SP in Schools project 2017 Low Res V2

Common speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)

Children who start school with oral language difficulties are at risk of experiencing challenges when learning to read and spell. Some children have problems with language development that creates significant barriers within everyday life or educational progress. Developmental language disorder (DLD) has recently emerged in the literature as the preferred term for language problems that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Speech, language and communication needs can also include the following: • limited eye contact; • poor turn taking and difficulty with starting and ending conversations; • problems getting the conversation back on track after two people have talked at once, or if there has been a misunderstanding between them; • difficulty understanding or responding to feedback from the listener, (e.g., not noticing when someone is bored or doesn’t understand something); • difficulty staying on topic in conversation; • difficulty using language to negotiate in discussions or arguments; • word finding difficulties and basic use of vocabulary; • difficulty understanding and/or using meta linguistic skills such as interpreting abstract information, inferring meaning from non-literal language, understanding and using linguistic devices such as cohesive devices, ellipsis and humour.

The following information is included to provide speech pathologists with the latest advice regarding “red flags”. A useful resource: Visser-Bochane, Margot I., Gerrits, E., Van der Schans, C. P., Reijneveld, S. A. and Luinge, M. R. (2016). Atypical speech and language development: a consensus study on clinical signs in the Netherlands. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders , 52 (1), 10–20. Markers of potential concern The following features are markers of potential concern (red flags) for language development of children. 4–5 years of age: • At most, three-word sentences • No simple sentences • Not intelligible for strangers • Not 50–75% intelligible for parents • Disturbed interaction • Does not understand spoken language/cannot process spoken language quickly enough 5–6 years of age: • Poorly intelligible for teacher/grandparents • No adequate reaction to questions or commands • Does not understand composite commands • At most, simple sentences • Poor intelligibility • Does not ask questions 6–7 years of age: • Does not understand composite commands • Disturbed communication • Incomplete sentences • No adequate reaction to questions or commands • Poor understanding of language • Poor intelligibility • Poor vocabulary • Does not produce compound sentences

• Poor story telling • Cluster reduction


Speech Pathology Australia: Speech Pathology in Schools Project

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