As the UK gradually eases out of lockdown restrictions, a growing number of professional associations and charities are calling for increased resourcing around speech, language and communication therapy.
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists this week announced their support for a petition calling on the government to back SLT resourcing in the wake of the pandemic. A report released by the RCSLT found that people in the UK were receiving far less speech and language therapy during the initial lockdown, with 81% having received less, and 62% of those who previously received support reporting that they had received none. Overall, the report found lockdown had a negative impact on children and young people’s speech, language and communication.
This won’t come as a surprise for those in the world of SLT – as reported recently by the BBC, there is evidence that lockdowns have negatively impacted children’s speech and language development, with a particular concern that build-back support has not been there for the early years. It was found that many younger people had missed out on face-to-face assessments through the pandemic and multiple lockdowns.
With a noted backlog for those who had already been receiving support pre-pandemic, early detection and intervention is becoming even more critical. Family-led interventions such as Paediatric Autism Communication Therapy (PACT) and short, effective predictive batteries like the Early Sociocognitive Battery (ESB) can cut waiting times and equip parents, carers and health workers with tangible strategies and actions – saving money, time and resources, and empowering parents, carers and children alike.
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