Speech, language and communication
Speech, language and communication are essential for learning, reading, socialising and making friends and for understanding and expressing emotions and feelings.
A child with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) may:
- use speech that is difficult to understand
- struggle to say words or form sentences
- not understand the words or sentences they hear
- have difficulties knowing how to talk and listen to others in a conversation.
This may be alongside other needs, for example, learning difficulties, a hearing impairment or a diagnosis such as autism spectrum disorder or it may be the only need the child has.
Children and young people develop speech, language and communication skills at different rates and do not always need an SLCN diagnosis or support from a speech and language therapist. Some children develop speech later than their friends. Some may be learning more than one language, which can take longer. Some may have delayed speech due to temporary hearing difficulties from glue ear. These needs usually resolve naturally over time.
Most speech, language and communication needs can be managed in school or nursery with the Graduated Response. Some needs may benefit from a referral for specialist support from the speech and language service.
Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Service
The Speech and Language Therapy Service is provided by Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust. It covers Derby city and the southern half of Derbyshire county. It provides advice and information to support speech, language and communication including the full referral criteria, process and referral form.
Anyone can make a referral to the service, including parents or guardians and young people themselves. This does not need to go through the school or other professionals. However, special educational needs coordinators (SENCo) and health visitors are often best placed to describe the child’s needs and to complete the referral form.