Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan has announced an additional £250,000 to support children’s speech, language and communication needs.
The funding will be available for health boards and specialist centres to continue to address speech, language and communication needs, and will enable SLC therapists and practitioners to respond to local demands and needs.
The additional funding for 2021-22 follows COVID recovery funding provided in 2020 to address speech, language and communication needs during the pandemic.
The focus for the funding will be on early years (0 - 4 years 11 months) and will include:
- Funding for digital and physical resources and for IT for a range of uses including remote sessions
- Training and development for SLC practitioners and childcare workers to identify speech, language and communication needs early on
- Funding for It Takes Two to Talk parent workbooks for all main libraries in Wales
Julie Morgan said:
I’m delighted to announce this additional funding for speech, language and communication needs. We are committed to ensuring that children from all backgrounds have the best start in life and are able to reach their full potential, and we know that the early years are an important time in a child’s development. It is at this time that children develop speech, language, communication and oracy skills which underpin their ability to read, write and problem solve.
The pandemic has had an impact on services and we are continuing to work with the NHS and specialist centres to help them meet children’s needs at this critical time.
We want all children in Wales to have access to high quality speech, language and communication support in the early years if needed, and this additional funding will go towards ensuring SLC practitioners are able to respond to need in their areas.”
Jayne Hitchings, Speech and Language Therapist at Cardiff & Vale University Health Board said:
At a time when families have faced huge challenges, being able to access quality support to promote language development will continue to make a real difference to both children and their families. Additional funding in 2020 enabled us to offer our Children’s Speech and Language Therapists training in advanced clinical decision making, enabling them to support children and families in the most effective way possible.
This additional funding will enable us to train more Speech and Language Therapists to provide the Hanen ‘It Takes Two To Talk’ programme, which empowers parents and families to help develop their children’s communication skills in the home.
Training additional staff is really important and ensures consistency in reducing the impact of speech, language and communication difficulties on children and their families and making sure they access the right support from the right people at the right time.