Understand the importance of speech, language and communication for children’s overall development.
Explain each of these terms:
Speech: Communication via verbal means. The art of expressing or describing thoughts, feelings or perceptions by the articulation of words.
Language: Communication of thoughts and feelings through systematic signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.
Communication: To communicate is to be able to convey thoughts, information or feelings using signals, speech, body language, or by the written word.
Speech, language and communication needs: A child who is diagnosed with a SLCN is experiencing a communication breakdown due to a difficulty with one or more of the different elements of speech, language or communication. This may be a minor, temporary or a long-term difficulty, which requires extra assistance to support the child’s development needs.
Explain how speech, language and communication skills support each of the following areas in children’s development:
Learning, Speech and language skills allows a child to communicate and develop their skills. This enables them to participate in activities and allows them to share their opinions and develop their own ideas.
Emotional, Speech and language skills enables a child to communicate how they’re feeling effectively. This helps towards their own social development and it also enables them to convey their emotions in a more socially accepted way.
Behaviour, speech and language skills enable a child to learn and understand boundaries and limits. This encourages a child to learn to behave in an appropriate and acceptable way.
Social, Speech, language and communication skills support social development as a child can start to recognise how others feel by watching their body language and listening to what they say and learn to adjust their behaviour accordingly. Children also start to understand social codes and how to behave appropriately. This helps children to start to bond relationships with their peers and learn social skills they will use throughout life.
Describe the potential impact of speech, language and communication difficulties on the overall development of a child, both currently and longer term.
For a child that is experiencing problems with speech, language and communication it can affect a lot of aspects of their development: social, behaviour, emotional and learning will all be impacted. In most cases a child will catch up but this is not always the case and could lead to difficulties throughout their life.
With some children their disability cannot be prevented, but early intervention is just as vital as those with less severe difficulties to help give a child the best possible support that they need. The impact of these difficulties will vary according to the severity of the problem. Early identification is paramount to offer a child as much help to develop their skills as much as possible.
Short term affects:
Frustration: A child will become easily frustrated at not being able to tell you what they want or if something is upsetting them.
Anger: A child will easily become angry at being unable to communicate their needs.
Withdrawn: A child may seem withdrawn and tend to play by themselves more. Understanding games and play their peers are doing will be difficult for them to understand.
Low levels of confidence: A child may lose confidence in themselves. They won’t have to confidence to approach others as they don’t have the communication skills to be understood.
Difficulties in friendships: (socialising) A child may be left behind as their peers communicate and build relationships.
Difficulties in learning new information: Lack of communication will leave a child finding it hard to learn new information. Listening to game rules and adapting them into practice will be difficult and the child may not have the ability to ask for help or for the instructions to be repeated.
Unwanted behaviour: They may be labelled naughty from acting out but the problem could be stemming from frustration on not being able to articulate their needs. Or they may not have understood the verbal instructions given and labelled as being defiant or thought to be misbehaving.
Longer term affects:
Lower self-esteem: Lack of speech, language and communication skills may leave an adult with low self-esteem. Will find it hard to achieve a career, social life and may feel isolated to the outside world.
Not achieved their potential: Will find following any career hard to do. May not have done well in school.
Find it hard to make and maintain relationships: May find it hard to achieve any friendship. May have never bond a relationship or family life.
Become isolated: If never found solid friendship or a career, may feel isolated at home. Money and lack of friendship may restrict any outings.
Not reach independence: Lack of employment may have never given them the freedom to leave the family home.
Developed anti-social behaviour in some cases: High levels of speech, language and communication difficulties are found among the young offender population (Bryan, 2004).
Low education, speech and literacy difficulties are risk factors for offending (Tomblin, 2000).
A person with speech language and communication skills can have a huge impact on literacy development, Academic achievement, social relationships and personal skills, self-esteem and confidence levels, emotional and behaviour. This can impact further on employment, socialising, and everyday life chances.
Understand the importance and the benefits of adults supporting the speech, language and communication development of the children in own setting.
Explain the ways in which adults can effectively support and extend the speech, language and communication development of children during early years.
There are a number of ways an adult can effectively support and extend the speech, language and communication development with children during the early years. As a childcare practitioner I need to adapt my own language to the ability and age of the child. If a child uses English as a second language or not yet using speech themselves, I may point to an object and simply say what it is. When offering them a piece of apple at snack, I may just offer it out to the child and say “apple.” or when it is nap time and placing them on their sleep mat, simply say “nap time.” or “lay down.” if they keep getting up. I may accompany that with an action as if I was laying down too. When a child passes me an item or toy I would say what the item is. Say if a child passes me a car I would say “car.”
This gives the child an opportunity to repeat the word back to me and start to recognise what the item is. A child I look after needs daily cream on his skin. When it comes to time for me to put it on, I always smile and say “*his name* cream” he started by smiling and repeating this back. Now as soon as I get the cream out he says it before I do. This has helped him understand it’s his cream and seems to put him more at ease when I do apply it. Singing and action songs help bring on a child’s speech, they will start by listening, in time start to follow the actions and later on start singing some of the words which will eventually lead to singing the full song.
