The talk of the town
CORAKI Public School student Paul Parker, 9 has a cleft palate, which makes it difficult for him to pronounce consonants.
A program for speech therapy at Paul's school has been his saving grace, according to his grandfather Paul Parker (senior).
"There has been a big improvement with Paul's speech since having the speech specialist based in the school part-time," Mr Parker said.
"They work with the teachers and that's where I've seen we get the biggest improvements.
"It's not effective for parents to take their kids out of class for 40 minutes to travel to Lismore to see a specialist."
Mr Parker said the school speech therapist has the children for short sessions then works with the teachers to build a program for each child.
"Personally I think this program should be extended to the local preschools as well. It would be more effective if we can target kids younger."
Coraki principal Matthew Hobbs said the program has been running since the beginning of 2010, in conjunction with Casino, Kyogle and Lismore South public schools.
Feedback from parents and carers such, as Mr Parker Sr, has been very positive.
Mr Hobbs said the program will continue into 2012, for one day a week.
"The employment of our speech pathologist is funded under the Federal Government's Low SES National Partnership," he said.
"We also employ an occupational therapist under the same partnership."
While Mr Hobbs sees earlier intervention as beneficial for students needing speech therapy, he warned that it's important not to overload them.