Delays accessing speech and language therapy in Tipp “not good enough”

Access to speech and language services in Tipperary is just not good enough.

That’s according to Eimear Ryan, a speech and language therapist with Down Syndrome Tipperary.

Eimear has written a book called ‘Anna’s Big Shopping Adventure’ for kids and parents who need help with their speech and language development.

She hopes the book will help to support parents of children waiting on speech and language services but says the long waiting lists are not acceptable.

“The access for services at the moment basically means that you’re on a waiting list for about 2 to 3 years before you’re seen by a speech and language therapist and really, a lot of families are in limbo, they have no idea what to be doing in that time.

“Stress is really high as you can imagine when they don’t know what to be doing in the meantime when they’re not sure when their child will be seen. So really, I wrote the book in an effort to reduce that frustration and try give parents some practical tips and guidance on what to do in the meantime while they’re waiting to access services.”

She also says that because of the long waiting lists children and parents face to access services, she wanted to do something to help in the meantime.

“At the start of the book, there is a section for parents that describes three key strategies on how to support language development and bring out more language and participation in their child during book reading.

“So for example, one of those – I know a lot of people with disabilities use lámh signs – so one of those strategies in the book is all of the key words, so the words that are highly repeated, the words that are most important for understanding the story are highlighted in the book.”