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Supporting underlying strategies

Many children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) require support for their individual language and learning needs.

Each child's needs depend on a range of factors, including the nature and extent of their SLCN, their skills and strengths, their confidence and self-esteem, and the demands of their context. So the nature of this support will vary. Education and speech and language therapy staff should work together to ensure that all of these needs are addressed effectively.

In the classroom there are many ways in which we can support a child's needs, using formal or general approaches. A communication supportive environment is beneficial for all children, including those with SLCN.  It is important, wherever possible, to include the child or young person themselves in the process of deciding what to target and how to meet the targets.

Here are some general suggestions:

  • Listening skills. Circle time or SEAL activities can offer useful opportunities to develop everyone's listening skills - not just those who have speech, language or communication needs. 
  • Asking for Help. Providing children and young people with strategies to ask for help or clarification is essential. Enabling children and young people to monitor their own comprehension and then ask for help if required is an important skill. 
  • Social skills may need to be specifically taught. This could be through specific activities or supported within nursery or school activities, or both. This area often needs a clearer targeted focus than is commonly seen in schools. 
  • Planning and organising language. Using approaches like brainstorming and mind mapping can help develop many underlying skills, particularly in planning and organising language. 
  • Study skills may need particular attention, particularly for older students. They may need much reinforcement.


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