Charedi youth suffer ‘learning delay’
Michelle Morris: raising concerns
A leading consultant speech and language therapist has expressed concern that Charedi children are at risk of developing delayed language skills.
Salford-based Michelle Morris, a professional adviser to the Department of Health, said that due to the large numbers of children in Charedi families, they might not be getting the attention needed for adequate language development.
She said: "In the Charedi community, it is very difficult to spend time with individual children but language skills are a fundamental basis of all education. They are of the utmost importance. I don't think people realise the link between early language and continued education, whether in Torah studies or secular studies.
"Children are expected to have very effective speech and language skills when they start school and often, due to environmental factors, they don't have the standards required."
Ms Morris, who is in her 40s and has been working for Salford Community Primary Care Trust since 1982, is a leading authority in this field. On Tuesday, the mother-of-two will visit Buckingham Palace in recognition of her contributions to the National Health Service. "It is an honour to be invited and it's certainly very nice."
She added: "In general, we are seeing an increasing number of children with delayed language development for a variety of different reasons, such as the environment."
She is a member of Prestwich Hebrew Congregation and is married to solicitor Robert Festenstein.