Speech and Language Difficulties - School Information and Resources

Please take a look at the Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) Tool for Schools which helps staff identify children with speech and language needs.

Letter to All Schools - Speech and Language Video Access [PDF 99KB]

Case Studies

The Communication Trust -  Working together the Trust supports anyone who works with children and young people to help their speech, languge and communication.

Speech, language and communication are all dependent on each other.......

 We develop and use these in combination. To assess and monitor progress we usually divide skills into four main areas:

  • Receptive language
  • Expressive Language
  • Speech
  • Social use of Language

Children might have difficulties in one or more of the following:

1. Receptive Language:

  • Attention and listening
  • Hearing and making sense of sounds in words
  • Understanding the meaning of words and concepts
  • Understanding structure and rules  (phonology- the rules that govern how sounds are combined to form words, syntax - the rules governing word -  order, and morphology- changes to words to support meaning, for example, adding "s" to indicate plural)
  • Remembering (working auditory memory)

2. Expressive Language:

  • Decide what you want to say
  • Retrieve appropriate vocabulary
  • Use appropriate grammatical markers and sentence structure
  • Sequence and organise ideas - sentence and  narrative level

3. Speech

Speech is the verbal expression of language and includes:

  • Select sounds( phonology)
  • Send  instructions to speech muscles( mouth, throat and lungs) to create sounds
  • Articulate sounds ( involves tongue, lips, hard/soft palates, larynx)
  • Blending sounds together to formulate recognisable words
  • Use of appropriate intonation, pitch, volume, tone and fluency

4. Social use of language

The way people understand and use language appropriately in different contexts

  • Recognising and demonstrating appropriate :
    • Non-verbal communication skills ( e.g. body language, facial expression)
    • Paralinguistic skills  (intonation, pitch, volume, tone of voice)
    • Conversational skills
    • Asking for and giving information

The ability to communicate underpins social, emotional and educational development but SLCN can involve or be intrinsic to a wide range of difficulties which might involve:

  • primary or specific speech, language or communication difficulty which occurs when there are no other neurodevelopmental or social causes and is likely to be a long term need throughout secondary school
  • secondary need where difficulties occur in association with another difficulty, for example moderate learning or a sensory impairment
  • Delayed speech, language and communication need.  The term delayed suggests that a pupil might "catch up", but if there are still delays at secondary school, the impact is likely to continue to affect all areas of development. 

Page last reviewed: 19/10/2023

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