Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) find it difficult to listen, understand and communicate with others, and may need support to develop these skills.
They may have difficulty with only one speech, language or communication skill, or with several.
A child with SLCN may:
- have speech that is difficult to understand
- struggle to say words or sentences
- not understand words that are being used or the instructions they hear
- have difficulty knowing how to talk and listen to others in a conversation
- have difficulty saying what they want to, even though they have ideas
- talk in sentences but be difficult to understand
- sound muddled, it can be difficult to follow what they are saying
- have difficulty remembering the words they want to say
- find it hard to join in and follow what is going on in the playground.
Some children will have mild problems that are short-lived while others will have severe and persistent difficulties that are likely to continue over time.
Sometimes SLCN can be associated with another condition such as autism, hearing loss, cerebral palsy or Down's syndrome. There are times when there may be no clearly identifiable cause. This is known as developmental language disorder (DLD).
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a ‘spectrum condition’ which means that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.
Autism is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder or ASD. There are four main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share. They are:
- social communication
- social interaction
- restricted and repetitive behaviours
- sensory processing differences.
Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives. Others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.
The NHS has more information on autism and receiving a diagnosis.
You can also find out more about the support offered by our Brent Outreach Autism Team (BOAT).