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Ensuring children have the best possible start in life


New educational resource helps meet speech, language and communication needs

Student and qualified health visitors and family nurses can now access a new educational resource to help them develop necessary skills to meet the speech, language and communication needs of children in Scotland. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) created the interactive, web based tool, ‘Speech, Language and Communication’, in partnership with experts from practice and with support from the Scottish Government.

Health visitors and family nurses can use the resource on a variety of mobile devices and it is adaptable enough 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.

Joanne Gibson, Project Lead, NES and SLT NHS Lanarkshire explained:

“The resource aims to support the learning needs of Health Visitors and Family Nurses in relation to early Speech, Language and Communication (SLC) development, and to empower them to deliver early intervention, prevention and identification of SLC needs.”

Speech, language and communication need in children is linked with social disadvantage, poor health and wellbeing and achievements and outcomes in later life. Early intervention is crucial to improve long term, health and social outcomes for children and young people.

Pauline Beirne, National Allied Health Professions, Children & Young People (C&YP) Lead, Scottish Government said:

“The SLC resource marks a really important development for practitioners and CYP in Scotland. It supports the need for early intervention and prevention. A real understanding of SLC is a foundation for attachment relationship building and attainment. This resource should be used by everyone supporting parenting and CYP development in Scotland.’’

The resource provides support to health visitors and family nurses to enhance speech, language and communication skills in the early years so that in later life children will have better health, better wellbeing and improved future outcomes. In turn this will improve the overall health of the population and break the intergenerational cycle of speech, language and communication outcomes and risks.

The resource uses the principles of the Universal Health Visiting Pathway (Scottish Government) and the Getting It Right For Every Child Policy.


Reference: PR2018-019

Further Information From
Jean Cowie, Principal Educator, Nursing Midwifery & Allied Health Professions Directorate, NES. Email:

Note to Editors
NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHSScotland. At any time, this means NES is responsible for over 6,500 trainee healthcare professionals and also supports the recruitment of professionals into Scotland

The Health Visiting and School of Nursing Speech Language and Communication web page is at

The Speech, Language and Communication resource is now live and can be accessed at the following link