SP in Schools project 2017 Low Res V2

Identifying students with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)

It is often the impact of the SLCN that is most evident at school – poor literacy, behaviour problems, difficulties with peer–peer interaction, withdrawal from activities – rather than the underlying needs, which can remain “hidden”. The first step in the identification of a student who has SLCN is noticing that they are struggling with their communication. Teachers have a crucial role observing these difficulties. Some students may already have been picked up by allied health practitioners, preschool teachers, or their parents may have raised concerns. However, there are many children and young people whose needs have not been identified. If a student has a speech sound disorder or difficulty with their spoken language, teachers may be able to identify it as soon they meet them. Conversely, the issue that is hardest to detect will be difficulty in understanding language. Children with comprehension

difficulties might outwardly appear to understand as they will often learn the daily classroom routine by watching and copying their peers, and readily respond to any non-verbal cues when available. These children will tend to be very good at “making themselves invisible” and can easily slip under the radar. It is common for the language basis of academic problems to go unrecognised in mid-primary and secondary school students. Identification by you as the speech pathologist should include: • a review of achievement tests to find students scoring poorly in the areas requiring the most complex language demands; • requesting referrals from classroom teachers; • a review of school reports and assessments for students experiencing academic failure.


Speech Pathology Australia: Speech Pathology in Schools Project

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker