Thursday, 3 January 2013

Why the Children's Centres need Smart Talkers Pre-School Communication groups

I've been looking at the facts and figures to inform my presentation for the next round of the tender process and I wanted to share these with you:

Why is there a need for early intervention?

  • Good communication impacts positively on learning and vice versa
  • A child’s language skills at aged 5 years predict educational success and outcomes aged 30 (Feinstein & Duckworth, 2006)
  • At 22 months a child’s development can predict outcomes aged 26 (Feinstein & Allen, 2011)
  • By 4 years the difference in the number of words different groups hear is 19million (Hart & Risley 1995, Roulestone et al 2011)

How big is the problem?

  • 1 in 6 3 year olds has a recognised speech, language or communication difficulty while ‘many, many more have delays which are not officially recognised’ (Jean Gross, Jan 2011)
  • At least 40,000 children start school each year without the necessary levels of spoken language ability (Professor Jannet Wright, 2009)
  • 50% of children from some socio-economic areas  (75% in Stoke) according to the Bercow report (2008)

  There are 2 types of problem:

  • Specific speech, language and communication difficulties affect 7% of school children (Locke, 2003). These are problems which cannot be prevented by good parenting
  • That leaves up to 43% of children who have S, L a C problems because of parenting

Why is this?

  • During first 8 months of a baby’s life,  there is an 8 fold increase in synaptic density, while the developing neurons in the brain are actively ‘seeking’ their appropriate connections (Perry, 2002)
  • Extra connection brain cells grow or die depending on the response they get
  • 75% of brain growth between birth and 2 (Hodas, 2006)


Communication difficulties affect:
  • Behaviour
  • Social development 
  •  Emotional development
  • Learning (spoken language is the foundation)
  •  i.e. everything!

"The ability to communicate is central to all that we do, to who we are, how we learn and how we relate to others“ (Ross, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2007)

Why look at before school?

Studies inc. Frank Field report (2010), Graham Allen (2011)  and the Ticknell  review of the EYFS 2011 conclude that early intervention:
  • Improves outcome
  • Helps identify communication difficulties vs. delay
  • Is effective and cost efficient (ICAN)
  • May maximise language acquisition
  • May minimise secondary issues

 We work with the children on a framework:

We also work with parents

  • Low key demonstration: powerful and non-threatening
  • Reasons, means and opportunities to communicate (e.g. change nappies 5 times daily so 5 opportunities here alone!)
  • Break it down into logical aims with appropriate activities which the children enjoy
  • Available to discuss anything they’re worried about
  • Consult with them over delivery and planning
  • Can sign-post to other services inc NHS SLT
So, if you are reading this Commissioners, you know what to do.....

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