Great News! The other day, the Afasic Helpline received a call from a parent who was so dissatisfied with the speech and language therapy service locally that she complained – and was immediately offered a meeting to discuss her concerns. This is really what Afasic is all about and it would be great to hear of more parents taking action. We could even post success stories on our website – to show what can be done.
Afasic Helpline : 30 September 2015 3:01 pm : Helpline Blog
Many parents who contact the Afasic Helpline seem to consider their child’s speech and language difficulties to be a relatively ‘mild’ problem. This is astounding when you stop to think how much we rely on talking, reading and listening for almost every aspect of our daily lives. Indeed, in a very real sense, speech and language largely define what it is to be human. As Wittgenstein said, ” The limits of my language are the limits of my world”. If your child has significant speech and language needs, they are likely to face very real difficulties at school and elsewhere. So you should take it seriously, but please don’t panic. There is help available, and the Afasic Helpline can help you access it. Call us any time you’re concerned.
We’ve recently received several queries as a direct result of the radio programme featuring Dorothy Bishop. They were all from parents who had struggled for some time to understand their children’s difficulties and get them taken seriously. There must be lots more parents in this position – who need the Helpline but do not know about us. Please help us to help them and spread the word.
The Afasic Helpline team have been rather disturbed to hear recently that a number of language units and bases around the country apparently have empty places. In Afasic’s experience, few mainstream schools are able to understand or meet the needs of children with severe speech and language difficulties and, ever since the charity was founded, we have campaigned hard for specialist resources to be set up for them. Some local authorities, I’m glad to say, do share our point of view. Only just this term, for example, a new secondary provision has opened in Croydon, in south London.
But clearly, in other parts of the country, the situation is very different. It’s not clear why. Are LAs just not telling parents about units? Or is nobody explaining to parents how disabling speech and language difficulties can be? Or is it a bit of both? One thing, though is clear. In these cash-strapped times, local authorities will not be willing to keep half empty units open indefinitely. In fact we have only just heard of proposals in one authority to close all their units. So the message to parents is obvious: Use your units or lose them!
Afasic Helpline : 31 July 2012 3:05 pm : Helpline Blog
Here’s an interesting question. On the Afasic helpline recently, I’ve asked a couple of parents, ‘Does your child understand what you’re saying?’, only for them to reply, ‘Oh yes, he’s not stupid!’ Well, of course that wasn’t what I meant. Afasic, after all, is primarily about specific speech and language impairments. Yet, there seems to be an almost instinctive tendency for people to associate comprehension and intelligence. Even the Equality Act guidance describes understanding language as a cognitive skill, while a speech difficulty is listed as a stand alone disorder. So why do we so frequently equate the two? I think it is probably because we depend so much on understanding language to learn, that any difficulty with the former will inevitably impact on the latter, especially once children start school and cannot rely on visual cues in the way they do at home.