Why learning to talk is so important for all children?
A child’s ability to talk is often taken for granted. We place a lot of emphasis on when our children start to walk and that can often be a date of remembrance for years to come. Talking is as essential as walking and here is the reason why.
The Communication Trust reports that ‘Children who find learning to talk hard find life hard’. Children with speech and language difficulties are at high risk of problems with reading, writing and spelling. They are also more likely to have behavioural difficulties, challenges making and maintaining friendships and with their self-esteem and confidence. It may also affect their education and employment chances later in life.
Why is this so important for children in Lisburn?
Through research we know 32% of our children in Lisburn are starting school with a mild to severe speech, language and communication problem. One of the reasons for this late detection is that we think that our child will catch up when they start school and will be encouraged by our teachers and other children. For some children that can help but for others they can fall behind in the classroom or it presents itself in a different way for example through their behaviour as they get frustrated not understanding what is going on, unable to express how they feel or to get others to understand them.
The good news is there are simple things we can all do from an early stage to help and support our children’s speech, language and communication development. The Help Kids Talk initiative funded by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council was launched on the 4th March 2020 in Laganvalley Island Centre. It is a community wide project involving everyone who has a responsibility for a child, whether that is a parent, carer, grandparent, other family members, childminders and staff in an organisation that provides services for children in Lisburn.
We have awareness sessions for parents/carers and other family members on what speech, language and communication development should look like, what you can do to encourage your child’s development and where to go if you need help and support.
Training and programmes available that support a child’s development for organisations that provide services for children.
If you want to hear more about the Help Kids Talk initiative in Lisburn or you want to get involved contact the Help Kids Talk coordinator on 02892 670755 or 07715801635
Natalie Williams, Rachael Whan, Aisling Donnelly, Alison Ferris, Help Kids Talk Steering group, Adrian Bird, Resurgam Trust, Tracey Cassells and Aura Law-Porter and Ronie Ryan from Barbour Nursery School