Caint, a support group for children with language impairment, was formed by parents who are finding it very difficult to get an adequate service for their language-impaired children.

What is speech and language impairment?

There are thousands of children who have difficulty in using speech and language. Children want to communicate, but cannot use words properly or understand what is being said to them. As a result, they find it hard to learn or to make friends. This difficulty is more common than most people realise—one in ten children experience difficulty with the use of language at some stage of their development. Some children understand what is said to them, but can’t use words to make themselves understood. Some have dyspraxia—difficulty in making the movements which produce speech.

Some children speak clearly in single words, but have difficulties linking them together, often leaving words out.

Some children have difficulties with listening and attention skills which affect the development of language. Some children have problems with short-term memory which prevent them using complex sentences.

Some have sequencing problems and find it difficult to put words in the right order.

Some children can speak clearly and at length, but often fail to get the point of a conversation, making inappropriate comments and replies.

Some children have difficulties understanding abstract ideas like time, emotions or make-believe. These children have trouble connecting ideas and using language socially.

Not understanding or being understood can be very frustrating and can lead to tantrums and behaviour difficulties. Many children with speech and language impairments have difficulties with written language (dyslexia).

Many children with speech and language impairments have other co-existing difficulties/disorders, such as autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder, Down Syndrome, etc.

Families also need support to get the right help for their children with speech and language impairments, to come to terms with their child’s disability, to prepare for their child’s future, to get access to an appropriate education, and to guide their child into appropriate employment in the future.

The aims of the support group Caint are:

  • To provide information on assessment, diagnosis and educational services
  • To provide opportunities for parents and professionals to share information and experiences and build upon them.
  • To work alongside other organisations who share Caint’s interest in the fields of education, health training and employment
  • To liaise with government in order to improve existing services and available support.
  • To raise awareness of the difficulties of language-impaired children
What help do these children need?

Children and young people with speech and language impairments need early recognition of their difficulties. They need assessment by trained and experienced professionals, speech and language therapy and specialist teaching in schools or language units, and later in colleges of further education.

Caint holds monthly meetings for parents in Dublin. For further information, please contact Geraldine, 01-282 3584; Bernie 01-836 8267; or Dee 01-840 4349.


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