General guidance and strategies to develop speech, language and communication

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The resources here will help you reach the outcome: "I know what to do and have the resources to support all toddlers' speech, language and communication."

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Hungry Little Minds

Short videos demonstrating strategies and ideas for easy, fun games for you to use in your day to day interactions with toddlers.  This information can be shared with parents and carers so that they can also be used at home.  The information is broken down according to the child's age and the suggestions can be used flexibly, in any language, by both parents and practitioners.  

 

 

 

 

Cost: Free

Hungry Little Minds
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Tiny Happy People

Tiny Happy People BBC website provides a wide range of information, ideas and activities for you to use and signpost parents to use in daily routines to help develop toddlers' communication skills. The website is for parents of children aged up to 5 years, parents can choose information that is relevant to the age of their child.  It includes information about what to expect and when as well as activities and games to play to help speech, language and communication.  It includes information, ideas and activities for parents of toddlers with SEND.

 

 

Cost: Free

Tiny Happy People
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Switch off and talk

Toddlers find it hard to focus on two things at once. TV and other background noise make it hard for them to learn. You can help your toddler to develop good listening and talking skills by switching off electronic devices. This webpage and leaflet provides families with information about why this is important.

Cost: Free

Switch off and talk
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Early Language Identification Measure and Intervention (ELIM)

This handbook is a guide for practitioners to carry out the Early Language Identification Measure and Intervention programme as part of the 2 to 2½ year review. It is structured as a conversation with the child’s parent/carer, encouraging practitioners to support the parent/carer to make informed decisions for their child.  It outlines the 3 steps of the Early Language Identification Measure and Intervention programme.

The first step (Assessment) concerns a simple measure for identifying which children might have early SLCN as part of their 2 to 2½ year review. Based on the outcomes of this first step, those children where there is no current need can be offered general signposting to support ongoing language development. Where a need is identified they can be offered step 2 and 3 of the identification and intervention programme.

The second step (Conversation) gives guidance on how to discuss and explore the identified needs and observations of the child’s language with the parent/carer. This may then lead to signposting to specific support and consideration of options.

These can be explored fully in the third step (Intervention) which offers a framework for comprehensive engagement with families to work in partnership on agreed goals and interventions tailored to the family.

Cost: Free

Early Language Identification Measure and Intervention (ELIM)
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Parent information, advice and resources - Worcestershire

The Worcestershire Speech and Language Therapy service website provides a comprehensive range of resources, advice and You Tube videos to help parents to support their child / young person at home. 

Visit the website to find:

  • Information about speech, language and communication
  • Free resources you can download and use at home
  • Links to our You Tube channel where you will find demonstrations of activities you can do at home
  • Further information about the local team, where we work and what services we provide 

Cost: Free

Parent information, advice and resources - Worcestershire
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EIF Early Years Library - Recognising and Expressing Emotions

The Early Intervention Foundation's Early Years Library contains booklets covering core social and emotional skills and key practices that can be used to support skill development.  The 'Recognising and expressing emotions' booklet provides information about: 

  • Learning feeling words
  • Identifying feelings using facial expressions and body language
  • Describing how we feel
  • Recognising other people’s feelings

Click here for the Recognising and expressing emotions booklet 

Access all booklets in the Early Years Library here: https://www.eif.org.uk/resource/early-years-library

Cost: Free

EIF Early Years Library - Recognising and Expressing Emotions
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EIF Early Years Library - Communicating with others

The Early Intervention Foundation's Early Years Library contains booklets covering core social and emotional skills and key practices that can be used to support skill development.  The 'Communicating with others' booklet provides information about: 

  • Communicating non-verbally
  • Engaging in conversation
  • Listening
  • Greeting others and introducing yourself
  • Using polite language

Click here for the Communicating with others booklet 

Access all booklets in the Early Years Library here: https://www.eif.org.uk/resource/early-years-library

Cost: Free

EIF Early Years Library - Communicating with others
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Be face to face at the toddler's level

Being at the toddler's level and being face to face with them helps them to listen, concentrate and understand the message. It also helps you to see where their focus is and what they are trying to communicate. This simple video produced by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust shows why this is important.

Cost: Free

Be face to face at the toddler's level
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TCT Universally Speaking 0-5

Universally Speaking is a series of booklets for parents or anyone who works with children and includes a booklet for children aged 0-5.  It gives typical communication skills, including attention and listening and understanding; interactions and speech.  Use the booklets to find out whether a child is on the right track, what helps them learn to talk and listen and what to do if you have concerns about any of their communication abilities.  You can also share this with the families of children you support.

 

Cost: Free

TCT Universally Speaking 0-5
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Follow the toddler's lead

Giving toddlers a chance to play with and explore the objects and toys around them gives you the perfect opportunity to follow their lead, see what they are interested in and talk about it.  Talking about what toddlers are interested in shows them that you value what they are doing and helps them to make links with the words and sentences you say.  Use this strategy with toddlers you work with and share this information with their families.

