Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties

Speech and language difficulties is a blanket phrase used to describe a variety of issues such as a delay with phonology, stuttering, verbal dyspraxia and others.

Development of speech and language can vary hugely from child to child and is usually nothing to worry about. However, sometimes the development is delayed and there may be a need to explore further. Sometimes, a delay in speech and language skills is due to issues with hearing so this would be the first thing to check. Contact the GP for a hearing test.

Often, support and intervention from the school can positively impact a CYP's speech and language skills; do use some of the strategies detailed below to support. If concerns remain, it may be that a speech and language therapist (SLT) can be asked to assess. Talk to the SENCo if you think that a SLT assessment could be beneficial.

For further information and advice see here and here.

Struggles with using content and vocabulary effectively

  • Use vocabulary specific to the topic

  • Introduce CYP to new key words as soon as possible

  • Make grammatical links by learning a word with other nouns, verbs and adjectives

  • Give visual cues for key words

Phonology (speech sounds)

  • Use a phonics sequence; say it, clap it out, write it

  • Ensure the CYP can hear the beginning and end sounds before moving on to the middle sounds of words

  • Encourage rhyming

  • Use syllable recognition to help with pronunciation

Not able to follow instructions

  • Make sure the CYP knows you are talking to them

  • If asking a question, use their name

  • Allow CYP plenty of time before expecting a response

  • Encourage discussion

  • Break down instructions into small steps

Difficulty with concepts

  • Try to ensure the CYP has a direct experience of a conceptual link before using it

  • Reinforce conceptual links using multi- sensory approaches

Linguistic errors

  • If a CYP makes a linguistic error, give feedback in the correct form without pointing out the mistake

  • Reinforce self corrections with praise

Working with others

  • Encourage a peer support group or small group of trusted friends for student to do group work

  • Encourage an atmosphere where students are not afraid to ask for clarification