The importance of early identification of SLCN
cannot be over-emphasised. It is essential that needs are
identified as quickly as possible so that early action can be taken
to meet those needs. There is a ‘window of opportunity’: if a
child’s speech, language and communication skills are similar to
those of their typically-developing peers by the age of about
five-and-a-half, their life-long prospects are considerably better
(The Inclusion Development Programme: Early Years Foundation
Stage: Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).
For some children, identification will have been initiated and
SLCN recognised when the child is very young. For other
children, the difficulties may emerge later, as the child starts
nursery or school. Sometimes SLCN are not apparent until the child
is older, perhaps as the school curriculum becomes more challenging
or the child is showing increasing signs of frustration resulting
in difficulties that affect behaviour. SLCN may also be a result of
an acquired brain injury or
trauma in the child's life.
The process of identification may be initiated by a variety of
people depending on the child's age and the circumstances involved,
- Health visitors
- Community paediatricians
- Pre-school staff
- School staff
- Specialist teachers
It is important that everyone involved works
closely together to ensure a consistent approach for the child and
- Accurately identifying SLCN requires careful
observation of the child in a variety of contexts, knowledge of the
environment and a range of tools to provide a complete picture of
the child’s strengths, difficulties and needs. The most reliable
assessments will take into account the child's views, parents'
knowledge of the child and observations from all professionals who
are involved with the child.
- Assessment should be regarded as a continuous
process over time, not as a single event. The aim of
assessment is to gather evidence to inform and enable appropriate
and timely support and provision for the child.
For useful guidance and further information
refer to: Talking Point (External
Website) where there are sections for health visitors,
GPs, parents etc.
There are a number of tools within the
Worcestershire SLCN Pathway to help with the process of
identification and assessment over time. These include:
© Worcestershire County
Council and Worcestershire PCT 2011.
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.
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This page was last reviewed 17 April 2013 at 10:40.
The page is next due for review 14 October 2014.