Together we have shared both professional and personal challenges.
We all know friends and colleagues who have been unwell – some quite seriously and there have also been deaths
We have been marooned at home – in some cases juggling work with family commitments or trying to support friends and neighbours who have been self-isolating. One of our therapists stepped in at her foodbank – filling the gaps left by older, retired volunteers who had to withdraw because of the health. Those of us with young children have survived the rigours of home-schooling and have renewed admiration for those good teachers out there!
Once the schools began to open up again, the reality of the wasted months really struck home. Despite the best efforts of on-line lessons and the provision of parent packs and resources, many parents of the youngest children were just not equipped to deliver effective and consistent home-schooling. So much early learning is via play, practical activities and socialising with others!
In reality, swathes of children have made little of no progress and others have actually regressed. Some may never make up those lost months.
On a positive note, Covid catch-up funding has given schools the opportunity to purchase external help to address the priorities 9from bereavement counselling to language boosters) for their cohorts. We are supporting settings to deliver targeted interventions associated with vocabulary and narrative as well as reinforcing the tried and tested universal strategies like Wellcomm and Attention and Listening.
The impact of speech and language support is now even more in evidence. Our services have been inundated with new enquiries for support for the coming academic year. Whilst this sounds like good news from a ‘business’ point of view, profit is (and never has been) our primary consideration.
Although, for as long as we can remember, demand for NHS speech and language therapy has outstripped supply, there is now the very real possibility that this will also be the case in terms of independent provider availability.
The scarcity of provision for so many very needy children and young people is such a sad indictment of our times. Let’s hope that the powerful forces behind the social mobility agenda don’t take their eyes of the ball......