Cost: Free

Follow the toddler's lead
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Enquiry Line

The Speech and Language UK Enquiry Service gives parents a chance to discuss questions or concerns about their child’s speech, language and communication development with one of Speech and Language UK’s speech and language therapists.  The therapists can give helpful information about children’s talking and communication development as well as tips on improving these skills. They can also offer advice on ages and stages and what can be done to help the child get the right support.

 

Cost: Free

Enquiry Line
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Afasic

Afasic supports parents and carers with young children who have difficulties with listening, talking and understanding others. Here is information for you to use and share with families of the children you support. It includes a wide range of information about talking, listening and understanding and what might cause these difficulties.  If families are worried that their toddler is not talking or not saying as much as other children of their age, they can contact Afasic by telephone or email to speak to someone who can help. 

Cost: Free

Afasic
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Afasic Parent Helpline

If a parent is worried about their child / young person's speech, language and communication, share this Afasic helpline information so that they can speak to someone who can help by telephone or email.

Cost: Free

Afasic Parent Helpline
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Dummies fact sheet

Using a dummy can have an effect on toddlers' communication and development of speech sounds. Get Hackney Talking have provided tips on how to cut down on dummy use as well as lots of other useful information to help parents know what they can do to support their toddler's communication development.

Cost: Free

Dummies fact sheet
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Word Aware 2 - Early Years

Word Aware 2 - Early Years applies theory to a practical and structured approach to teaching word learning.   This is a highly practical, comprehensive resource designed to support you in the provision of effective vocabulary development in preschool children of all abilities.  

Cost: £

Word Aware 2 - Early Years
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Talk together in daily routines

This leaflet provides information for you to use and to share with parents and carers about how to use everyday activities and routines to talk about what toddlers can see and what is happening. Toddlers learn from experiences and activities that happen over and over again.  This gives adults a chance to use the same words and sentences many times.  Linking these to daily routines will help toddlers to make links between the words, sentences and what they mean.

Cost: Free

Talk together in daily routines
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Speech and Language UK Ages and Stages

This is a guide to the typical stages of speech and language development in children.  Children develop language at different rates. However, understanding what is typical can help you identify speech and language problems early.  This page also provides information about how to support toddlers' development.

 

 

Cost: Free

Speech and Language UK Ages and Stages
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Sing songs and rhymes

Singing songs and rhymes together really help toddlers communication and language skills to grow. Nottinghamshire Language for Life have produced videos for parents and carers that you can see by clicking the playlist on this page. Visit the 'words' page to learn the words to these songs and rhymes

Cost: Free

Sing songs and rhymes
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Share books

Sharing books is a great way to help a toddler's talking. Making books part of your daily routine really helps to develop shared focus, communication and language skills.  Use and share this Nottinghamshire Language for Life information leaflet about book sharing as well as many other top tips leaflets to help families you work with understand how to support speech, language and communication.

Cost: Free

Share books
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Expansions - repeat and add

One way to help toddlers make longer sentences is to repeat and add a word or 2.  Here NHS Tayside's Rhyming Robin and Chatty Charlie share information about how to do this as well as many other top tips for putting words together. Use these strategies in your setting and share with parents so that they can support their toddler at home.  

Cost: Free

Expansions - repeat and add
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Labelling and Commenting

Using real word labels and commenting on what toddlers are interested in helps them to learn new words and understand how sentences work.  Here NHS Tayside's Rhyming Robin and Chatty and Charlie share information about how to do this as well as many other top tips for learning words and developing language. Use these strategies in your interactions with toddlers you support and share with their families.

Cost: Free

Labelling and Commenting
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Copy, repeat, imitate

Copying toddlers; sounds, words and actions shows them you're interested in what they are saying and doing, encourages them to do more and shows them how conversations and communication works. Here NHS Lothian share ideas of what you can do to help toddlers early communication skills. Use these strategies with the toddlers you work with and share these ideas with their families.

Cost: Free

Copy, repeat, imitate
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What Works database

The Communication Trust worked with the Better Communication Research Programme to develop the What Works database of evidenced interventions to support children's speech, language and communication. What Works is endorsed by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.  It supports practitioners to deliver evidence-informed interventions and approaches to support children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.

What Works database
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Greater Manchester 10 Tips for Talking

The Greater Manchester (GM) 10 Tips for Talking are ten key messages to support the development of language and communication skills for babies and young children and can be used by everyone. Each tip is designed to give families and anyone working with children some small suggestions that can make a big difference and help give children the best start. Each message is based on sound research and is delivered by children.

Cost: Free

Greater Manchester 10 Tips for Talking
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Talking With Your Children

Activities for parents to help nursery children’s speaking and listening Skills.  This booklet has been put together to help parents and carers to support their nursery aged children and contains examples of activities to do to support their speaking and listening. 

 

Cost: Free

Talking With Your Children
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Slow down

Find out how to slow down your talking and understand more about how this can help your child.

