Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has called on the Government to increase the number of speech and language therapists in schools and pre-schools to reduce waiting times for supports across the country. The latest figures from the HSE reveal that there are more than 8,000 people (children and adults) waiting for treatment.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The integration of speech and language therapy into a school setting would not only alleviate the waiting lists, it would also give students regular access to a therapist cutting down on long waiting times. The most recent HSE stats show that there are more than 1,600 people waiting for speech and language therapy for over one year. These long delays undoubtedly are having an impact on children’s outcomes and should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“A key way to address the lengthy waiting times would be to assign a therapist to schools as required. Because of the difference in school sizes across the country, some therapists could be assigned to a number of schools in a specific locality.
“There is ongoing concern about disparities in the provision of resources for special needs in our schools. It is imperative that they be addressed and a ramping up of recruitment of therapists combined with a programme that would see them integrated into schools and pre-schools could go a long way to addressing this”.