Special Educational Needs

What support is available for children with speech, language and communication needs?

How can I tell if my child has a speech, language and communication disorder?

Some children do not develop speech and language as expected. They may experience difficulties with any or all aspects of speech and language - from moving the muscles which control speech to the ability to understand or use language at all. These difficulties can range from the mild to the severe and long-term.

Sometimes these difficulties are unrelated to any other difficulty or disorder - they are therefore said to be specific language difficulties. Some children may have both a specific language difficulty and other disabilities.

Who will help?

If your child hasn’t started school yet you should talk to your health visitor (if you have one), GP or others working with your child. Your child may be referred to a speech and language therapist.

Your child’s needs will be assessed and the therapist will make recommendations to you and those working with your child.

Staff working in schools receive advice, support and training. This enables the school to know how best to help your child. Schools have a range of resources to enable them to provide support for children with different levels of special educational need.

An educational psychologist may, with your consent, become involved with your child if his/her needs are thought to be significant.

Different types and levels of support will be suggested.

An individual education plan may be written to record the steps needed to help your child and to record and monitor the progress he or she makes. The plan might include a programme outlining ideas for practising and improving your child's speech, language and communication skills. Extra help may also be given to your child either in the classroom, in a small teaching group or individually. A few children may need to use computers, work processors, tape recorders or communication aids. Any individual education plan developed for your child will be discussed with you on a regular basis. Records will be kept about your child's progress.

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