start in school by helping them read and learn.

Image: Zurijeta via Shutterstock.com

GIVING YOUNG CHILDREN, who live in disadvantaged areas, access to speech and language therapy services means they will have a better start in school.

A study, launched today by the Childhood Development Initiative, based its findings on children in the Tallaght West area since 2007 who received early intervention speech and language therapy services.

The  piloted service, from 2008 to 2011, supported 192 children who were otherwise unlikely to have been identified, referred, or supported through any other service in the area.

The results of the study found that 18 per cent of children were discharged following a period of support, which meant their skills had improved sufficiently to reach normal limits. Significantly more boys (62.5 per cent) than girls (37.5 per cent) were referred to the service.

CDI Chief Executive Marian Quinn said the pilot showed it would benefit other disadvantaged areas around Ireland and should be introduced in schools:

If speech and language development is not addressed before starting school it causes difficulties for literacy and learning. As well as the development of dedicated services for disadvantaged communities, we recommend that all early years practitioners, teachers and related professionals receive appropriate training in speech and language development.

Given the success of the programme, CDI received more funding last August for the speech and language therapy service to continue in Tallaght until March next year.

Read: Study shows even moderate drinking in pregnancy can affect child’s IQ >

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