The Speech Language Communication Company (SLCo) is a Scottish Registered Charity dedicated to supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication problems.
Thousands of young people across Scotland struggle with their speech, language and communication.
Over 10 % of ALL children live with a speech or language impairment.
Children and young people who struggle with their speech and language need special support from people who understand how difficult it is for them to get through each day without having the ability to communicate like the majority of us do.
We don't think about people who can't communicate do we? We never stop talking and interacting with our family and friends. It's non-stop.
But it's not like that for children who struggle to understand what's been said to them.
They need time to process the information coming into their brain and then really think about how to form a response.
They are often left behind because life is too fast giving them too little time to catch up.
Getting through school and conforming to standard education can be a nightmare.
Children often lack confidence and their communication difficulties make it hard for them to go out alone or make friends.
They often experience social isolation, bullying and poor mental health.
Take a moment, think about how your life might be if you couldn't just turn around and talk to your family and friends?
So what do we do to help give children a voice?
SLCo is a licensed provider for Lego-based therapy - we use it with kids to build social communication. In 2019 we piloted a Dundee Digital Robotics club, where 10-15 year-olds build Marty the Robot. Loads of kids wanted to go but w didn't have enough money.
We want to pilot a new club for younger kids (6-10) who love building and coding! Led by trained coaches, clubs help with social communication, turn-taking and co-operation. Clubs are fun and help isolated kids learn to work and play together and most importantly make friends.
Our original fundraising goal of £2000 will cover the cost of our staff (one robotics coach and 2 trained support lego play staff) plus volunteer costs and administration for the club to run a 3 hour club, once a week for 10 weeks. We'll probably support around 10 kids. Do the math - it doesn't cost much per child to make a difference.
We often need a higher ratio of support staff than a mainstream club in order to support children on a 1:1 basis when needed. Our trained volunteers help.
Communication barriers and sensitivities around being in a group make it difficult for kids to make connections and build relationships so having skilled, patient, committed and emotionally intelligent people around is really important.
Our £2000 will cover the staffing costs, volunteer travel, the venue cost, and of course the safety elements we need to run a club including safeguarding and insurance. The club's general administration and management is supported by the charity's main office in Dundee.
We already have Robots and lots of lego style bricks and models to build so no extra costs there.
Please see Update 1 for full info on why our target is now £750. During the COVID 19 emergency it is not possible for clubs to take place. Meeting the target can help our mascots Fred + Tallulah keep help our SLCo club kids keep in touch virtually, learn together and keep safe. We all look forward to when Marty and friends will be back face to face!
- Kids that don't communicate very well need people to help them so that their voices can be heard.
- Kids that don't understand language find it difficult to make friends.
- Kids that don't fit easily into a fast-talking world get left behind.
- Kids that people believe in start to thrive - we've seen it, just watch the Marty video!
Every single one of us reading this could help support the voice of a child - that few pounds we spend on a coffee or two might be a priceless gift to a child who would benefit from having the opportunity of making friends. Are you ready?