Mum uses grant to help children with speech issues

Jessica Brudenell and son Henry.

A mum has used her own experience of helping her son overcome developmental language disorder (DLD) to support other primary school children with speech and language issues.

Jessica Brudenell, joint secretary of the Friends of Crakehall School, has used money from Broadacres community development fund to help fund training for children, parents, and teachers at Crakehall and a cluster of other nearby village primary schools.

Faced with a lengthy NHS waiting list due to a shortage of specialists, Jessica sought private help for her son Henry. Now six, Henry has shown great improvement over the past year and is now not far behind his peers in terms of language development.

“Specialist support at an early age is vital but it can be very expensive and I’m aware not all families can afford it,” said Jessica.

“The NHS waiting list is very long and it’s vital that the condition is recognised and supported at an early stage so I thought we’d try to put something in place within local primary schools.”

Without support, children with DLD may struggle in school, have issues with social interaction, mental health, behaviour, and their challenges academically will likely hinder their access to a range of employment opportunities in the future.

It’s estimated up to one fifth of children have speech and language issues with lockdown and the lack of social interaction exacerbating the problem.

The Broadacres grant, together with other funds raised, will see a local speech and language therapist deliver training to parents, help raise awareness and provide support and re-assurance. Pupils in year 5 and 6 will also receive training on supporting younger children with DLD to ensure they don’t feel isolated.

The Broadacres Community Development Fund supports local organisations, groups, and projects in areas where Broadacres has homes. All grants are approved a Panel consisting of Broadacres’ residents.

To apply to the Fund visit https://www.broadacres.org.uk/customer-area/getting-involved/community-development-fund/