Children's speech, language and communication support
How children are best supported
Most children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) are best supported in their school or early years setting, by early years staff or teachers on a day-to-day basis.
to develop staff skills, understanding and knowledge in supporting children.
The development of a child’s speech, language and communication needs can be supported by:
- ‘Quality First Teaching’, which is appropriate use of teacher questioning, modelling and explaining. Emphasis is on learning through communication, with regular opportunities for children to talk in groups and individually
- Good Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision within early years and school settings
Levels of support
Children need different levels of support depending on:
- The difficulties they have
- How severe they are
Speech and language therapy is not needed by all children with SLCN.
- To assess their needs
To give advice on whether their needs should be met in nursery or school, or by the ECCH speech and language therapy teams
What is speech and language therapy?
Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) covers a broad range of work. Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) assess and support people with speech and language difficulties, to help them to communicate better. They also work with people who have eating and swallowing problems.
SLTs work with people of all ages, from babies through to adulthood. They can work in a clinic or hospital, children’s centre, early years setting or in a school.
When a child’s speech, language and communication skills are not developing as expected, SaLT aims to assess and improve the child’s:
- Attention and listening skills
- Understanding of language
Ability to put sentences together
Conversation and social skills
Types of speech and language therapist support
As children and young people with SLCN all have different types of difficulties, they need different types of support.
A speech and language therapist (SLT) might:
- Work directly with children or young people individually or in groups
- Work through other people who see the child or young person regularly, such as teachers, teaching assistants or early years staff. They will be trained by the SLT to reinforce the speech and language therapy
Support parent/carers to adapt their communication around the child. This will enable the child to practice their skills every day, so they can get the most from their therapy
Everyone working together to encourage the child or young person to practice their speech and language skills regularly, will often give the best results.
ECCH SLT's will always provide individual, person-centred advice. It is highly likely that the advice your child receives will be different from the advice given for another child. Every assessment and plan is individually made to meet a child’s needs.
Sometimes the SLT might decide that the child doesn’t need any support from the ECCH SaLT team. If this happens, you will be signposted to other forms of support that might help.
More information about what a SLT does
The aim of speech and language therapy
The primary aim of the ECCH SaLT service is to maximise each child’s ability to communicate, when their skills have not developed as well as expected.
The SaLT service might include:
- Focused activities to develop skills, e.g. developing the production of speech sounds
- Introducing communication strategies to support their current skills, e.g. signing
- Advice regarding different communication systems, e.g. high tech communication aids
- Advising the parents/carers and professionals around the child to encourage them to regularly practice their skills
Following an assessment of a SLCN, two approaches may be recommended:
- Indirect Speech and Language (SaLT) support
- Direct Speech and Language (SaLT) support
Indirect speech and language therapy
Focused activities, e.g. developing the production of speech sounds, may be given to children who need extra support in school to catch up with the speech, language and communication skills. Most children with needs will be successfully supported in a mainstream early years setting or school. The support is usually given by experienced teaching assistants with guidance from the teacher, a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT). Children might work in small groups to follow a programme or have individual support.
Direct speech and language therapy
Children with more complex, enduring or severe SLCN, require a direct level of support and interventions from a SLT with specialist experience and training. Videos explaining some complex SLCN can be found on our speech and language resources webpage. Support cannot be routinely carried out by early years or school staff. The SLT will work with the child and meet very regularly with teachers and teaching assistants to advise on how best to support the child on an everyday basis over time.
Contact the ECCH Speech and Language Therapy Service
Single point of contact telephone number: 01493 809977 (Monday - Friday, 7am - 8pm)