SLCO cares about children and young people who struggle with their speech, language and communication.
For many years we have acted as a guide for parents and professionals who care for and support children who learn and think differently.
Throughout the pandemic we have been in contact with hundreds of families who have benefited from direct contact with our staff who are knowledgeable and experienced, and where needed we’ve provided essential direct support for children.
It is so important that in the constantly shifting landscape we all find ourselves in, that we take time to remind ourselves how vitally important it is for children to realise their potential and get the support that they need.
The needs of children who live with speech and language barriers can easily be overlooked. SLC problems are often termed ‘hidden’ disabilities. Let us not forget there is a voice that needs to be raised for those children who cannot speak for themselves.
We’re all aware about Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) which is a government aim and mantra but for many children who experience exclusion and barriers due to SLC problems, this is not a reality.
Parents and professional colleagues tell us stories every day about their frustrations and challenging experiences trying to access support for children who struggle due to poor speech, language and communication.
Whist families are still unable to access support from key services, largely due to the maelstrom of change particularly within statutory provision, there is a real fear about how much time will be lost in the lives of children at a time when they are in desperate need of the most vital intervention and support.
Speech language and communication problems affect all aspects of a child’s life, health, education emotional and social.
A family’s world can change very quickly once it becomes aware a child from within has a developmental delay, is not acquiring speech and language skills as expected, has learning and thinking differences. Finding out what the cause of a problem is takes time, parents and carers can be overwhelmed with how much there is to know and learn.
Parents tell us constantly it can be very difficult to find the information that they need and to access help when they need it. As an organisation, SLCO is parent-led and was built around concerned parents coming together to find help.
SLCO was formed to create and design a community of support for families across the country to have a point of contact, a range of resources for children and young people, and act as a forum and network to allow families to share their experiences and journeys. The very nature of SLC disorders and difficulties are so diverse, they are particular to each child and finding specialist support services that are designed to respond to children’s and families’ needs is thin on the ground.
Being able to speak with others who understand the range of problems that families experience when parenting children with an array of support needs is essential, there are so many different aspects involved in the life of a child with SLC needs in addition to the associated elements of education and wellbeing that are so integral to ensuring a happy child who has the opportunities required to reach their potential.
SLCO’s family network is an incredible source of strength and support for many families who can often feel isolated and out of the loop. It is with these thoughts in mind that we urge you to make contact with us if you have any concerns about your child’s communication.
Families are very much caught up with trying to navigate their way in a world that is suffering from a pandemic. Local services and support systems are reeling and taking a long time to reform the way they connect with the communities it seeks to serve.
It is within this critical time that children’s brains and children’s language develop and for SLC kids, time is precious. Early intervention is key. SLCO has not closed throughout the pandemic and tried to support children who would otherwise have been severely disadvantaged e.g. due to lack of access to clinical input.
Our clubs are design to support children to maintain social connections and build friendships, regain some of the confidence and resilience that may have been lost over the past year and a half.
Our parent support network is there to offer Helpline support which will respond straight away with someone to talk to and if necessary, we can arrange for one-to-one support what for more intensive support needs.
Don’t forget that parents are the key determinants of positive outcomes for children we’re here to help!