Gaining A Voice with Meath School: Daniel’s Story
Below Daniel’s mum, Emma, tells us about his progress since attending I CAN’s Meath School
My nine year old son, Daniel, started attending Meath – I CAN’s specialist speech and language school – in February 2012.
We first noticed that Daniel was struggling with his speech, language and communication at around 18 -20 months old. He was babbling but the only word he could say was ‘no’, and he would grunt and point at things to try to communicate with us. I mentioned my concerns about his speech to the Health Visitor at his two year check. She was absolutely fantastic and referred him for an assessment with the local NHS Speech and Language services. They said that he needed speech and language therapy, so he started attending group sessions. He hardly made any progress, it was very, very slow, and because of the breaks in therapy we tried to do activities with him at home as well.
We were told by the hospital that he would never talk, at this point he was only saying four or five words, and his speech was still very poor. They told us that he needed to go to a school with a speech and language unit to receive intensive speech and language therapy, and diagnosed him with oral dyspraxia and severe expressive and receptive language disorder.
We found out about Meath – I CAN’s specialist school, because I spent hours and hours, night after night, searching on the internet for the right school for Daniel. That’s how I found I CAN, so I called the Enquiry Service and spoke to one of the speech and language therapists to get some more information. The Local Authority agreed to pay for an assessment at Meath School where they described Daniel as having a phonological disorder as well as oral dyspraxia and an expressive and receptive language disorder.
As soon as I walked into Meath I just knew it was the right school. Seeing the way they taught, seeing other children like Daniel and just the whole atmosphere…I came out with a warm feeling and I completely fell in love with it. I was going to do anything and everything to get him in there.
Daniel started at Meath in February 2012 and it is just fantastic! There are nine children, one teacher, two teaching assistants and a speech and language therapist in his class, it’s almost one-to-one support! It’s just amazing, I couldn’t expect anything better for him.
Since going to Meath his confidence has grown so much. Three years on, he is such a confident little boy. He’s so happy and he’ll try to do anything once – nothing puts him off – and now he can speak in sentences! All the children at Meath are the same as Daniel and it makes such a difference, he’s not the only one in a class of thirty with these difficulties and the teachers are so patient and understanding – they’re really special.
The future is looking very bright for Daniel now, he can achieve what he wants to achieve and the sky is the limit. His Dad owns a computer business and he says one day he wants to be the boss and for his Dad to work for him…and if he carries on like this hopefully it will happen! He’s not letting this difficulty beat him. It’s not beating him, he’s beating it…and that’s what Meath has done for him.
Find out more about Meath School by visiting www.meathschool.org.uk
You can also learn about I CAN’s speech and language assessments here