Advice for Parents
In January 2011, a survey from the Communication Trust revealed that more than one million children in Britain are suffering from a long-term communication difficulty, though this is only realised by 20 per cent of parents.
Both children and adults may have communication problems. Sometimes the reason has been identified but on many occasions – especially where children are concerned – it may not be easy for the family to name the problem or identify its cause.
Many young children have communication problems because of:
- Delayed development
- Disordered development
- Finding it difficult to put sentences together so that they can be understood (expressive language difficulty)
- Finding it difficult to remember words and their meanings
- Having difficulty in understanding what others say (receptive language difficulty)
- Otitis media (glue ear) causing intermittent hearing impairment which affects learning
- Pragmatic difficulty (using spoken and nonverbal communication to interact socially)
- Selective mutism (only speaking in certain situations)
- Speech dyspraxia / verbal dyspraxia (a motor coordination difficulty affecting pronunciation)
- Using the wrong sounds in speech and not improving following the expected developmental pattern (phonological difficulty)
If you suspect that your child has any of these problems you may be referred to a speech and language therapist (SLT) by your GP.
A speech and language therapist will use a test such as the New Reynell Developmental Language Scales to identify and speech and language delays or impairments you child may have. On visiting the speech and language therapist your child will find a calm setting where he or she is encouraged to play with fun characters and stimulus items to determine their level of both understanding of language (through listening to the SLT and pointing to/directing objects mentioned) and production of language (through speaking and building sentences about a picture or action a character is playing out). Using the NRDLS will highlight the areas of language where a child has problems and where further intervention could be focused.
For further information on speech and language therapy please visit the following informative websites:
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
The professional body for speech and language therapists in the UK
Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice
Provides information on Independent Speech and Language Therapy throughout the UK.
The charity that supports children with speech, language and communication difficulties.
Run by I CAN, Talking Point is a website all about children’s speech, language and communication.
A parent-led organisation to help children and young people with speech and language impairments and their families
The Communication Trust
The Communication Trust raises awareness of the importance of speech, language and communication across the children’s workforce and enable practitioners to access the best training and expertise to support all children’s communication needs.
Hello is the national year of communication – a campaign to increase understanding of how important it is for children and young people to develop good communication skills.
Therapy Directory promote the benefits of complementary therapy and aim to give visitors all the information they need to help them make an informed decision about whether therapy would be right for them.