Parents urged to get help as speech referrals rise

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Parents urged to get help as speech referrals rise

The parents of a boy who struggled with his speech during the pandemic have urged others to seek help if they are concerned for their children.

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The couple from Powys said they were concerned when their son, three, became frustrated as he struggled to speak.

One expert told BBC Wales referrals had increased after Covid.

The Welsh government has launched a scheme to help children whose speech and language skills were affected by the lockdowns.

Coronavirus restrictions disrupted schools, nurseries and childcare businesses, which meant children did not spend as much time in each others' company, potentially affecting their communication skills.

Louise and Andy Davies, from Brecon, sought help when their three-year-old son Ethan became frustrated when he could not vocalise what he wanted to say.

Ms Davies said: "There's that initial worry and perhaps if people are afraid I would always say go and seek help and speak to your health visitor.

"If you do actually speak to other patients you'll find it's actually more common than people talk about."

She added: "I think there is a bit of a stigma in terms of you feel like it's bad parenting, or to admit that your child isn't doing as well as others is seen as a negative thing.

"But I would urge any parents to ask if everything's OK and to get that reassurance".

The Welsh government has launched the Talk With Me campaign, which provides speech and language advice to parents and carers.