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Speech and language therapy

Children with CP often have difficulties with voice resonance, speech (dyspraxia, dysarthria, prosody and fluency), language, literacy and communication. Specific support for the management of eating and drinking, drooling and swallowing may also be required.

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Communicating Quality 2 states that 'failure to address the problems of people with CP will have a marked consequence for their success in the social, educational and vocational aspects of their lives.'

The aims of speech and language therapy are to promote social, cognitive and motor skills which contribute to effective communication whilst initially establishing the consistent use of verbal and non-verbal modes of communication. This is often achieved with the use of appropriate communication aids.

The speech and language therapist also has a major role in ensuring that the child receives adequate nutrition. Clients should be able to take nourishment in ways that are safe, comfortable and dignified.

Children with CP from infancy upwards should have a Speech and Language Therapist available who has specialist training in childhood disabilities. The speech and language therapist must also have appropriate postgraduate training in dysphagia. Therapeutic interventions should focus on the individual child and their environment and be based on a multidisciplinary team approach.

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