“Parents often feel isolated and uncertain of how to proceed if they can’t get the right speech and language support for their children”, says a Dundee-based charity.
The Speech Language Communication Company aims to shine a light on children with speech and language issues and provides support for parents through family drop-ins, events and networking.
“Our services are free and tailored to the needs of the whole family: the world of speech and language difficulties is complex for mums and dads to navigate. Children are unique, the way they communicate is unique, which means there are no clear-cut answers, no off-the shelf solutions or guaranteed outcomes,” says executive director Arianna Patterson.
Around one in ten children need help with their speech and language, and the charity’s team work with children and young people throughout Scotland who find being in school a real challenge and are often excluded and bullied because of their inability to communicate. Children like Jack, a lively four-year-old with speech, language difficulties which his mum Mandy first noticed when he was around two.
Mandy contacted the charity when she heard about the Family Support Programme as she felt isolated and unsure of how best to support Jack.
“Mandy came to our services feeling worried, exasperated and inadequate in her role as a mother – she felt that she had failed her son in some way,” says Arianna.
“A support package which included coaching on a one-to-one basis to help boost Jack’s functional language, attending activity based children and family sessions and just being part of a parent sharing and learning community, has given Mandy self-confidence and extra practical skills. We recognise parents as the experts in their children’s lives and focus on understanding what works best for them. ”
According to Mandy, “There is no book to tell you how to care for a child who can’t grasp language or speak in the same way you do. I felt incredibly frustrated watching my son try to speak to me and make himself understood. I just didn’t know how to go about helping him or where to go for help really.
“You are on your own as a parent. My family and friends were helpful, telling me everything would be okay, but they didn’t really understand Jack’s problem.
“I couldn’t praise SLCo highly enough: I felt more relaxed after just one meeting. I felt it might be me that was the issue, not being a good or proper mum. I didn’t have the confidence to ask for help and things got really stressful. I feel so much better now that I know so much more.
“It’s not easy not knowing what is ahead for Jack but he has improved with the speech and language therapist’s help and us being involved with SLCo; it’s been a great help for our family.”
If you’re a parent of a child with speech, language and communication difficulties, visit speech-language-communication-company.uk to see how they can help your family.
The charity is also looking for businesses to partner with – call Arianna today on 07580 022151 to find out how you could help support children like Jack.