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 young children's 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 children. 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 young children's 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 young children 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
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 child's level
Getting down to the pre-school child'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.
Communication Supporting Classrooms Observation Tool
Developed as part of the Better Communication Research Programme (2012) following a review of provision for children with speech, language and communication needs, the audit tool is to be used when observing the quality of a learning space from Early Years through the first half of primary school. By auditing the environment, language learning opportunities and language learning interactions, practitioners will be more informed about what they are doing well and what else they could do to support communication.
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 child's lead
Giving children 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 children 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 children 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 use and to 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 young child 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 children can see and what is happening. Children 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 children to make links between the words, sentences and what they mean.
Sharing books is a great way to help a preschool child's talking. Making books part of your daily routine really helps to develop attention, 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 young children 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 young child at home.
Use everyday routines
Use everyday routines as times to introduce language learning opportunities to young children. 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 young children you work with and share with their families.
Labelling and Commenting
Using real word labels and commenting on what young children 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 young children you support and share 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.
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 young children 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 children develop early communication skills. Waiting for children 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 young children to tune into the rhythm and the words adults around them are using. Slowing down also gives young children 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.
Lift Lessons Early Years
A fun and engaging method to teach children early verbal concepts and develop the spoken vocabulary of all children, including those with language learning difficulties.
Teaching Children to Listen
Teaching Children to Listen is an evidence based and practical approach to helping children learn the four rules of good listening and to motivate them to use these skills in different contexts. It is designed to be delivered as a whole class intervention with children from Early Years to the end of Primary. The listening rating scale can be used to track children and show evidence of impact.
Cost: Can be commissioned by schools and settings
Word Aware is a structured whole school approach to promote the vocabulary development of all children. The resource is of particular value for those who start at a disadvantage – including children with Developmental Language Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those who speak English as an additional language, but it will extend the word learning of all students. It includes activities that can be used in 1-1 or small groups for children who are finding word learning particularly difficult.
Clickety Books are fun books and resources to share with children 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 young children 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
Language for Learning resources
Language for Learning aims to offer really practical strategies to support children in their early years or mainstream setting. They aim to share resources that they use and promote on our training courses, including national initiatives such as the Communication Commitment.