One of our key aims is for local practitioners, working with young children, to feel confident in identifying those who may have, or be at risk of having speech, language and communication needs.
The Communication Trust’s ‘Early Identification Framework’ is a really useful tool to support you in the process of identifying needs and putting early support in place. Click here to download the full framework.
Step 1 of the framework – ‘Be alert’ - refers to all children – there are several free documents and websites which you might find helpful to look further at speech, language and communication development, we have added some examples below. Alongside your discussion with parents, these resources can also support you at Step 2 to ‘check out’ your concerns and find out more details about how the children should be developing.
- Universally Speaking – a handy booklet which offers information about typical speech, language and communication development from birth to 5. Order one copy for free or download.
- Talking Point – a great website, with information about typical development, as well as lots of hints and tips. Lots of free downloadable leaflets and posters.
In addition, there are also resources you can buy; some of which offer screening assessment tools which can be used with all of your children at step 1 or to check things out further at step 2. For example:
- Progress Check (ICAN) – a checklist for development of children between 24 and 36 months.
- Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools (The Communication Trust) – a more detailed screening tool. Developed by specialists in speech, language and communication in collaboration with teachers, SENCos and teaching assistants. The tools are available for ages three years, four years and for school age children throughout primary and secondary years. Designed to help measure how children are progressing and identify areas of need.
- WellComm – a toolkit which includes a screening assessment for use with children from six months to six years of age.
Step 3 – early action
If you have further concerns about the child's speech, language or communication development, you can support parents/carers to access SLT services via our drop in service or by making a referral. For more information click here.
While it is really important to get help early if you are concerned, sometimes you might want to try putting some strategies in place yourselves to support the child’s development before making a referral, or while you are waiting for the child to be assessed. Useful ideas can be found at:
- There are also resources available to purchase which can guide you to specific activities depending on a child’s needs, for example on the WellComm toolkit.
- For a more structured intervention programme have a look at ICAN’s Early Talk Boost and Talk Boost programmes. Early talk Boost or Talk Boost
Throughout all three steps of the Early Identification Framework it’s really important to ensure that you feel confident in your own knowledge of speech, language and communication development and access relevant training regularly – find out more about what we can offer here