Studies have shown that socioeconomic differences in language input place lower-income preschoolers at a higher risk for developing delayed or disordered communication. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, untreated speech and language delay is present in up to 10 percent of preschoolers. Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center’s experience in screening preschoolers in Duval County’s Health Zone 1 (where poverty is most prevalent in Jacksonville) indicates that this number is approximately 57 percent, 47 percentage points higher than the national average.
In partnership with the Kids Hope Alliance, the Tiny Talkers Program adopts a two-generational approach to addressing socioeconomic inequities related to speech-language disorders by providing free treatment to children from low-income backgrounds with communication disorders, as well as educational workshops and materials to their caregivers.
These combined efforts serve to reinforce positive patient communication behavior inside and outside of therapy sessions. In order to qualify for this program, a child must be: (1) a resident of Jacksonville, (2) 3-5 years of age, and (3) have a financial need.
If you believe your preschooler is eligible for this program, please contact Chandra Manning at CManning@shcjax.org or (904) 355-3403.