Parents in fight to get help for children with speech and language problems

More than half of parents whose children have speech, language or communication problems have to wait longer than six months for help, a survey suggests.

A YouGov poll of more than 1,000 parents for the charity I Can and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) found that even when parents got help, most (55%) did not feel it was adequate.

Some 59% overall said they had to fight to get the support their children needed.

The poll also found that half of parents who mentioned a lack of support felt this had a negative impact on their child’s education.

More than four out of 10 (42%) said it negatively affected their child’s mental health.

I Can said most parents would first turn to their GP if they wanted their child to be assessed for speech or language problems – highlighting the need for improved training of family doctors.

Bob Reitemeier (pictured), chief executive at I Can, said the Government “has made inroads” to improving the support available to children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.

He added: “Language development for children under age five is high on the Government’s agenda, but for school-age children, and those with long-term needs, such as developmental language disorder, there has been little change.”

Kamini Gadhok, chief executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, said: “The Government’s ambition to tackle social mobility by supporting early language development is clear.

“However, around 1.4 million children and young people have speech, language and communication difficulties and need help during and well beyond the early years.

“The implementation of a cross-Government strategy for children – involving health and social care, education, and justice would enable children and young people to fulfil their potential.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) I CAN.