Cost: Free

Slow down
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WellComm Toolkit

The WellComm Assessment is for use with any child aged 6 months to 6 years and enables practitioners to evaluate children's language skills, draw up a detailed profile and identify children at risk of having difficulty in developing language skills.  It identifies those children who need setting-based monitoring and support and those who need referral to specialist support services.  The screen is completed through observation, discussion with families and screening by asking children to carry out a variety of tasks ensuring that results obtained and conclusions drawn are more accurate than using one approach alone.

The WellComm Big Book of Ideas has been designed for use following a WellComm assessment of any child aged 6 months to 6 years.  It includes general strategies as well as very specific activities to develop and improve children's speech and language skills and can be implemented by any early years practitioner or parent using toys and items that can be found in settings or at home.  The activities are used to develop the particular skills highlighted for support in the assessment - this means that the activities delivered are specific and appropriate to the individual child language development stage and can be used in the setting or at home.

Training videos are included in the toolkit.  

WellComm Toolkit
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NLT Tips for talking leaflets

The National Literacy Trust provides a wide range of parent-friendly downloadable leaflets outlining tips for talking, why talking to your toddler matters and the benefits for their development. The ideas include information for talking in daily routines such as during nappy changing, information for dads and activities to support communication when out and about. 

 

Cost: Free

NLT Tips for talking leaflets
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EYBIC Word Pack

Early Years Based Information Carrying Word Pack is a rich resource of beautiful pictures and interesting activities to help you assess and promote the vocabulary, speaking and listening of toddlers you work with through the principle of Information Carrying Words.  The Information Carrying Words concept provides a structured framework which helps children increase the amount of information they can remember. At the same time EYBIC will develop their knowledge and language of everyday topics.

Cost: £

EYBIC Word Pack
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Watch, wait, listen and respond

Watching, waiting, listening and responding is a powerful way that we can help toddlers develop early communication skills.  Waiting for toddlers to take their turn or share what they are interested in can be difficult when we are busy getting on with life.  However it is key to giving them opportunities to develop communication and language skills.  This leaflet and video from the Speech and Language Therapy Service in Greater Glasgow and Clyde outlines why and how to wait and respond.  It forms part of a wider series of useful information for parents, carers and professionals.

Cost: Free

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Creating Opportunities to Communicate

Birmingham Community Healthcare Speech and Language Therapists have produced this video to show parents and carers how to make small changes throughout the day to increase a child's opportunities to communicate and have a reason to communicate.

Cost: Free

Creating Opportunities to Communicate
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EIF Early Years Library - Language and Listening

The Early Intervention Foundation's Early Years Library contains booklets covering core language and early literacy skills and key practices that can be used to support skill development.  The Language and listening booklet provides information about: 

  • Learning new words
  • Using new words in context
  • Listening and responding
  • Remembering stories
  • Answering questions about a story

Click here for the Language and Listening booklet

Access all booklets in the Early Years Library here: https://www.eif.org.uk/resource/early-years-library

Cost: Free

EIF Early Years Library - Language and Listening
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Every Child a Talker

The materials are designed to support you to develop high quality language provision in your setting. The guidance helps you to create developmentally appropriate, supportive and stimulating environments in which young children can enjoy experimenting with and learning language. It can be implemented in Early Years settings, including childminders.

Cost: Free

Every Child a Talker
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BBC Something Special

Something Special uses songs, rhymes and visual humour with Makaton sign language to help practitioners and parents learn how to support communication with signing in a fun and exciting way.  

 

Cost: Free

BBC Something Special
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Clickety Books

Clickety Books are fun books and resources to share with toddlers to encourage development and will help children who may have difficulty with certain speech sounds.  They have been developed by speech and language therapists to support the speech and language development of all children as well as those who need a little extra help.  They include Early Sound Play resources that are built around stories - these stories are filled with particular target sounds, alliteration, rhythm and rhyme to develop early phonological awareness.  The story books can also be used to develop vocabulary, sentence and narrative skills boosting children's literacy skills.  Puppets are also available to help with the interactive book-sharing experience! 

 

Cost: £

Clickety Books
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Speech and Language Chatter Matters

This series of videos for parents and carers outlines how speech, language and communication skills develop; what families can do to support their child; how these skills develop over time; children with speech and language needs and how to access information and support.

Cost: Free

Speech and Language  Chatter Matters
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National Literacy Trust Bilingual quick tips

The National Literacy Trust has produced a series of bilingual quick tips for parents and practitioners to help children develop good talking and listening skills. There are lots of different languages.  Copies can be downloaded and shared with families.

- Say hello to your new baby
- Dummies and talking
- Talk to your baby and child in your own language
- Making the most of television
- Talking with your baby
- Sharing songs and rhymes
- Playing with your baby

Cost: Free

National Literacy Trust Bilingual quick tips
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Stoke Speaks Out - Out and About activity packs

Being out and about is a great opportunity for language learning! Download these free printable activity packs for ideas to support your child's speech and language and occupy their busy little minds while you're out and about.

Cost: Free

Stoke Speaks Out - Out and About activity packs
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