Some children have a specific difficulty with learning to speak and/or understand or use language, despite having an average or above average IQ. This difficulty has different names, most frequently , specific speech and language impairment (SSLI), specific language impairment (SLI) or specific speech and language disorder (SSLD). Children with SSLI need regular speech and language therapy. For some, weekly or twice weekly speech and language therapy is not sufficient to address their communication needs, and so they may need intensive speech and language therapy. These children may be eligible for a place in a language unit. This is a small class of up to 7 students, which is linked to a mainstream school and is serviced by a H.S.E. speech and language therapist. Children attend the language unit for one or two years and then return to their local school.
As there are a limited number of places for the class, it is only children with the greatest needs who can get in. There is a strict intake process, which includes a detailed assessment, so if you have concerns about your child, or a student in your class, it is important to start looking into this now. You can do this by contacting your child’s speech and language therapist, or if your child is not under a therapist, your local H.S.E. speech and language therapy department, or a private speech and language therapist.
Below are some useful websites:
What is SSLI? (Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists IASLT)
SSLI Ireland website: This comprehensive website, developed by parents of children with SSLI, includes information about language units.
Language Unit, Barryroe N.S.: Information about the language class in Barryroe, Lislevane, Bandon, Co. Cork.