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Thursday, 24 February 2011
Page: 1415

Mrs PRENTICE (1:49 PM) —I speak today in praise of an initiative of the CHI.L.D Association in Ryan, the Glenleighden School. The school is the only one of its kind, providing invaluable support, assistance and education for children with a serious disability. Catering for children with severe speech and language impairment, it provides a multidisciplinary program involving a range of specialist therapies within an educational setting.

The Glenleighden School works in partnership with the Let’s Talk Speech and Language Professional Centre and has recently launched a campaign to raise awareness of primary language disorder and have it recognised by the government as a disability. PLD is a developmental disorder that affects how a child thinks about, understands and uses language. The difficulties children with PLD face in dealing with the complexities of language impact drastically on their overall development, particularly their capacity to access an educational curriculum. PLD children struggle with learning and can be easily distracted, readily given to frustration and reluctant to learn new skills. In short, it is a disability that has a significant lifelong effect on a child. Not being able to communicate or to understand others and being unable to deal with the complexities of life in general is a very serious disability.

That is why the Glenleighden School was founded. The approach is to address a child’s problems individually, to provide them with an opportunity to be able to speak and use language properly, greatly improving their outlook and chance in life. Under Glenleighden’s structure, many of the students are able to transition into mainstream schools.

The work of the Glenleighden School is truly life changing. As an independent special school, the organisation must proactively seek out any support that it requires. The executive principal, Ms Vikki Rose Graydon, and the CHI.L.D Association are currently seeking to have PLD included under the Better Start For Children with a Disability initiative. I commend the efforts of the Glenleighden School—(Time expired)