Department for Education
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New help for children who stammer

New help for children who stammer

DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES News Release (2008/0076) issued by The Government News Network on 28 April 2008

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, announced today that The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children will receive £340,000 to provide schools across the country with information, advice and training materials on how best to support children and young people who stammer.

The Michael Palin Centre, a world leader in this field, will develop a stammering information programme that will be rolled out to all schools by 2010. The Centre will work with young people, their families, local speech and language therapy services and school staff to develop the materials and training packages.

It is estimated that around 5% of children experience some difficulty with their fluency at some time during the development of their speech and language. Stammering has a major impact on children's academic and social lives - children with a stammer are more likely to become withdrawn or anxious and can become the focus of bullying. This funding will enable schools to better meet the needs of this vulnerable group of children and young people.

Ed Balls said:

"I saw on my visit to the Michael Palin Centre last year how, with patience and expertise, the therapists there help children and their families to overcome or alleviate stammers. The training and information that schools will receive as a result of this funding will mean they can better understand the condition and how best to support pupils who stammer.

"Our aim is to make this the best place in the world for our children to grow up, and for children and young people with stammers we can do that by providing the help and support they need to make the most of their talents."

Michael Palin said:

"I am delighted that the Department of Children, Schools and Families has recognised the importance and effectiveness of the work at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children. Their support for the work, backed up by generous investment, is wonderfully encouraging news for those who stammer and those who seek to help them."

The Bercow Review, which the Government commissioned in September 2007, aims to improve services for children and young people from birth to 19 who have speech, language and communications difficulties, which could range from a delay in speaking to a severe stammer, or could be related to other disabilities such as autism or cerebral palsy. Over 2,000 people responded to the Review's consultation, with almost 1,000 responses from families.

The Government has also invested in measures to address children's speech, language and communication needs, for example through the Children's Centres programme, and numbers of speech and language therapists have increased by over a third between 1997 and 2006.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Michael Palin Centre will use a two stage programme to provide schools across the country with information, advice and training materials on how best to support children and young people who stammer:

* Foundation Level - where participants would gain basic information to recognise stammering and straightforward strategies to help children and young people communicate more effectively in their educational environment.

* Specialist Level - where participants would gain detailed information about the nature of stammering, its social and educational impact and practical guidance on appraising its severity and the reasonable adjustments that could support a child or young person with a stammer.

2. The training materials will be developed and piloted between 2008 and 2010, with all schools hoping to receive material and information by the end of 2010. The resources will also be available online.

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