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Developmental Norms

 Is the child developing at the same rate as his or her peers? Refer to developmental norms.

In order to identify whether a child has any problems with their speech, language and communication we need a really good understanding of 'typical' development.

The 'Speech, Language and Communication Development' chart (PDF) can be used either for reference to remind us of 'typical' development, or as an assessment tool.

Using the speech, language and communication development chart it is possible to make a judgement as to whether a child is developing as expected in this area or seems delayed.

  • Judgements of a child's stage of development are made through a process of ongoing observational assessment.
  • Through observation we can record what children do and say in a range of contexts; information from families about what the children do and  say at home should be included (particularly if English is their second language).
  • The assessment is a 'best fit' match to a stage band. This involves considering what is known about the child, and matching it to the development described.
  • Each strand of communication is described separately (i.e. understanding, expressive language, speech) and it is possible  that some children may only have a delay in one area, and others have difficulties in several strands.
  • In considering whether a child is delayed it is necessary to consider the child's actual age in months in relation to the overlapping age bands.
  • If a child is within 2 months of the end of the age band and development is not yet within the band or is judged to be 'emerging' then a judgement of  'delay' would be appropriate
  • The developmental chart can be used to record progress over a period of time.
  • If a child has a considerable delay at the outset, or fails to make progress then onward referral to the speech and language therapist should be considered.

The 'Speech, Language and Communication Development' chart is from: 'Developing every child's speech, language and communication in Early Years settings' Worcestershire County Council and Primary Care Trust (2010) (PDF).  The chart has been added to in order to reflect development of children above the age of 5 years.

For further information about developmental norms refer to: 'Ages and Stages Booklet for Early Years Professionals', available from the Communication Trust (External Website).

© Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire PCT 2011.

Further Information

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See also in our website

External websites

  • Communication Trust
    The Communication Trust is a campaigning voice for children with speech, language and communication needs.
  • Language for Learning
    Provides courses and resources for staff from Early Years to Secondary Level and training and materials for trainers to deliver these courses within their own Authorities
  • Speech and Language Therapy
    Information form Worcestershire Health Care NHS
  • Speech Link
    Speech Link and Language Link encourage high quality support for children with speech and language problems.

We are not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more

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This page was last reviewed 12 June 2013 at 15:32.
The page is next due for review 9 December 2014.