A new platform of interactive online resources has been launched to support parents and carers of children with speech, language, and communication needs. The all-new series of webpages offer a wealth of tailored information for children from 18 months up to over 11 years old.

The Children’s Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) team at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust (BDCFT) is behind the launch and say they will make an enormous difference to how the community can support these children.

One local parent, Thelina, says the pages are long awaited and will make a real difference to anyone who finds themselves in the situation she was in two years ago, when her son Kobe was referred to the service.

Mum, Thelina explained: “I always thought Kobe was struggling – he used to get upset about going to school and it took him quite a bit longer than everybody else to get where he needed to be. The more he progressed, the harder he found it.”Mum Thelina and son Kobe

“He did his best but it became too difficult. The team were honestly absolutely fantastic with him. They did a few assessments, played board games with him if he got upset, and diagnosed him after seeing him twice.”

Kobe was diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and the service has since been supporting him in school. Kobe says the help has been useful, explaining: “They give me a card with a sad face and a happy face to show the teacher if I need help, as I find it harder to tell them what I’m feeling. They also talk to me and make sure I’m okay and happy, and that the teachers are helping me.”

Thelina felt terrified when she first got Kobe’s diagnosis having never heard of DLD before. She said: “The information online was minimal. It just told you the basics and that didn’t feel like enough. I think I found one page online, so we absolutely would have benefited from more.”

The online resources are organised by age group and broken down into key areas that cover help with understanding, talking, social interaction and speech sounds. For older children, there is also information on stammering.

On the pages, parents and carers will find short videos explaining strategies to use with their child during everyday routines, as well as a range of ‘quick links’ which pull further useful tools and websites together in one place.

Professionals working with children who need additional support are being encouraged to take a look at the pages too, with a whole ‘Professionals’ section dedicated to helping them to work with young people and make referrals if needed.

Claire Lingard, highly specialist speech and language therapist (Developmental Language Disorders) at the Care Trust says: “We have been working on these webpages for a long time and cannot wait for parents, carers and professionals to start using them. They will be a really valuable source of guidance, offering those supporting children, with speech, language and communication needs more information and proactive tools to use.”

“We advise people to choose one or two strategies to try at a time.”

Mum, Thelina has really noticed a difference in Kobe since they’ve been working with the SaLT team. She said: “I’ve seen a complete change in him. Knowing what he has and explaining to him that everybody’s different has given him so much more confidence.

“He’s happy to go to school now and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Visit the Children’s Speech and Language Therapy pages now to get advice and guidance on how to support a child with speech, language and communication needs.

If you are unsure what to expect and when in terms of your child’s speech and language development, you can use the Ages and Stages Guide to Speech and Language Development on www.speechandlanguage.org.uk to find out more.