Increased access to Speech and Language Therapy

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How important is it for children who have Down syndrome to get regular, easy access to Speech and Language Therapy? Language development is not just important, it’s essential. We all know language is for communicating, but it’s also for thinking, for planning, for understanding new ideas. It’s central to every child’s learning experience.

Speech and Language Therapy is undoubtedly necessary, but by the time you’ve been collected from school, travelled to a clinic, had your therapy session and travelled back, several hours of valuable school time has passed. After-school appointments bring their own issues. Children are often tired, and may struggle to concentrate and take in new information at the end of the day. This is even more difficult for children who have health issues such as sleep apnoea.

At Down Syndrome Ireland, we have long campaigned for Speech and Language Therapy to be provided within schools, to be fully integrated into the child’s education. In an ideal world, parents, teachers and therapists would be working closely together to ensure that the child’s language needs are addressed.

In Budget 2018, the Department of Education announced that funding of €2 million will be allocated to develop and implement a pilot model of in-school speech and language therapy, which is very welcome news. If this happens in your child’s school, do let us know how it goes.