08/07/2009

£5m Allocated To Tackle Children's Communication Problems

A £5million package of measures is being rolled out to help improve services for children and young people with communication problems.

A new Communication Champion is also being recruited to raise the profile of these issues, Children's Secretary, Ed Balls and Care Services Minister Phil Hope announced today.

This is part of a £12million investment to implement the Government Action Plan, Better Communication.

Communication problems can lead to serious disadvantages in later life - from initial frustration at not being able to express oneself, to bullying, reduced educational achievement, fewer job prospects and even the descent into criminality.

Speech, language and communication needs can exist on their own - such as specific vocal impairments or a stammer, or be related to another need like autistic spectrum disorders, hearing impairments or physical disabilities.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls said: "Parents know that the ability to communicate is an essential life skill for their children, allowing them to fulfil their potential, enjoy their education and go on to become full participants of society. We are determined to remove the barriers some children face when trying to communicate by giving them the easily accessible support they need.

"John Bercow's groundbreaking review identified that local services need to improve. We are now implementing his recommendations to make that happen. From children with a limited vocabulary to those with severe impairments, we’re now taking action to improve services across the spectrum."

Care Services Minister, Phil Hope added: "Being able to communicate effectively is essential to a child's health and well-being as well as their education.

"The package we are announcing today demonstrates our commitment, across Government, to making better communication a reality for children everywhere."

(JM/BMcC)

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