SLC Guidance for Professionals

Every child is unique and will grow in their individual way at their own pace. Whilst some will develop communication and language skills easily, others may need more encouragement to notice words and realise the importance of using them to communicate with others.

Children learn best from familiar people and environments. The gift of your time, presence and experience, along with the nurturing environment you create will make the most impact on a child’s life as you are their safe space, their familiarity and their home from home. Do not underestimate the value you can offer to all children, but in particular those who are struggling with their speech, language and communication.

We have developed a range of tools to help you to identify the appropriate means of support based on the child’s needs. These checklists/tools will help you to identify what additional support you can provide and when/where to refer.

In addition to these, you can access our range of quality training courses.

At ANY AGE, please make an immediate referral to Speech and Language Therapy if a child:

  • Is stammering (dysfluent) or if parent reports hearing stammering
  • Has difficulty with eating or drinking in terms of chewing and swallowing (not sensory/behavioural feeding difficulties)
  • Nasal regurgitation of food
  • Nasal sounding speech

If you are working with a child who already has an identified SLC need

In the first instance, you should liaise with the child’s parents and the speech and language therapist (S&LT) if they are already involved.

If they are not yet involved, use the Children's Speech and Language Therapy Communication Checklist to decide if the child needs universal, targeted or specialist support. Don't forget you need parental consent before you can proceed with this. If you are unsure of the level of support a child may need you can contact the Talking Together team for advice on anonymous cases.

You can contact your Area SENCo or the Early Years Inclusion Team for advice and support on how you can support the child within your setting on 01302 734028.

For details of how to refer please visit the S&LT team here

You have identified a child who would benefit from further support

The early identification of a child needing extra support must include the following:

  • Discussion with parents
  • Observations of the child
  • Your knowledge of child development and language acquisition
  • Reference to any EYFS or alternative non-statutory guides the setting is using.

It is important to consider progress or lack of progress – this may be evidenced by your knowledge of the child, and any non-statutory assessment tools that your provision may use.

Don’t forget that at all times you need to follow your Equality or Inclusion policy and procedures.

Speak to the child's parents and establish if their child is accessing any other settings. Ensure that if they are you have a joined up approach to supporting the child.

You can contact the Early Years Inclusion team for anonymous general advice without parental consent.

ASQ health development checks

ASQ assessments are carried out by health with parents at 6 months and 2 years 3 months - These assessments include communication and language.

ASQ’s for general development can be requested by parents via the Health visitor or through the Health Single Point of Contact (SPOC) (e.g. 18 months, 3 years)

The Integrated Progress Check aged 2 is central to early identification. Providers and parents can contact SPOC for advice/information. It can also be contacted in regards to gaining consent to share ASQ information – please see the IPC Integrated Progress Check information here for more information.

Parents can also find the information in the child’s red book.

Referring children you are concerned about

NB Ensure you obtain parental consent before making any referrals.

  • Refer to the S&LT Checklist to identify which ONE of the following pathways is appropriate based on the child's needs.
  1. Child identified as needing targeted Speech and Language services ie you have ticked in the amber and green columns on the checklist - complete Talking Together Referral Form and Talking Together Assessment Form V2.
  2. Child identified as needing specialist Speech and Language services - complete Children's Speech and Language Therapy Communication Checklist and Children's Speech and Language Therapy Referral Form

Or you may need to:

  1. Contact the Early Years Inclusion Team for direct support for the staff in relation to supporting the child.
  2. Refer for a General Development Assessment (GDA). You will need evidence of strategies and need; the provider, (with health input) can refer for a GDA, this requires evidence of 2 cycles of the SEND Assess, Plan Do Review Graduated approach.

NB://The GDA would only be referred for if there are evidenced significant needs.

Services offered on the Talking Together pathway

Growing Together

For children 2-4 years needing support with language, interaction and play.

Sessions delivered in groups or at home to support you and your child in all aspects of development, including communication and language, social interaction and school readiness through fun and engaging play activities.

You will leave each session with ideas on activities you can do at home with your child.

Home Talk

Aimed at children aged 2 years to 2 years 6 months who are saying less than 30 words and not regularly linking words.

Delivered within your home, Home Talk provides support and activities for children and families to enhance early language and communication development.

Referrals can be made by health professionals.

Sessions will take place weekly over 6 weeks followed by reviews at 3 and 6 months.

Growing Talk

Suitable for children aged 2+ with approximately 30-50 words.

Growing Talk is an opportunity to take part in adult led group activities, to help grow and build your child's brain for language and later learning.

Children can be referred by a professional or you can refer your own child.

6 weekly session will provide you and your child with tips, ideas and activities to support communication and language development.

Start for Life - Better Health

For all children from pre-birth to 5 years.

The Start for Life campaign funded by the Department for Education is for all children from pre-birth to 5 years.

Keep a look out for our monthly events designed to support families to carry on the fun at home, boosting children's communication, language and literacy development. Resources and advice are provided to allow you to continue the key message - chat, read and play together.