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Fierté Multi-Academy Trust

Our Family of Schools

Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Speech, language and communication are all heavily dependent on each other.  We develop and use all three in combination. Speech, language and communication underpin everything we do – making our needs known, expressing our likes and dislikes, interacting with others and building relationships.

We often take these skills for granted, but many children struggle to communicate. They have speech, language and communication needs or SLCN.

A child with speech, language and communication needs:

  • Might have speech that is difficult to understand
  • They might struggle to say words or sentences 
  • They may not understand words that are being used, or the instructions they hear 
  • They may have difficulties knowing how to talk and listen to others in a conversation   (

SCLN can be put into these categories in the classroom; receptive language, expressive language, social communication and speech. Children may have just some or all of these difficulties; they are all different.

Speech, language and communication are crucial for reading, learning in school, socialising and making friends and understanding and controlling emotions or feelings.

SCLN is often called a hidden difficulty. Many children with SLCN look just like other children and can be just as clever. This means that instead of communication difficulties people may see children struggling to learn to read, showing poor behaviour, having difficulties learning or socialising with others. Some children may become withdrawn or isolated. Their needs are often misinterpreted, misdiagnosed or missed altogether. 

One place where speech, language and communication play a critical role is the learning environment. The language we use might be simple to us. But how can it come across to the pupil? Children need to make friends, understand non-verbal feedback, listen to instructions, give instructions, recall information - the list is endless.

Supporting your child with SLCN

Multi-sensory approaches:

  • Use a wide range of resources that stimulate all senses.
  • Be aware of the different ways your child likes to learn.
  • Use a computer, iPad or tablet to help. Lots of apps have games that mean the child has to speak or respond.
  • In the classroom ensure their teacher offers a variety of ways to record responses and answers. 

Adult-child conversation:

  • Use your child's name before an instruction.
  • Ensure your child is engaged before you start a conversation- a look, an answer.
  • Keep language clear and simple.
  • Ask questions to check for understanding/ask the pupil to recall what is needed to be done.
  • If you use new vocabulary or are encouraging vocabulary development ensure children understand the words being used.
  • Don't talk for long periods of time.
  • Give pupils time to think about their answers to you.


  • Ensure your child is in a position to see and hear properly in the classroom.
  • Break down tasks into smaller tasks - a simple checklist may help.

Resources that may help at home and at school:

  • If you would like to try any of these at home ask your child's class teacher if they have any copies that can be sent home or check it out on the internet (lots of teachers resources are found online!).
  • symbol cards.
  • topic word banks.
  • shapes and colours coded to a meaning. 
  • visual time table / key information on show. 
  • personal dictionary