adapting to the new normal – Keeping Speech & language therapy going through covid

We are very excited to announce that we have been successful in receiving funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.

One of the main areas of need for our children and young people is the area of communication. All our children /young people will have some level of learning disability and some difficulty with speech and language. The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group provides weekly speech and language sessions to its members during term time and has done so for nearly 20 years.

Speech and language sessions for our children and young people is about increasing their vocabulary, giving them clarity of speech, understanding of language, teaching signs but most of all increasing their confidence and self-esteem by encouraging them to speak, giving them the structure and words they need to do this.

Regular Speech and Language Therapy gives our young people the opportunity to develop their speech and comprehension skills, enabling them to go on to achieve far more than otherwise have been possible for them, and to become much better integrated it into the community.

Because of the outbreak of Coronavirus, the groups Trustees had to think outside the box and find an alternative way to continue to provide this crucial service. Which is when the idea of virtual speech came about.

One of our parents has said “My son would have lost so much progress if these sessions had not been put into place. He loves seeing the power points and seeing his name on the screen. Having the virtual sessions has helped him have that little bit of normality in these unsure times. He looks forward to the sessions.”

Kim West, the Chair of the Swindon Down’s Syndrome group has said “Speech therapy needs to become part of their everyday routine and brought into everyday situations. It’s about making it fun and normal, not different. The ability to communicate is such a basic need, it enables our young people to communicate choice, feelings, needs and allows them to socialise and in turn speak for themselves. For all of us, being able to communicate is a fundamental part of our ability to be a part of our communities, workplaces and families.”

Our virtual sessions are fun, and each session is backed up with home learning and resources to print or packs are sent out by the therapist to help continue the work covered in that session.

We are extremely grateful to the National Lottery and DCMS for this support and it will help us to continue with our virtual Speech and Language Therapy Group through this difficult time. This will really benefit the young people and ensure their future is safe while we are coming to terms with a different way of dealing with things.