Toddlers to be given speech lessons

Toddlers are to get speech lessons in a government drive to reduce the number of children unable to talk properly by the time they start school.

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I Can, the charity behind the scheme, said the amount of time young children spend watching TV has damaged their ability to communicate.

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One in 10 children across the UK has a communication disability, and 50% of children are entering primary school with impoverished language.

Research from I Can suggests children who can’t speak properly are at greater risk of dropping out of school and being unemployed by age 16.

The Early Talk programme will be offered to families at 200 children’s centres across England. The programme uses signing, gestures, symbols and pictures to expand children’s vocabulary.

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Parents will be taught how to interact with their children using speaking and listening skills. The programme will also provide specialist speech therapy training for all staff.

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