Children asked to stay silent in school

Communication is the 21st century life skill but for many children and young people, speaking, forming words and self expression is a real struggle

I CAN, the children’s communication charity, is calling on primary schools across the UK to get involved in a fun and engaging Sponsored Silence.

Whether for an hour, a lesson or a whole day, the Sponsored Silence programme encourages children to imagine what life is like for those children that find speaking and understanding language hard. All money raised will go to I CAN’s work with the 1.2 million children in the UK who struggle to communicate.

The Sponsored Silence activities have been designed by specialist teachers at I CAN's Meath School with curriculum-linked lesson plans which include activities that are both fun and educational to use during the silence. I CAN’s Sponsored Silence week launches on 5th March 2012 but it can be done at a time or date that is convenient to your school.

Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive, said, “We hope that every primary school in the UK who hears about this programme will sign up to get involved. Communication is so much more than talking and this is a fantastic opportunity for children to not only think about the daily struggle some young people face to make themselves understood, but also to develop important non-verbal communication skills. In addition to raising awareness of these difficulties, every penny raised will go to I CAN’s work with children who struggle with their speech, language and communication. So a huge thank you in advance to everyone who gets involved.”

Communication is the 21st century life skill but for many children and young people, speaking, forming words and self expression is a real struggle. It can leave children feeling frustrated, misunderstood and angry. And it puts them behind at nursery, school, college which prevents them from learning, making friends, forming relationships and ultimately achieving their potential.

For more information, and to register your primary school, please go to

About I CAN:
• I CAN is the children’s communication charity. or

• We are here to ensure that no child is left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding.

• Nobody wants a child’s potential to be wasted. It happens because communication difficulties are not visible, often mistaken for something else, or not noticed at all.

• I CAN’s mission is to make sure that everyone in contact with children knows how important communication is, what a communication difficulty looks like and what they can do to help.

• We do this through:
- Increasing public awareness of the problems children face.
- Giving expert advice to parents and families about what to look out for and what to do.
- Providing assessments for children so that their families know what support will meet their needs.
- Giving teachers and people working with children the skills to help children who struggle.
- Campaigning to ensure children and families get a better deal.
- Producing resources, DVDs, posters and other information to help parents and practitioners support children with their communication development.

At the very heart of I CAN are our special schools which give expert care and education to children with problems so severe their needs cannot be met elsewhere.

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