I CAN LAUNCHES NEW PROJECT TO CHANGE THE CONVERSATION ABOUT LANGUAGE

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I CAN have launched a new project that will help families in the most disadvantaged areas in the UK improve children’s speech and language communication skills.

Led by I CAN in partnership with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and digital, social enterprise EasyPeasy, this project empowers parents and families, giving them information and skills about how to develop their children’s speech and language and improve their life chances.

The evidence demonstrates that real impact comes from systemic change driven by local communities whilst the route to parents is through local community practitioners with whom they have trusted relationships, combined with effective use of scalable technology.

Working in three metro mayoral regions, the project partners will work strategically with local stakeholders and community practitioners to engage disadvantaged parents.

Project facilitators will also support implementation leaders, practitioners and will link in Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) support.

A range of tools will be employed to support and develop children’s speech and language including: I CAN’s Tots Talking programme and EasyPeasy’s digital home learning programme.

EasyPeasy’s programme will be used to support around 10,000 families across the three areas whilst Tots Talking will focus on a smaller number of families and those with the greatest need. Alongside technology, Parent Champions are also utilised, selected through local forums or through their participation in activities.

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive at I CAN, the children’s communication charity, said:

“This is a fantastic project that we are really pleased to be launching at I CAN. It will help us engage local communities and parents across the country about the importance of good communication, delivering solutions to social mobility priorities and increasing parent-child interaction.

“We know that in areas of social disadvantage there is a much higher risk of children developing speech and language communication needs or having undeveloped communication skills that stay hidden. This project goes right to the heart of that problem, designed to ensure no child is left behind because of poor communication.”

Kamini Gadhok MBE, Chief Executive at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists said:

“We are delighted to be partners in a project where there will be active engagement with local services to support sustainability. Expert speech and language therapists will ensure that products and initiatives are joined up with wider strategy.”

Jen Lexmond, Founder and CEO at EasyPeasy said:

“EasyPeasy was founded with a mission to give every child the best start in life. We combine design, technology and evidence in ways that are engaging, fun and can make a big impact at population level scale. I’m proud that through this project alone we’ll reach around 10,000 families.

“We know the quality of the home learning environment is the biggest influence on children’s early development and that technology, used intelligently, can support home learning in new and powerful ways. Through EasyPeasy, every family we work with will receive the ideas, information and support they need to build crucial skills through playful experiences at home, straight to their mobile phone.”

The project is funding by the Department for Education as part of their 2018-20 Early Years VCS Grants programme and will be launched in November 2018.

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For further information please contact Freddie Cocker, Communications Officer at I CAN, on 0207 843 2539 or email fcocker@ican.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

I CAN is the children's communication charity. The charity specialises in helping children develop the speech, language and communication skills they need to thrive in a 21st- century world.

Children and young people can fail to reach their potential because communication difficulties are not visible, often mistaken for something else or not noticed at all. I CAN's mission is that no child should be left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding.

For further information on I CAN’s work visit ican.org.uk or talkingpoint.org.uk or follow on Twitter @ICANcharity and Facebook at facebook.com/icantalk.

About the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) is the professional body for speech and language therapists in the UK, representing over 17,000 members. It facilitates and promotes research into the field of speech and language therapy – the care for individuals with communication, swallowing, eating and drinking difficulties. It promotes better education and training of speech and language therapists and is responsible for setting and maintaining high standards in education, clinical practice and ethical conduct. For more information on RCSLT and its Giving Voice campaign visit www.rcslt.org and www.givingvoiceuk.org

About EasyPeasy

EasyPeasy is a digital, social enterprise founded in 2014, with a mission to give children the best possible start in life, regardless of background. They do this through helping parents play learning games with their young children to develop their basic skills, so they are ready to succeed at school and life.

EasyPeasy's games and activities are delivered to parents straight to their mobile phones, although they are all for playing in the real world and involve minimal screen time for young children. This year EasyPeasy has supported over 10,000 families through its digital home learning programme. For more information visit www.easypeasyapp.com

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