An important part of the work at the Centre includes outreach programmes. There is no facility like the Centre in the government sector. Children attending state hospitals often do not receive speech-language therapy as frequently as required. Furthermore, it is a reality in South Africa that many children who require services only get referred for specialised services when they reach formal schooling. The problem is compounded by State hospitals restricting speech-language services to children once they are older than 6 years. Also, children in mainstream State schools may have poor access to speech-language services through the Department of Basic Education. When one considers that unresolved communication difficulties place the child at a significant risk for later related difficulties, the seriousness of this situation in South Africa becomes apparent. In response to the need in South Africa, the Centre is running the following two outreach programmes:
AFTERNOON LANGUAGE GROUPS
These language learning groups run at the Centre one afternoon a week for a two-hour period. Each group is run by a Centre teacher and teaching assistant, with input regarding the programme being given by speech-language therapists. The afternoon language programme caters for children who are on the waiting list, who cannot afford full-time placement at the Centre and who require extra opportunities to develop language-communication in a group setting.
WORKSHOPS IN LANGUAGE AND LITERACY DEVELOPMENT
The Centre provides workshops for teachers, students, therapists and volunteers working with children from less privileged backgrounds. These workshops focus on the importance of language development, facilitating language and literacy development and the close relationship between language and literacy development. Each workshop is tailor-made to the group from the community.