Beggs praises ‘multi-agency’ approach

Published on Saturday 5 May 2012 12:07

EAST Antrim MLA Roy Beggs has voiced his support for the work of Multiagency Support Teams in providing extra health and educational support to younger primary school age children.

Proposing a motion in the Assembly, the Ulster Unionist representative highlighted the success of this model in detecting and addressing problems which children may experience in the early stages of their education.

In the Northern Trust area, there are currently four Multiagency Support Teams for Schools (MASTS) who are made up of health and education experts in the fields of speech, language, behavioural , physiotherapy and clinical psychology therapies.

“One of the scheme’s benefits is its multi-disciplinary nature; a range of issues can be dealt with by using a child-centred approach,” Mr Beggs said. “What if a child has a speech and language problem and arrives at primary school? They are not able to communicate well with their teacher, and they may not integrate with the rest of the classroom.

“They are likely to have behavioural problems that will flow from that, and they might be very withdrawn or disruptive, which, ultimately, will affect other children in the classroom. Because there is a fundamental problem, other problems can arise.

“The beauty of the scheme is that it can bring in the professionals required to help the child and the family to overcome the difficulties and benefit from education,” he added.

Mr Beggs has written to all primary schools in East Antrim urging them to avail of the services of MASTS.

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