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Speech Language and Communication (SLC)

Being able to communicate with others is one of the most important skills we need in life. From being born, almost everything we do involves communication; conveying that we are tired, hungry or uncomfortable, asking for food and drink, learning at school, sorting out problems and, of course, having fun!  

These, as well as all of our activities and actions later on in life, rely on our ability to communicate effectively with each other.

Studies show that the range of vocabulary a child has acquired by the age of 5 is the most important factor affecting Literacy at age 11, and is also linked with improved mental health and employability  into adulthood. However for many children, developing these essential skills is not easy. In some areas, up to 50 per cent of children have poor language skills. As well as this, 10 percent of children have long term SLC needs which have a significant impact not only on their learning, but also on their ability to make friends and manage their emotions.

At Scholes we recognise that having good speaking and listening skills are the building blocks needed by ALL children to succeed at school. We also recognise the importance of effective support for those children with Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). Because of this the In School Service offers a three tiered approach to developing and supporting SLCN.

In School Service

Whole School Approach

Throughout school the staff are aware of, and use universally good practise to support and promote communication skills in and amongst everyday teaching and other informal interactions.

Talk for Writing is used throughout all year groups during Literacy. The programme recognises that talking about a text first is one the most important stages of developing story writing skills.

 

Our PSCHE programme of work, Jigsaw, promotes social and emotional wellbeing through conversation and discussion within the classroom and amongst peers.

 Pupil Voice, Sports Ambassadors Befrienders and Digital Leaders all rely on and promote the use of speaking, listening and communication skills to communicate and discuss ideas, promote new solutions and resolve problems and conflict. Through Show and Tell, younger children are encourage to bring in items from home, to talk about then answer questions from their classmates.  Older children have the opportunity to do this through homework and project assignments.

All of these and many other activities throughout school rely heavily on effective communication skills.

Small Group Sessions

Children who need a little more help to develop their speech and language skills may be targeted for some small group sessions to help close the gap. These are some of the activities that may be used to target the problem area.

Game activities -we have many board game activities that can informally target different communication skills, such as memory and concentration, social skills, expanding vocabulary and expressive language. Using games in this way makes learning fun and can be used for groups of all ages.

Talk Boost is a targeted intervention that narrows the gap between 4-7 year olds with language delay and their peers. It is a 10-week programme delivered by trained teaching assistants that can boost a child’s communication by up to 18 months.   Talk Boost helps children with delayed language development who would not usually qualify for specialist help, but are not thriving at school because of a speech and language need.

Time to Talk developed to teach and develop oral language and social interaction skills to children aged 4-6. Skills taught include: eye contact; taking turns; sharing; greetings; awareness of feelings; giving; following instructions; listening; paying attention; and play skills.

 LEGO® therapy has been proven to be an effective way for children with social difficulties to improve and practice their social interaction and communication skills. Improvements in social competence enable students to sustain lasting friendships and reach their highest potential.

1:1 work

This is occasionally needed when a child has been identified as not making the expected progress and has been referred to our designated Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT). Through a more detailed assessment the SaLT will be able to offer advice and targeted support which can be delivered in school and supported at home. Our SaLT has a wealth of knowledge, access to many resources and is able to identify if the problem is a specific aspect of speech and language, or part of a general learning difficulty.  

When to refer

If a child is experiencing difficulties with any aspect of speech and language in the classroom, the initial concern would be raised with the Speech and Language Lead in school. At this point it would be decided if the child should take part in a school based activity such as Talk Boost, or if a referral is needed. 

If it is decided that a referral is appropriate, the SaL Lead or class teacher would discuss this with the parent/carer to find out if the child is experiencing difficulties at home, and also to gain permission for the referral.

Guidelines are provided by Locala regarding when to refer

Guidelines for Referral - Receptive & Expressive Development (Early Years)

Guidelines for Referral - Receptive & Expressive Development (KS 1 & 2)

Guidelines for Referral - Speech Sound Development

Parents can make a direct referral to Locala. In this case we would be contacted to provide further information to enable it to be processed correctly and guide the assessment, in order that your child receives the most appropriate care.

Once received, it is reviewed by the team and a decision is made about the type of assessment the child needs. Assessment could be a Triage appointment or a more Detailed First Assessment. The aim is to see children in advance of the 18 week NHS waiting time target.

After the assessment, a decision is made about the best course of action for a child, which could include clinic sessions, a transfer to the mainstream school service or specialist service.

Links

Talk for Writing

 https://www.talk4writing.co.uk

 

Talk Boost

http://www.talkingpoint.org.uk/resources/talk-boost

Parent Tips/ Things to do at Home

1. Vocabulary is key and learning new words is incredibly important. Help children of all ages by using all the senses to learn new words and then build in lots of repetition and practice.

2. Build on what your children say. This can mean adding words for younger children and expanding phrases for older ones.

3. Talk about what your children are interested in. This will mean they are much more motivated to speak.

4. Check out understanding. Encourage your children to ask if they have not understood. Check by asking them if they know what to do. Can they explain the steps they need to take?

5. If you let your child watch TV, watch it with them (as much as possible). It’s an excellent way to spark off conversations and learn new words.

6. It’s really important to always remember that children need quiet time where you turn off background noise and have time just to play. This is really important for listening and language development

7. Use technology with your child to keep in touch with distant relatives or friends. E-mail, send photos or even Skype to keep in touch and use it as an opportunity to ask your child what they might want to ask and say.

8. Play ‘name that tune’. Download from YouTube tunes they will know – maybe film tracks, nursery rhymes or pop classics. Play the first few bars – who can name the tune? This is really good for developing listening skills.

9. Look together at the photos you’ve saved or posted – can your child remember the story behind thephoto? See if you can find a similar photo of when you were young. Talk about the differences and similarities – this exercise is great for sharing stories, which are so vital for communication development.

10. Remember, it’s OK to turn technology off! Sometimes the best way to encourage children is to model it as a parent. Communication technology is great, but face-to-face conversations are much more effective.

Useful Links

Listen up - 2 free resources to play with your children to encourage listening, understanding, interaction and play.

For pre-school children between the ages of 0 and 5, Listen Up 0-5, includes a card game with fun activities and advice on how parents can use the resource.

For children between the ages of 5 and 11, Listen Up 5-11 includes a fun fortune teller with activity cards.

To download the packs please follow the links below: https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/media/3163/postcards_pre_school_final.pdf

https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/media/3166/postcards_school_age_final.pdf

Small Talk This great booklet provides information about what helps children aged 0-5 learn to talk and listen, whether they are on the right track and what to do if the parents have concerns about their child.

https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/media/3508/small_talk_final.pdf

https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/media/617945/tct_toptips_pdf.pdf

 

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