Minister: Free Speech & Language Screenings

June 26, 2013

The Minister of Health and Seniors Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said she wishes to remind parents and guardians of children entering Government Primary One classrooms this September that, even if you participated in the testing of two year old children offered by the Department of Education’s Child Development Programme, you should take advantage of the upcoming free speech and language screening available to all incoming P1 students through the Department of Health.

Parents and guardians who attended P1 Parent Orientation meetings have already been advised of this screening, which will take place from July 1 to 12, 2013.

Those who still need to register must make an appointment by calling the Coordinator for Speech and Language Services with the Department of Health, Susan Price Barrett, at 278-6429. Appointments will be on a first-come, first-served basis and parents and guardians are encouraged to make their appointment as soon as possible.

Parents or guardians will be required to accompany their child to the brief screening session and a therapist will be on hand to discuss any concerns.

“I would like to stress to parents the importance of this screening to ensure that their child’s communication readiness skills are developing at the appropriate level for success in social interactions, classroom activities and for the development of literacy skills,” said Minister Gordon-Pamplin.

“Strong speech and language skills are at the heart of education and provide a firm foundation for learning. If we are not able to attend while others are talking, or to follow verbal directions, if it is a challenge to answer questions or to be able to tell about familiar experiences, we may not be able to apply these skills in the classroom or experience success at school.”

“Good communication, therefore, is the key to success socially. It lays the foundation for academic success and for achieving our career goals. It is one of the tools for building a healthy community.”

These screenings, carried out by the Speech-Language Pathologists from the Department of Health, may detect communication weaknesses. Early detection allows for early intervention, possibly reducing or preventing a negative impact on a child’s classroom success.

It should be noted that students who will be entering P1 in September, 2013 for whom Speech and Language Services have already been identified, do not need to attend the screening.

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