When Adam was two and a half, his Public Health Nurse noticed his speech was very unclear. She referred him to audiology services for hearing tests.
He had hearing tests every six months for three years but didn’t receive a referral for treatment. During this time he became very introverted.
While waiting for his grommets surgery Adam was assessed for Speech and Language Therapy needs. His language abilities were assessed to be very poor. Adam’s parents were dismayed to find it would take another 12 months to access treatment.
By this stage his confidence had been really knocked and he wouldn’t say a single word in pre-school, despite being there four hours per day. He played alongside other children but wouldn’t interact with them. Because he couldn’t express his feelings his teachers found it hard to help him when he was upset. His parents were really worried for him.
His confidence was so low that when he finally received Speech and Language Therapy he wouldn’t engage with the Therapist for the first three of four sessions. The next year he was referred for Assessment of Need, but it was deemed he didn’t require one and was sent instead for more Speech and Language Therapy.
His parents were told he had the language skills of a three year old despite being five years of age.
He received five therapy sessions but that was it. Last year Adam started school. His parents say the teachers are great with him and he loves school; but they worried he still wasn’t mixing or communicating with the other children.
Adam finally received a referral to a surgeon to have grommets fitted in his ears. This and the support he received at school helped his confidence no end. There was still no sign of further Speech and Language Therapy, however, so his parents took the difficult decision to pay for private therapy.
At €160 per session per month they could ill afford it but felt they had no other option. Adam began to make great progress. His parents are relieved he’s finally getting the help he needed and are grateful for the support of their GP and the teachers in Adam’s school.
They are frustrated and angry with the length of time Adam had to wait for grommets and Speech and Language Therapy. It’s time they feel he will never get back.
Adam’s parent shared his story with Barnardos. Barnardos did not work directly with Adam or his family.