Mother says community initiative helped daughter overcome speech difficulties

Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative celebrates 10-year anniversary

Laura Maguire, whose daughter Ava received a speech and language therapy support programme in Tallaght West,  at the 10 year celebration of the initiative. Photograph: Conor Healy/ Picture It Photography

Laura Maguire, whose daughter Ava received a speech and language therapy support programme in Tallaght West, at the 10 year celebration of the initiative. Photograph: Conor Healy/ Picture It Photography

 

A mother has said her daughter who was waiting a year for a speech and language assessment by the HSE, secured one within three months through a community based initiative in Tallaght.

The Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative (CDI), which works with local organisations to commission services for children, families and the community, celebrated its 10th anniversary on Tuesday.

Laura Maguire from Tallaght, enrolled her daughter Ava, who is now aged eight, in Fledglings preschool in Kiltipper in September 2012.

The preschool provides services such as speech and language therapy with the help of the CDI.

Ms Maguire said when her daughter was three-years-old she had a delay in her speech and the preschool was told this.

“Quite soon after, they came to me and said they had the service and would it be something that I would be interested in and obviously I was delighted that it was available there,” she told The Irish Times.

“At the time, the waiting list in the HSE (Health Service Executive) just even for an initial assessment was very long. She had already been a year on a waiting list for an assessment.

“We started her in the play school in September and by December she had an assessment in Fledglings through their services. From then on we had speech therapy every week for the first year she was there. She mightn’t have even had her initial assessment if we just stayed with the HSE waiting list.”

Ms Maguire said she and other parents met the occupational therapist and were given specific tips to use at home as well as individual programmes.

“She continued with it in the second year of preschool but it wasn’t as intense as the first year. She was discharged at the end of her two years and it hasn’t continued on to primary school, it hasn’t been a problem since. You wouldn’t know it was ever an issue now at this stage,” Ms Maguire added.

The CDI said it had benefited 12,000 adults and children since it was established in 2007.

It has received €22 million in funding, half of which came from the Government through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the remainder through philanthropies.

The CDI said it is resourced up to the middle of 2018 and called for “a longer term view and commitment from the Government”.

Chief executive Marian Quinn said “the idea is to engage with children and families as young as we can and also to pre-empt any issues or difficulties they may have and intervene as early as we can.

“Tallaght West is designated as disadvantaged. There are multiple statistics that demonstrate that children in Tallaght West underachieve, particularly educationally. Obviously that’s a massive part of why we’re here,” she said.

Since 2007, the CDI has helped provide speech and language therapy to 820 children and literacy and numeracy support to 1,440 children. Restorative practices training has been provided to 2,000 adults and 190 people.

“The speech and language therapy in early year services and in primary schools has proven to be really effective,” Ms Quinnsaid.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said the CDI “has been and remains a model of best practice”.