Monday, 23 January 2012

Urging Government to Support Speech and Language for our Children

Most parents need a bit of a break from looking after their kids and from time to time want some peace just to get space from the constant questioning and chat.  This is the normal challenge that parents face – getting some quiet.  The problem with a minority of parents  is that have very little conversation with their children.  Schools complain that they see parents walking their children to school oblivious of the child as they are engrossed in conversation on their mobile phone .   Some children are put in front of the TV at a very early age with no adult stimulus, no demand to talk or to converse.  This might sound like a perfect form of babysitting but the outcomes are all too evident to our infant and primary schools that have to pick up the pieces.
School heads across Thanet tell me of some really desperate stories of some children not being able to articulate a simple sentence, and not confident to have a basic conversation with an adult.  These children need significant support to rectify this level of neglect and the schools are taking on this extra work with dedication and commitment.
This is such a frequent cry from schools that i took up the cudgels in Parliament this week asking the Minister to address this issue with urgency.   I am committed to ensure that every school has access to a speech and language expert to help those children who are falling behind, because if we don’t address this when they are little it is much more difficult to solve when they are older.
I was also very pleased that the Minister raised the support that health visitors will provide families.  With a significant increase in health visitors working with vulnerable families, they will deploy language and speech therapists long before the children get to school and combine education, health and care into one package.
so while some might like the saying that children should be seen but not heard, we must not take this too far – young children need as much conversation and chat as possible

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