The provision of Speech and Language Therapy to our Galway Branch Members – children and adults with Down Syndrome in Co Galway, due to the chronic shortage of Government support for the provision of this critical service, especially in childhood years.
Voices for Down Syndrome Galway is the Speech and Language Therapy side of the Galway Branch of Down Syndrome Ireland, it was established in 2005 by a group of parents of children with Down Syndrome. Our mission is the provision of Speech and Language Therapy for children and adults in Galway city and county with Down Syndrome. The need arose from a chronic shortage of Government support for the provision of such a service. 1 in every 335 children born in Galway has Down Syndrome. Everyone with this condition suffers delayed development of speech and difficulty in articulation. Speech and Language Therapy, especially in childhood years, is critical to the development of adequate language skills. Prior to the establishment of Voices for Down Syndrome Galway there was a three-year waiting list for initial assessment for children of school age, while the service for adults was non-existent.
Our project is parent run by a small committee of volunteer parents, we employ one part time Project Co-Ordinator with one full time speech and language therapist and two part time. On-going professional training is provided to our therapists via Down Syndrome Ireland’s Special Interest Group, NUIG and Continuing Professional Development with Mari Caulfield Speech & Language Therapist and Trainer.
We require €130,000 p.a. to run this service. We receive no government, institutional or Down Syndrome Ireland National Organisation funding. With the generous help of our supporters and families, the running costs of the project are raised through a mixture of fundraising events, charitable donations and corporate partnership. Speech and language therapy is provided free of charge, but members are encouraged to donate annually towards the project and assist with fundraising initiatives.