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How do I know if my child has a speech and language or communication difficulty? 

Speech, Language and Communication is our ability to make and understand sounds, express and receive messages, and use and understand social rules. The rate at which young children develop these skills varies and it can be hard to tell sometimes if your child is developing within the expected range.

This guide on the stages of speech and language development from The Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust has more information about what to expect from your child and at what age.  It may help you to decide if your child's development in this area is delayed.

Talk to someone about your concerns

If you have concerns about your child or young person's speech and language development, or think that they may have difficulties with social communication, you can start by talking through these with a professional.  It may be that there is nothing to worry about, but getting help early on is important if they do have needs.  

You shouldn't feel nervous about raising your concerns - these teams are there to help you and are happy to talk to you about your child, however small your concern.

Speak to your Health Visitor or GP

If your child is under 5, your first step might be to make an appointment with the Health Visitor at your local family centre.  They can talk to you about your concerns, offer advice, and signpost you to further support if appropriate. 

For older children and young people, you could consider talking to your school nurse, or discussing your concerns with your GP.

The CYP Therapies Advice Line

The Children & Young People's Therapy Service has a dedicated telephone number which parents, carers and professionals can call to speak to a speech and language therapist about a new referral or a child’s development. The advice line number is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Leave a message on the Advice Line - 01923 470680 then select option 3, option 1 - and a therapist will contact you. Calls are responded to by a therapist on weekdays.

The SLCA Advice Line

The Speech, Language, Communication and Autism team operate an Advice Line on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1.30 - 4pm in term time. Tel: 01442 453920

Parents and professionals can call to speak to a Specialist Advisory Teacher about concerns they might have about a child or young person's speech, language or social communication needs and how this might be impacting on their learning.

Things you can try at home to support your child's speech, language and communication.

We know that there can sometimes be a wait for support but there are things you can do to support your child’s communication skills at home. Look under ‘Useful information’ on the Speech and Language Therapy webpage to find information and videos on talking tips, social communication skills, and what to expect when.

Our resources area on the Local Offer also has a collection of activities and websites with some practical tips and strategies you can use at home with your child, including signing, makaton and ideas to help your child learn to talk.

Support at school

If your child is in full-time school you should discuss any concerns you may have with your child’s teacher.  All DSPL areas have a named Speech and Language Therapist that schools are able to contact directly in order to discuss concerns they might have about a child's speech and language development.  Some children can be supported in their school without a referral to the service through advice from the school’s link therapist. 

Your SENCo can also refer your child to the Speech, Language, Communication and Autism Team.  This is a team of qualified teachers and specialists who provide advice and guidance to support schools in developing their provision for children and young people who have needs relating to speech, language, communication and autism.

Services your child or young person can be referred to

 

Page was last updated on: 14/10/2022 13:49:23

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