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Planning services for Tanzanian children with speech and language difficulties

Marshall, Julie (2015) Planning services for Tanzanian children with speech and language difficulties. International journal of inclusive education, 1 (4). pp. 357-372. ISSN 1360-3116

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Data on the incidence and prevalence of speech and language difficulties in less developed countries is not readily available. Services for people with such difficulties are often very poorly developed and research into possible services is extremely limited. A total of 84 health and education professionals from four professional groups in Tanzania completed a written questionnaire about their views on service developments for children with speech and language difficulties. Additionally, 28 meetings and interviews were carried out with questionnaire respondents and health/education planners to obtain further data about planning and training in the field of speech and language difficulties. Questionnaire responses showed support for a range of service developments, but there was no significant difference between the overall responses of the four professional groups. There was significantly greater support for education rather than health‐based developments. Interviews provided some data regarding resources needed to develop services. These included teaching materials, training and specialist support. The samples, both for questionnaires and interviews, were small, but provided useful data on possible areas of service development. The support for education in preference to health‐based developments needs careful consideration in view of the organization of health and education services in Tanzania. Suggestions for service developments are related to data from other countries. The need for further research, consulting more widely in the community, is discussed.

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