The £52m recommended as part of the Bercow review this month will be a great boost for speech and language therapy, enabling children to develop their communication skills.
But there needs to be a greater emphasis on good team working between paediatric audiology, local authority (education, teachers and family care) and speech and language therapy services, to ensure children with these problems are referred for age-appropriate hearing assessment, when needed.
While the report concentrates on normal hearing children with speech and language problems, those with permanent hearing impairment or deafness should not be forgotten.
Early support and intervention, including the vital services provided by teachers of the deaf and speech therapists, can enable the 1,000 deaf children identified in the UK each year to reach closer to their potential in language and cognitive development in their first few years. Unfortunately, there is large regional variation in access to specialist support. Families of 9,000 or so deaf children in the UK still struggle to find the services their children need.
Professor Adrian Davis and Gwen Carr, director and deputy director, NHS newborn hearing screening programme, Manchester University