Over one million children in the UK have some kind of speech language and communication needs. This is known as SLCN for short.
Every child is different. Their needs depend on different factors, including:
- Which areas of speech, language and communication they struggle with.
- How severely these areas are affected.
- What skills and strengths they have.
- How they need to use their skills.
- Their level of confidence and self-esteem.
This section gives a general introduction to the kinds of needs children may have. Some information may not be relevant to your child.
- Difficulties with speech sounds.
- Difficulties with understanding language. Also known as receptive skills.
- Difficulties with producing language. Also known as expressive skills.
- Difficulties with using language appropriately in context. Also known as social skills or pragmatic skills.
Some children may have difficulty in only one of these areas. Others may have difficulty in more than one.
Some children may have difficulties that can be helped quite easily. Others may have greater needs. Some children will have life-long difficulties that will affect them significantly.
Sometimes children develop their skills in the usual way, but at a slower rate. This is often called a ‘delay’ or ‘delayed speech and language development’.
Sometimes children may have specific difficulties with speech and language, and this is called 'SLI', which stands for specific language impairment. Read more about SLI here.