Five-year-old Bilal* is beaming in the classroom of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme. He is one of 350 children with learning difficulties who receive specialised help within the Back to the Future project. Thanks to speech and language therapy, the boy has progressed enormously.
Bilal's older brother followed the ECE programme at an earlier stage of the project. He successfully moved on to a public school. That was the reason for Bilal's mother to also register her younger son for the programme.
An officer of the programme discovered that Bilal had problems with his pronunciation. Bilal was referred to a speech therapist for speech and language therapy. After additional assessment, he was prescribed speech and language therapy twice a week. During these individual sessions, the therapist works with him on vocabulary, pronunciation, visual memory, clarity in expressions, and sentence structure. He also gets exercises for his tongue.
The speech therapy sessions are given to the children in a private setting. Bilal's mother brings him with transport from the project. In addition, she is given exercises to work on with Bilal at home.
Bilal is making significant progress. He stutters less than before and his self-esteem has improved. “He is making very rapid progress,” said the therapist, “when telling stories, he can now structure his ideas better.”
* In order to protect Bilal, we do not use his real name.
Back to the Future is funded by the European Union in Lebanon, through the EU's Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU Madad Fund, and is implemented in partnership by AVSI Middle East, Terre des Hommes Italy in Lebanon and War Child Holland in Lebanon.