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I talk, though I don’t speak


Children who suffer from mental disabilities can often lack the ability to talk and communicate well, or even at all. This affliction can lead to social isolation, even in their early years – resulting in them being pushed to the edges of everyday society. To help this group of children, teachers from a school in the city of Toruń in Poland used ESF support to create a systematic approach to their communication problems.

Using special reading materials and computer-based speech generation, 69 pupils with speech and mental difficulties were helped to communicate through pictographic symbols of people, objects, actions and situations. They went on to independently create pictographic representations of school-based themes – such as class timetables and school regulations. Each pupil had his or her own ‘communications book’ adapted to their own circumstances and abilities. An important part of the project was training for 21 teachers and therapists who were able to broaden their teaching experience and gain professional qualifications.

Thanks to the project, these children were able to improve their communication and social skills and better make contact with people around them. It showed clearly that persistent effort with such children is worthwhile and can bring about significant and rewarding results.


Project name: I talk though I don’t speak – alternative methods of communication for pupils of school No 26 in Toruń
Area of activity: Social inclusion
Project duration: August 2008 - October 2009
ESF contribution: €61 500
Total budget: €70 600
Participants: 90
Country: Poland
Organisation: School No 26 in Toruń and Toruń Municipality
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