Royal College award for Llyr

Praise for raising awareness on speech and language therapy

Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM has been honoured by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for his work in raising awareness of the importance of early language development.

Llyr Gruffydd AM said: “I’m honoured to receive this recognition from the RCSLT for taking up the issue of language and speech therapy in the Senedd.

“Research demonstrates the strong link between poverty and delays in language development, and there is an unacceptable and ongoing gap between the language skills of those from the poorest backgrounds and their peers from more affluent backgrounds. So, encouraging early language development is crucially important to close that attainment gap and to improve the life chances of our poorest children.

“Over half of the children in socially deprived areas may start school with impoverished speech, language and communication skills, and by the time that they’re three years old, children from the poorest 20 per cent of the population are nearly a year and a half behind a child in the highest income group in terms of language development.

“Children’s poor speech, language and communication skills have a profound impact later in life in terms of mental health problems, unemployment and other life chances. Six out of 10 of the young people in the youth justice estate have communication difficulties, and 88 per cent of long-term unemployed young men have speech, language and communication needs.

“These staggering statistics should be evidence enough for politicians and policy-makers to make speech and language therapy a higher priority in Wales. We must all continue to highlight these messages until everyone has access to the support they need.”

The ‘Giving Voice’ award will be made in the Royal College’s Honours Ceremony in Cardiff on Wednesday, October 3rd.

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