Speech, language and communication play a vital role in our lives. Without being able to talk to, and understand other people we can’t do things alike: Almost everything we do involves speech, language and or communication Children develop communication skills from birth. They rely on speech, language and communication to be able to learn at school and play with their friends. They need these skills to reach their full potential. Children begin to understand words before they can say them. They then learn how to say these words and how to put them together to make sentences. Some develop quickly, while others may take longer.
Being able to say what you want? and to understand what others are saying are the most important skills we need in life. Yet many people take communication for granted. For some children and young people, communicating with others is difficult and they have speech, language and communication needs – SLCN. This short essay outlines the importance of communication at school, and provides information about SLCN and highlights ways through which a better environment can be structured to facilitate better communication and how those who support them need to understand their difficulties and their ways of communicating.
What is (SLCN)? The term speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) encompass a wide range of difficulties related to all aspects of communication in children and young people. These? can include difficulties with fluency, forming sounds and words, formulating sentences, understanding what others say, and using language socially. ” Bercow, J. (2008) The Bercow Report: A Review of Services for Children and Young People (0-19) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, p. 13. Put simply, children and young people with SLCN find it difficult to communicate with others.
This can be because of difficulties with speech, with talking, with understanding what is said to them or with interacting with other people around them. How well adults understand SLCN can have a really important effect on the impact SLCN make on children and young people’s lives. For some, language is the only difficulty they have; everything? else, like their cognitive and physical skills are ok. This can be called a primary or specific speech, language or communication difficulty or impairment. You may hear the term SLI (specific language impairment).
For others, their SLCN are part of another condition. This can include things like learning difficulties, autism and hearing impairment. SLCN can be very severe and complex. The impacts for children and young people can be felt across all areas of their learning and development. Some children and young people have less severe forms of SLCN. This may be called delayed speech, language and communication. Children and young people are developing speech, language and communication in the same way? as others, following typical patterns of development, but at a slower rate.
Defining Speech, Language and Communication Speech: refers to, saying sounds accurately and in the right places in words; speaking fluently, without hesitating, or prolonging or repeating words or sounds. Language: refers to speaking and understanding what is been said; using words to build up sentences, sentences to build up conversations and longer stretches of spoken words and making sense of what people say. Language is used to represent concepts and thoughts. Communication: refers to how we interact with others; Communication is a vital and continuing process.
It is the means by which all humans make contact, share experiences, understand their world and find their place within it. Why are speech, language and communication skills important? Speech, language and communication skills are the building blocks for learning. Children use their knowledge of sounds in learning to read and spell. They use the words they know to understand what they hear, to share what they think and to ask questions. These words and concepts are vital for making sense of new information or ideas that they are finding out about.
Children and young people’s interactions at school with adults and their peers are crucial in supporting their learning. Research has shown that in areas of social disadvantage, at least 50% of children have delayed language. (Locke, A. , Ginsborg, J. , and Peers, I. 2002) however, it’s important to note that children and young people from all areas and backgrounds can have delayed language. Clinical Pragmatics reflects an emerging awareness that some communication difficulties could not be attributed to ‘purely’ linguistic problems.
For a long time before that, practicing speech and language therapists had worked with children and adults whose primary difficulties seemed to lie with the understanding and/or production of connected discourse. (‘Relevance Theory and Communication Disorders’ Eeva Leinonen and Nuala Ryder, 2008. ) Communication is the basis of our lives and we would in this day and age, be handicapped without it. Everyday we are communicating with each other in some way or another, be it by using words, actions or even expressions in conveying a message.
Communication refers to the exchange of thoughts and ideas with the intention of conveying information. The purpose of communication is to convey one’s beliefs, ideas, thoughts, or needs with clarity so as to reach a consensus or a mutually acceptable solution. But there are factors that can either hinder or help us communicate effectively or not they can be physical or non- physical. The Physical- refers to the environment surrounding the participants in the communication process; for example: (good) good ventilation, chairs and other materials are properly arrange, temperature is set just right, the place or venue is presentable.. tc. (bad) a very noisy place, air pollution, the place is very dirty and the materials for the event is not properly arrange, poor ventilation and extreme temperature.
Non physical- negative attitudes of both source and receiver are barriers to effective communication this comes in the form of disinterest, bigotry, arrogance, or negligence. Facilitating effective communication among children with SLCN A communication friendly environment should make communication as easy, effective and enjoyable as possible. It should provide opportunities for everyone to talk, listen, understand and take part.
There are also simple ways you can make your classroom ‘communication friendly’. This might include thinking about: Space, light and layout? , Noise levels? , Using visual support? , Clear and consistent routines Whatever age you teach, whatever your subject, language is crucial. How many new words do you use in one day? How much do your classes talk with each other, work in groups or share what they have done with the rest of the class? How do you use language to instruct, explain, question and extend? How much written language is there too?
The Cambridge Primary Review states: ‘the ways in which teachers talk to children can influence learning, memory, understanding and the motivation to learn. ’ The first step in identifying a pupil? who has SLCN is by someone noticing that they are struggling with their communication. As a teacher, you have a crucial role in being the ‘someone’ who spots these difficulties. Some ways to help improve communication? are using simple language? ; Use short chunks of language and; only include the important points; repeat and rephrase where necessary; slow your speech and insert more pauses; ? se shorter sentences? and, avoid difficult words.
This will support the communication development t? of all children and young ? people but for some, more specialist interventions will be needed by suitably qualified and experienced professionals e. g. SLT’s and specialist teachers. This might be through a recognized programme such? as the Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme, Language ? through reading or social ? use of Language Programme, or through a combination of approaches tailored to suit the individual child. Communication may be supported through AAC ? uch as signing, use of low- tech strategies such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) or an electronic voice output device. This will also mean that adults supporting these children will need specialist skills and training. Conclusion With the right support at the right time, children and young people with SLCN can have their needs understood, identified and supported. This will enable them to engage positively with learning and socializing, to develop independence and a positive self-image and to experience a wide range of life chances.
Courtney from Study Moose
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