A Charles Sturt University (CSU) paediatric speech pathologist argues more resources is the key to helping Australian school children with difficulties in phonics and reading.
Associate lecturer at CSU’s School of Community Health, Ms Gemma Mirtschin has worked with children in the early intervention and schools sectors for many years.
“Absolutely, speech difficulties, difficulties with phonics and phonological awareness, impact on a child’s ability to develop school ready literacy skills,” Ms Mirtschin said.
“Children who have difficulties with speech and language are more likely to have difficulties developing the skills necessary to read and write and engage fully within a mainstream classroom.
“A number of other factors can also contribute to a child’s ability to learn, which I think are important for us to consider when we think about how we can holistically support children to succeed at school.
“Factors such as social and emotional well-being, receiving adequate sleep, presence and history of hearing impairments, cultural background, and safety and stability in the home environment all contribute to how well a child can access the curriculum and succeed at school.”
But Ms Mirtschin believes funding for more support staff, allied health services within the school and expert consultation is what’s needed.
“Teachers need to be better supported to identify children at risk or those who may require some support.
“I think schools need to be better supported financially to provide resources for those children in need.
“If teachers and schools are better equipped to support students who are at risk or struggling, then I believe we will see greater outcomes for all students,” Ms Mirtschin said.
(Source: Charles Sturt University)