Speech and Language Therapy
Speech, language and communication underpin everything we do – making our needs known, expressing our likes and dislikes, interacting with others and building relationships.
We often take these skills for granted, but many children struggle to communicate. They have speech, language and communication needs or SLCN.
A child with speech, language and communication needs:
- Might have speech that is difficult to understand
- They might struggle to say words or sentences
- They may not understand words that are being used, or the instructions they hear
- They may have difficulties knowing how to talk and listen to others in a conversation
- Children may have just some or all of these difficulties; they are all very different.
- Speech, language and communication are crucial for reading, learning in school, for socialising and making friends, and for understanding and controlling emotions or feelings.
SLCN is often called a ‘hidden difficulty’. Many children with SLCN look just like other children, and can be just as clever. This means that instead of communication difficulties people may see children struggling to learn to read, showing poor behaviour, having difficulties learning or socialising with others. Some children may become withdrawn or isolated. Their needs are often misinterpreted, misdiagnosed or missed altogether.
Studies have shown that in 5 year olds, SLCN affects about 2 children in every classroom (about 7%). It is more common in boys than girls.
Children with SLCN won’t learn language in the same way as other children, just by being spoken to and encouraged. They need language to be taught. They need to get the right support to do this so that they can learn and develop to their full potential. Without this support, SLCN may cause a child lifelong difficulties.
Children with SLCN will continue to need support throughout school. The type of difficulties a child with SLCN has can change as they get older. For example they may get better at understanding what other people are saying but still struggle to put sentences together.
If a child's speech cannot be understood by family or other adults school will make a referral to Speech and Language Therapy.
We can also give some support in school. We have recently been awarded the ELKLAN Communication Friendly Settings Award and all staff have been trained in strategies to support Speech and Language Difficulties in the classroom. We have a dedicated, trained team or Teaching Assistants who lead on assessing and implementing intervetions to support children.
Initially we will support children with Listening and Attention. Vital skills can be learned through a variety of games played in small groups within school.
If a child has well developed Listening and Attention skills we can then support their Receptive Language. This means children's understanding of language. Again this can be developed in small groups by some fun activities.
Once a child has well developed Receptive Language we can then support their Expressive Language. This means the vocabulary and grammar a child uses.
Sometimes a child may have difficulties with Social Communication. This means understanding the rules of communicating such as taking turns to speak, understanding body language and facial expressions, and being able to respond to a topic of conversation instead of always talking about the topic of their choice. We have games in school that can help with social communication.
Usually children make excellent progress in any of these areas. If they do not then we would make a referral to Speech and Language therapy.
We use Language Links in school to support our children with SLCN needs, please take a look at the following website for some more information: