Newstalk
Newstalk

22.42 15 Apr 2021


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The Hard Shoulder is calling on the Government to 'Give Them A Voice'.

In recent weeks, the show has been highlighting the waiting lists for speech and language assessments and therapies, as well as the impact any delays can have on the development and education of children.

In highlighting these issues, the goal is to ensure a better service for the children who desperately need these services.

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Figures released to Newstalk under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that a total of 16,466 children are on the waiting list for their first assessment with a speech and language therapist.

More than 3,500 children are waiting over a year for a first assessment, with over 500 children waiting at least two years.

Children’s Rights Alliance CEO Tanya Ward says the figures are shocking, and delays in children accessing therapy will have a ‘big effect on them later in life’.

Last week, The Hard Shoulder exclusively revealed that the HSE had been ordered to stop removing specialists from special needs schools.

It came after the show spoke to principals and parents at some schools which were due to lose their on-site provisions such as speech and language therapy.

Schools set to be impacted included the Holy Family School for the Deaf in Dublin, as well as St Columba's National School in Douglas (which has a deaf unit with 34 children).

The issues had arisen due to the rollout of a new Progressing Disability Services programme.

However, Junior Minister Anne Rabbitte intervened to tell the HSE that no special school will lose any on-site provision as a result of the changes.

The Hard Shoulder will continue to campaign for improved waiting times for these children because they deserve better, and they've waited long enough.

If you or your family is impacted, the show would like to hear from you. Email thehardshoulder@newstalk.com.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA Images

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