For instance ‘wheels on the bus’ is sung most days with-in nursery. A child may start doing the actions for the doors open and shut, or the horn goes beep, beep, beep. In time they will sing “open and shut” and “beep, beep, beep” along with the action for the song. There was one child in nursery that used to sing “all day long” at random intervals throughout the day. When I heard him sing this, I used to try and sing the song and involve the other children too.
As a child starts to grow older I’ll use simple sentences. Instead of just holding out a piece of apple and saying “apple.” I will ask “would you like some apple?” when passing over the apple say “thank you.” And encourage the child to say “thank you” too. When a child is playing with some bricks try to ask what they’re building. Or if they’re a little younger say “are you building?” always giving a child an opportunity to reply and never replying for them.
This helps a child learn simple conversation skills. Copying and extending helps when developing children’s speech skills. Say if a child points to a car and says “car” say “yes, it is a yellow car.” I could try and say “is it a fast car?” to try and encourage a reply from the child, even a “yes” or “no” is a good start in early years communication. If they’re more advanced I would say “do you think it is a fast car?” and try to promote a conversation with the child.
Looking through books and reading is another way to support speech, language and communication skills. For a baby, I would read the story and just point to the pictures and say what the object is or the name of the character. As they get a little older, ask them to point to the object or character “where is the balloon?” As they progress I may ask them what just happened in the story, the questions getting more advanced as the child’s skills develop.
From reception age in school, children are given books to take home to read. This act helps parents get involved in their child’s development. I try to encourage the parent to ask their child questions while reading the book. This helps the parent to see if their child is understanding the story they’re reading and also promotes communication skills for the child. Homework is also given to the child and the same rule applied, I’ve asked the parents to look through the homework after a child has finished or while they’re still doing the homework. Encourage parents to play games with the children. If a child has particularly enjoyed playing a game that afternoon, say a game of snap. Tell the parents and mention it may be fun to do at home if they get the chance. A child will communicate and talk more while having fun.
Explain the positive effects of adult support for the children and their carers.
As a practitioner I need to make positive, professional relationships with a child’s carer. There should be a two-way flow of knowledge and information between parents and myself about their child’s speech, language and communication development. For example, a setting needs to know the words or gestures that a child uses at home, and parents will appreciate being told about the rhymes and songs that their child enjoys in nursery so that they can repeat them at home. You should be celebrating each child’s successes with parents, being enthusiastic and sharing the high aspirations you have for their child’s progress. Parents should be confidently contributing to their child’s learning and development record and being kept well informed about their child’s progress.
As a practitioner I need to make sure that hand gestures and signals are the same as the ones being used at home. I don’t want to be using one signal for lunchtime and the child’s carer is using a different one at home. This would lead to confusion for the child and could possibly hinder their learning. A parent will more than likely be happy to run through what they do at home and will also help to build the parents confidence in what I’m doing to help the child achieve their communication skills goals. We need to be singing from the same sheet to help the child as much as possible.
I need to demonstrate to parents that their contributions are valued. For example, I need to think carefully about how I would respond, both verbally and non-verbally, to a parent who tells me that their child knows all the words to ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ when I know that in the setting the child doesn’t join in at all. Do I think ‘I’m not sure that’s true’ while saying to the parent ‘oh yes’ in a noncommittal way, or do I ask them what other rhymes the child likes to sing, make a note of them and then reflect on what may be inhibiting the child from singing in the setting?
An effective setting should be sharing its good practice with parents, and also indicating to them where they can receive extra support or advice about children’s speech, language and communication development. Most children’s centres provide support groups or training for parents.
Basically the support I give to a child and their carer, whether it be advice on how to promote speech, language communication at home, just listening to what a parent says about their child and being a friendly ear, offering help in finding a support group or training can have an impact on a child’s future and help a parent/carer to help/guide their child to the child’s full capabilities. If a parent feels confident in what I’m doing just a child will, they’ll talk more to me and we can together make their child’s learning journey a positive one.
Explain how levels of speech and language development vary between children entering early years provision and need to be taken into account during settling in and planning.
Every child is different and children learn at different speeds, not only this but the personality of a child needs to be taken into account. Some children are very daring and upfront, while others may be a little shy and not want to jump into an activity at first, may need a little coaxing.
Before a child’s first day, I should have met the parents, they come for an initial one hour visit with their child, this gives me a chance to speak and meet the parents/carers as well as the child. Gives me chance to find out a little more about the child, what stage they may be at and I can see how they get themselves around the nursery. This is also day one of building a relationship with the parent and child. This meeting gives me a chance to plan on the childs second visit which is a hour on their own in the room. I will have an idea if the child needs me to sit with them, maybe just read a story or play a game.
Try to comfort them and distract them from the fact their carer is not there. Or if the child is very outgoing, they may prefer this first opportunity to explore the room, play with the other children. In this case I would try to set up a group activity, for example get out some paper and crayons or open the sand pit. In both cases I will try to get as much information as I can via an activity to find more out about what learning stage a child is at so that I can plan for when they start nursery what I need to be doing.
One child may start nursery knowing basic language skills, be able to say “Mum” “Dad” “Car” “Cat” “Dog” ect… Another of the same age may just be babbling or may even not be saying anything at all yet. It is important I e.stablish pretty quickly where a child is, to help them achieve their next stage.