Saturday, 1 January 2011

Hello to 2011 and greater awareness of speech, language and communication

Happy New Year and welcome to Hello, the National Year of Communication!

Hello, the 2011 national year of communication, is a campaign to increase understanding of how important it is for children and young people to develop good communication skills. In the 21st century, the ability to communicate - to say what you want to say and to understand what other people are saying - is fundamental. Speech, language and communication underpins everything we do in life. Babbling babies do not become talkative toddlers by chance. Communication is a skill that we learn and develop and is something we can all improve.

But did you know that in the UK today over 1 million children and young people have some form of speech, language and communication need? This is at least 2 or 3 children in every classroom – and that’s the children we know about.
Difficulties with communicating can affect children and young people severely and for life. In areas of poverty, over 50% of children start school with delayed language skills. This puts them at a huge disadvantage to their peers as they struggle to learn and make friends.
Hello aims to make communication for all children and young people a priority in homes and schools across the UK so that they can live life to the full.

Small Talk Speech and Language Therapy are supporting the campaign by offering a series of free training sessions which follow the monthly themes hi-lighted by the campaign. I feel that this is a fantastic opportunity to hi-light the importance of speech, language and communication. We all know about dyslexia now which is a problem with written language but the incidence of spoken language difficulties is as high or worse. The general public, however are mainly unaware of the importance of spoken language or the crisis we are facing as skills decline. 

We at Small Talk have been extremely concerned about the problems for a while which led me to create a series of pre-school groups, Smart Talkers Pre-SchoolCommunication Groups which are run throughout Staffordshire and beyond. These are designed to help address the issues involved such as attention, listening, auditory memory, phonological awareness etc and better prepare children for the demands at school.

For more information about the hello Campaign or to register your interest in a free information session, contact Small Talk on 0844 704 5888 or

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