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Children's speech and language hits the national news

The impact of lockdown on children’s speech and language skills has been the subject of much media coverage over the past few days. The initial report highlighted growing evidence of an increased number of four- and five-year-olds needing help with their language skills. The research suggests that young children have had fewer opportunities for developing language and social skills due to lockdown.

The Royal Collage of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) secured an interview on the BBC National News and Janet Cooper, Speech and Language Therapy Clinical Lead at Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust (MPFT), represented the RCSLT and the SLT profession in the interview. Janet also gave multiple radio and podcast interviews, and spoke about the importance of children and parents getting the right support as early as possible, even before they reach school.

The first three years of a child’s life are crucial for their language, communication and social development, so parents and carers have a vital role in their child’s development. Locally, there has been lots of positive work around spreading this message far and wide.

The Department for Education’s Early Outcomes Funding has meant that Speech and Language Therapists from MPFT have been able to deliver training across the whole of Staffordshire to nursery practitioners, teachers and childminders. The training provides the tools and skills to identify when a child has a speech, language and communication need (SLCN) and support those children and their and families from birth to 5 years. The success of this is built on work carried out by the MPFT Speech and Language Therapists across Stoke on Trent through DfE ‘Opportunity Area’ funding.

The key messages are:

  • Encourage your child’s communication skills through every opportunity

  • Talk together, spend time together playing, reading and having fun

  • Describe things as they happen

  • Give your child time to respond

  • If you are worried seek help early, discuss any concerns with your Health Visitor, School Nurse, school or nursery.

Find a list of the radio interviews here.

For more activity ideas click here.


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