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Speech, Language and Communication Need in Children


25-April-2018

The "Speech, language and communication: ‘Giving children the best possible start in life’ " resource supports students, qualified health visitors and family nurses to develop the skills to work effectively in meeting the speech language and communication needs of children in Scotland, as well as empowering parents to give their children the best possible start in life.


Speech, language and communication need (SLCN) in children, is linked with social disadvantage, poor health and well-being, and achievements and outcomes in later life. (RCSLT). Early intervention, therefore, is crucial for improving long term health and social outcomes for children and young people. Many children, particularly from disadvantaged areas, are reported to start school with immature or poorly developed language skills (Hartshorne, 2006). This impacts on their ability to learn, and without the right support they are at higher risk of leaving school with few qualifications and poor employment prospects. This situation is intergenerational and recurring (RCSLT, 2017).


Health visitors and family nurses have a key role in assessing and profiling speech, language and communication development in children and breaking the intergenerational cycle of speech, language and communication need. They also have a crucial role in supporting parents who are the closest to their child to influence their child’s speech, language and communication development in a non-intrusive way. However, a study by the Communication Trust (2017) highlighted that one third of the children and young people’s workforce, in England, lacked confidence in supporting speech, language and communication needs in children.


To improve the confidence of early years workers in supporting speech, language and communication development in young children, a working group consisting of lecturers and practitioners in health visiting, speech and language therapy, and psychology worked together to develop the speech, language and communication resource. Using the principles of GIRFEC and the Universal Health Visiting Pathway (Scottish Government), the resource aims to support students and qualified health visitors and family nurses develop the skills to work effectively in meeting the speech language and communication needs of children in Scotland, as well as empowering parents to give their children the best possible start in life.


The tool is interactive and versatile and can be accessed on a computer, tablet and smart phone and has the flexibility to be used to support decision-making and practice regarding speech language and communication in the client’s home or in the clinic as, and when, needed. The tool also signposts practitioners to suitable resources to help empower parents to promote speech, language and communication in their children, and give them the best possible start in life.


The "Speech, language and communication: Giving children the best possible start in life" resource is accessible from the following link  http://slctoolforhv.nes.digital/

 

References

Hartshorne M. The Cost to the Nation of Children’s Poor Communication. I CAN Talk Series – Issue 2. London: I-CAN. 2006

Available from: http://licensing.ican.org.uk/sites/licensing.ican.org.uk/files/Evidence/2_The_Cost_to_the_Nation_of_Childrens_Poor_Communication.pdf

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Scotland (RCSLTS). Speech Language and Communication Capacity. A National Asset. Edinburgh: RCSLTS. 2017

Available from: https://www.rcslt.org/news/news/2016_news_archive/growing_communication_assets_scotland

Scottish Government. National Practice Model

Available from: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/Young-People/gettingitright/national-practice-model

Up-dated 2016 

The Communication Trust. Professional development in speech, language and communication: Findings from a National Survey. 2017. London: The Communication Trust

Available from: https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/media/526748/1._tct_workforce_development_report_final_online.pdf