Government allocates funds to help children communicate


A dozen organisations will receive grants totalling £500 000, as part of a government action plan to improve services for children and young people with communication problems in England.
Ed Balls, the children’s secretary, and Phil Hope, the care services minister, also announced the 16 pilot areas that will receive £2 million to help identify good practice in supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.
The government has also begun recruiting a “communication champion” to raise awareness, oversee reforms, and lead the National Year of Speech, Language and Communication in 2011-2012.
And the University of Warwick has been selected to lead a team delivering a three-year, £1.5million programme to research the cost-effectiveness of “interventions” for children with speech, language and communication needs.
The 12 organisations receiving grants all work to support children who use alternative or augmentative communication, such as signing, picture charts and electronic communication devices.
The announcements were part of the government’s £12 million speech, language and communication needs action plan, Better Communication, launched last December.
The plan was in response to a government-commissioned review of services for children with communication needs by the Conservative MP John Bercow.
Balls said: “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.”
9 July 2009