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Celebrating the launch of the De Montfort University Speech and Language Centre – Students delivering I CAN’s Early Talk Boost

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A celebration event was held to officially launch the Speech and Language Therapy Centre based at Leicester’s Centre for Integrated Living (LCiL). The provision has been developed thanks to a partnership between Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) and De Montfort University (DMU) #DMUlocal, and ensures that Speech and Language Therapy students are supported to gain hands-on clinical experience during their placements while enhancing local speech and language services. As part of the first placements to run from the centre, 10 students were involved in the delivery of I CAN‘s Early Talk Boost groups to local settings.

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In an exciting link between I CAN and DMU, Speech & Language Therapy students and local early years staff have enjoyed the Early Talk Boost practitioner one day course, learning how to deliver the nine week programme and developing their skills. Since then a group of students have worked with colleagues in local education settings to deliver Early Talk Boost to 25 pre-school children identified as having delayed language development. Staff and parents across all settings have commented on the positive impact of the groups on children’s language skills and confidence within the classroom. With groups completed just before the end of the spring term, all at the DMU Speech & Language Centre look forward to measuring the progress made by the children, gathering the opinions of all involved and sharing the results.

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At the launch event, children’s Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) Idalina Rodrigues, pictured with 2nd Year Speech and Language Therapy student Shagufta Ghumra, presented the work that students had been doing within the heart of the local community. Talking about her experience running I CAN’s Early Talk Boost, Shagufta said: “It’s been fantastic to have the opportunity to make informed decisions, and it’s really helped me grow in confidence.” 

Professor Adrian Childs, LPTs chief nurse and deputy chief executive, said: “These placements provide a great opportunity for speech and language therapy students to experience neighbourhood working right in the heart of the community.” 

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Idalina commented on the overall impact that this exciting venture has had: “The benefits of team working by our local education settings, NHS Trust, University and I CAN are enormous. SLT students develop practical and essential skills whilst delivering this evidence based programme and children and families gain from early language support, essential for developing their communication skills.”

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Shagufta commented on her experience saying, “My absolute favourite part of running I CAN’s Early Talk Boost groups has been knowing and appreciating that as students we are making a difference to these children’s lives… Watching the children contributing, making friendships and participating in the groups has been heart-warming and rewarding.”