I CAN: Children's communication charity

I can’t recall how I first came across I CAN  but I wrote about this charity on the original version of AllAboutSpecialNeeds.com so I have recreated that entry here. I am reminded once again re-reading this that, whilst its all too easy to focus on the bad and distressing news that is reported endlessly in our media, there are many many good people and organisations out there quietly and effectively going about doing good work!

I CAN is a UK-based children’s communication charity (Registered Charity Number: 210031)

I CAN works to foster the development of speech, language and communication skills in all children with a special focus on those who find this hard: children with a communication disability.

According to their press release “As many as half of all children are entering primary schools without the speech and language skills that they need to learn, make friends and achieve. One in ten children (or 1.2 million) has a communication disability in the UK. That’s almost three in every classroom. In addition to this, as many as half of all children are entering primary schools with impoverished speech and language skills.

Ignoring communication disability, [in the] longer term [lead to] communication difficulties that need specialist support and help, children’s communication costs the individual, the family and the nation.”

I CAN’s role

I CAN is the children’s communication charity providing programmes that:

  • Create communication friendly settings for children in their early years
  • Deliver specialist therapy and education for children with the most severe and complex difficulties
  • Help professionals from across the children’s workforce to better support children’s communication needs through training and information services
  • Help parents access the information that they need to support their child

We also work to ensure that the needs of these children are taken into account in all children’s policy and carry out research to find the best ways to support these children.

Schools

I CAN own and run two non-maintained schools for children with severe and complex communication disabilities.

  • Meath School in Surrey caters for students between 5-12.
  • Dawn House School in Nottinghamshire was opened in 1974 and has pupils aged between 5-16. Dawn house has twice been included on the OFSTED excellent schools list.

Specialist Centres – Early Years Centres and Early Talk

I CAN runs 18 early years centres across the UK. They are developed in partnerships with local NHS trust or health authorities and local education authorise. The early years centres help pre-school children to overcome their speech and language difficulties so that they can join in and learn alongside their peers.

As a result of the success of I CAN’s Early Years Centres, I CAN has developed the Early Talk programme to replicate and disseminate I CAN’s model throughout the UK.

The Early Years Centres and Early Talk programme provide:

  • Multi-disciplinary independent assessment for pupils with special educational needs which includes speech and language difficulties
  • Communication-supportive learning environments for all children
  • Effective early intervention for children with a speech, language and communication disability in inclusive settings
  • Advisory support and information for parents
  • Structured professional development, information and advisory support for early years practitioners in partnership with children’s services

Professional development

I CAN provides a programme of courses, workplace training, conferences, information resources and consultancy services, aiming to equip the children’s workforce with the skills they need to assist both children with a communication disability, and the development of all children’s communication skills.

New initiatives include Targeting Talk, a new programme created to support primary school teacher’s develop children’s communication skills and the I CAN Talk series of reports on contemporary issues in children’s communication. Full details are
available in the Training section of their website.

Talking point

Talking point is the first stop online for information on communication disability and children’s development. Launched in 2003, it is run by I CAN working with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and the charity Afasic.

Talking Point now also includes Parent Point, launched in 2006. Parent Point contains vital information about communication development and communication disability for parents, families and carers of children and young people under 19.

Make Chatter Matter

Make Chatter Matter is I CAN’s campaign to ensure that children’s communications skills are at the core of children’s policy development.

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