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October 27, 2002

Speech therapists seek to assist primary students

From: Barbados Advocate, West Indies
Oct. 27, 2002

by Jenique Millington

A CALL has been made for speech therapists to be placed in primary schools across the island.

The call came from Nina Goodson, speech therapist at the Barbados Speech and Hearing Centre Nina Godson, who called on Government to become more understanding as to the need to place speech therapists in schools especially in those providing primary education.

“They need therapists on site to help these children in the early stages instead of waiting until it continues to negatively affect their present, and as a result, future education. More in-service training needs to be done in both schools and in other health care professions to educate that there are speech therapists here and what our role is,” she said.

Stating that there are only six speech therapists located in the island, Godson said there was “not a large speech therapy department in the hospital. There is every other department besides speech. We tend to come under ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) but there are no speech therapists there. “So unfortunately that part of the client’s care is being left out because the Government doesn’t have enough funds to place there.”

Godson also said these children are often the ones who fall behind in the school systems because of this lack. “Five per cent of all children enter school with some kind of speech impediment,” said Godson before calling for earlier intervention within the schools to aid the children before the impediment worsens and their learning is heavily affected by it.

She said when this happened the children are unable “to reach the full achievement of what they could do with the therapy early on.” Godson concluded, “I would like to see the Government open more places for speech therapists especially in the schools as there is no better place than within that environment to be right there facilitating them.”

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