Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)

Almost everything we do involves speech, language and/or communication. Everyday tasks, learning, sorting out problems, having a conversation, making friends and having fun all rely on our ability to communicate.
Being able to say what you want to say and to understand what other people are saying is the most important skill we need in life. Yet many people take communication for granted. Some children and young people have difficulty communicating with others and they may have speech, language and communication needs (often referred to as 'SLCN').
Speech refers to:
  • speaking with a clear voice, in a way that makes speech interesting and meaningful;
  • speaking without hesitating too much or without repeating words or sounds;
  • being able to make sounds like 'k' and 't' clearly so people can understand what you say.  
Language refers to talking and understanding:
  • joining words together into sentences, stories and conversations;
  • knowing and choosing the right words to explain what you mean;
  • making sense of what people say.
Communication refers to how we interact with others:
  • using language or gestures in different ways, for example to have a conversation or to give someone directions;
  • being able to consider other people’s point of view;
  • using and understanding body language and facial expressions, such as: knowing when someone is bored, being able to listen to and look at people when having a conversation, knowing how to take turns and to listen as well as talk, and knowing how close to stand next to someone.


If you are concerned about any aspect of your child's speech, language and communication, please speak to his/her class teacher or Miss Gilsenan.


This poster below identifies milestones that primary aged children are likely to be at with their communication.

There are many organisations and charities offering help and guidance for supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. Please click on the images below to access their websites.
At St Chad's, we have recently adopted 'Talk Boost' - a programme aimed at helping children improve their language and communication skills. Talk Boost supports language delayed children aged four - seven years, helping them to make progress with their language and communication skills. Talk Boost has been shown to accelerate children’s progress in language and communication by an average of 18 months after a 10-week intervention.
All of our teaching staff have been specially trained to deliver Talk Boost. It is currently run by our teaching assistants as a targeted intervention for small groups of children three times a week for ten weeks. Each session draws on four activities that cover the key components of language: listening and attention; vocabulary; sentence building; storytelling and conversations.
For all of our children taking part in the Talk Boost programme, we are pro-active in ensuring a strong home-school partnership. Parents are invited to attend sessions frequently so that learning in school and at home can be nurtured, supported, targeted and joined-up.
Further information on Talk Boost can be found here.