Early years communication support in Children's Centres
Friday, 08 March 2013
Children with speech and language difficulties will benefit from specialist support now available through Hampshire County Council's Children's Centres.
A team of speech and language professionals started work this term to provide additional support to children with speech and language difficulties. Working closely with the NHS speech and language therapy services to support individual children they will also help parents and Children's Centre staff to better support children's communication development, ensuring they have a language rich environment.
The team is part of just under £1m committed to improve and develop speech and language support services added to this year's budget as an initiative from Hampshire County Council's Leader Councillor Ken Thornber. The new services are part of a wide range of services available to young families being delivered through Hampshire's Children's Centres from 81 locations around the county. As well as the early help through children's centres targeted support for children with speech and language difficulties is being offered at the county's special schools.
Councillor Thornber committed the additional funding to creating the dedicated Speech and Language Therapy Service to complement services provided by the NHS and the work already being done by the County Council to support the development of children's speech and language. This work includes projects such as Hampshire's Keep on Talking project which works with children in their early years to prepare them for school.
Councillor Thornber said: "I am personally delighted to see this new service come into existence. The County Council has always been dedicated to providing the best service it possibly can for all our children and families because we must give our young the best possible start in life.
"The development of good speech and language skills is vital if a child is to achieve its potential. Research shows that children who are not able to communicate successfully are at risk of low educational attainment, increased behavioural and emotional difficulties, poor employment opportunities or training prospects and increased likelihood of mental health problems.
"The new service being delivered through our 81 Children's Centres will build on the positive work already being undertaken in Hampshire and it will ensure that even younger children, those aged 0-3 will be supported, and that parents will be better equipped to support their child's language development."