YOUNG people with speech, language and communication needs face ongoing difficulties at schools, colleges, universities – and when getting on with their daily lives.

Linda Lascelles, chief executive of Afasic, the parent-led charity for children and young adults with communication impairments, said: “For young people with communication needs, secondary school can be a difficult place.

“Young people can have very different perspectives than their teachers or parents on what it is like to be at school and what support they need.”

Dr Victoria Joffe, Reader in Developmental Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties at the City University London, said that despite the 2008 Bercow review highlighting the gap in speech and language services for secondary aged students, there was still a continued lack of facilities.

“While some improvements have been made and awareness has been raised in some areas, the reality is that particularly for secondary aged students there are still big inconsistencies in terms of local speech and language resources. It really is a postcode lottery with no uniformity across areas and in most cases significant gaps in services.

“There are also virtually no services available for young adults after they have left school.”

Afasic Cymru stages a Communication Counts conference and exhibition at Glyndwr University, Wrexham on September 21-22.

The event is open to teachers and support staff, speech and language therapists and other health professionals, parents/carers and children and young people with SLI/SLCN.

Tel, 0845 3555577


ONE in ten young people leaving education may struggle to find employment and form relationships because their speech, language and communication difficulties went unrecognised at secondary school, according to a new report from the children’s communication charity, I CAN.

Virginia Beardshaw, chief executive of I CAN, said: “Poor communication can limit employment opportunities for young people and affect their social and emotional well being.

“There is an urgent need to support communication development through adolescence. Otherwise we risk consigning a huge proportion of Britain’s young people to a life of missed opportunity and unfulfilled promise.”