It's good to talk

By Dr Wirin Bhatiani

More than 1.4 million children and young people in the UK have speech, language and communication difficulties.

This is a worrying statistic that has a real impact on children’s lives and their opportunities to succeed.

Children with communication difficulties are more likely to have poorer educational outcomes which can affect their future life chances.

Many children with identified behaviour needs also have previously unidentified speech, language, and communication needs.

Self-esteem and confidence can be severely affected by communication difficulties.

Studies have shown that better communication skills help to improve not only a child’s educational outcomes, but their prospects throughout their life.

Bolton has already done excellent work to make sure children start school with the skills they need.

And now, I’m delighted to see the launch of The Bolton Communication and Language Pathway.

This aims to ensure that professionals working with families provide the right support and advice, at the right time, to improve children’s language and communication skills.

This new pathway is supported by Bolton’s Integrated Early Years Communication and Language Development Service, a collaboration between Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton Council Start Well Service and Bolton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The Covid pandemic has shown us just how crucial a child’s early development is – and how easily it can be disrupted.

A recent report by the education watchdog Ofsted found that children who were hardest hit by school closures and restrictions had regressed in some basic skills and learning. Some young children, who were previously potty-trained, had even lapsed back into using nappies.

Every child deserves to have the best possible start to life. We must all work together to ensure that children have the same opportunities to succeed, no matter what their background is or where they grow up.

More information about the Bolton’s Integrated Early Years Communication and Language Pathway is available online.

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