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.
Balanced System for Schools and Settings
The Balanced System Scheme for Schools and Settings is a whole system approach to improving outcomes for children across the range of speech, language and communication needs for any setting that supports children. The framework enables a setting to understand existing need and provision for speech, language and communication and develop provision to address the gaps. The framework supports a setting to demonstrate impact of the support for speech, language and communication.
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.
NHS Services and support for parents
NHS website with details for how to find a GP, Health Visitor and child health clinics in your area
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.
Language for Learning
Language for Learning provides training and resources to support everyone working with children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.
Developed in 2000 by a specialist teacher and a speech and language therapist, Language for Learning is a Worcestershire joint health and education non-profit making project managed by the NHS service.
Language for Learning provides training to the wider workforce in early years settings and schools, equipping practitioners to support children and young people effectively. A wide range of training courses are available from half day courses to three day intensive courses. Language for Learning also has a resource catalogue full of practical resources and ideas to support children in their setting.
Visit the website to find out more
Cost: Training commissioned by schools and settings
Peep Communication and Language strand - evidence-based parenting programme for parents and children together to attend together. There is a focus on bonding, attachment and the quality of the home learning environment as well as a focus on communication and language. Parents have the opportunity to gain 3 credits towards NOCN Learning Together at home.
Peep Early Literacy Strand - evidence-based parenting programme for parents and children to attend together. There is a focus on bonding, attachment and the quality of the home learning environment as well as a focus on literacy. Parents have the opportunity to gain 3 credits towards NOCN Learning Together at home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Use everyday routines
Use everyday routines as times to introduce language learning opportunities to toddlers. This leaflet from NHS Ayrshire and Arran gives you ideas for everyday routines that are perfect for learning and includes information about ways to do this. Use these ideas with the toddlers you work with and share with their families.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Development Matters supports all those working in early childhood education settings to implement the requirements of the EYFS and support the early learning of young children. It can be used as part of daily observations, ongoing assessment and to inform planning. It can also be used to make best-fit summative judgements and with parents in relation to whether a child is showing typical development, is at risk of delay or is ahead for their age. The age and stage bands suggest a typical range of development in many areas including Communication and Language; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Literacy. The development statements have not been designed to be used as a checklist but can highlight areas to focus on for developing key skills.
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.
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.
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.
Slowing down when talking and singing helps toddlers to tune into the rhythm and the words adults around them are using. Slowing down also gives toddlers time to think about what they would like to say or do. This is one of a series of videos from Speech and Language Therapists from South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust outlining strategies to support speech, language and communication development.
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!
Learning more than one language
Many children grow up learning more than one language. This information leaflet from NHS Forth Valley provides you with useful information and top tips about what you and families can do to help toddlers on their way to being bilingual.
NLT 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
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.