Impact of Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties

Keywords: speech difficulties impact, communication difficulty impact

Speech, language and communication development are in the heart of most children's learning and connect to other areas of a child's development. Without speech, language and communication skills, a child will never be in a position to reach their full potential.

According to the charity ICAN, "1 in 10 children in the united kingdom, two or three 3 in every classroom - have communication difficulties that require specialist help. " (http://www. ican. org. uk/) With such a higher variety of children with communication difficulties, it is important to own knowledgeable practitioners to effectively support children's speech, language and communication skills.

Learning Outcomes

At the finish of this unit, you will be able to
  • Explain how speech and language difficulties can effect on a child's overall development.
  • Describe ways in which communication can be modified or adapted.
  • Explain how to meet up with the communication needs of children who speak English as an additional language.
  • Analyse the role that other professionals play in supporting the speech, language and communication needs of children.


There are increasing numbers of children entering an educational environment with speech and language difficulties. This unit will enable you to comprehend some of the main causes of speech and language difficulties and the consequences it can have on other areas of children's development. This unit will help you to understand how to effectively support children's speech, language and communication skills and adapt your communication accordingly.

Effects of speech and language difficulties

Speech and language difficulties in children can be caused by many different factors

Childhood Illnesses - Chronic ear infections can impact a child's speech and language development. If ear infections are persistent, fluid will be there in the ear for extended periods of time. This can bring about hearing difficulties, which make a difference how a child processes language, which can in turn result in delayed speech and language.

Use of dummies and bottles - Prolonged use of dummies and bottles in babies and young children can have effects on the child's speech, language and communication. Before babies learn to say words and sentences, they explore their voices by producing noises and different sounds. Prolonged use of dummies and bottles can bring about a child utilizing their voice less often to make noises and sounds. The teat from the bottle or dummy can also prevent normal movement of the tongue and lips at the front end of the mouth; leading to distorted speech.

Difficulty in using oral muscles - Oral motor disorders make a difference children. A kid that has an oral motor disorder will find it difficult to utilize the muscles in their lips, jaw and tongue. Difficulty in using these muscles will affect what sort of child may use their mouth and create problems with speaking, eating and drinking.

Developmental Difficulties - Children with Autistic Spectrum Difficulties experience difficulties in communicating. They find it difficult to understand or use verbal or non-verbal communication skills.

Pregnancy or birth difficulties - Dysarthria is a disorder affecting the muscles used for speech, creating speech and language difficulties. It is often caused by changes to the brain during pregnancy with birth.

Lack of stimulation - Children learn by watching others. They observe and copy language, behaviour and actions of others around them. If a kid does not receive language stimulation in their early years, they'll not acquire effective language and communication skills. The Literacy Trust runs an initiative titled, 'talk to your baby' to aid early language stimulation. They explain that, "lack of early language stimulation can result in language delay, and sometimes literacy and learning difficulties that then extend well beyond early literacy development and can be extremely costly or difficult to treat. " (http://www. literacytrust. org. uk/talk_to_your_baby/about)

The Impact of Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties

Speech, language and communication skills are fundamental to promoting other areas of learning. During a recent overview of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum by Dame Clare Tickell (The Tickell Review), it became apparent that communication and language skills give a strong foundation for further learning to happen.

As a result of this review, Communication and Language development has now turn into a prime region of learning for children within the first Years Foundation Stage.

If a child is having difficulties with communication and language, their overall development may be affected. The impact of your child's communication and language difficulties will change depending on child's individual needs and severity of these difficulties. The next areas could be affected
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Friendships
  • Behaviour
  • Play
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal, social and emotional development talks about how children develop self-confidence and self-esteem and also at how children make choices and decisions. A child with a communication and language difficulty could find it difficult to express their needs and preferences, meaning that they may avoid making their own choices and decisions. The introduction of acceptable social skills is reliant upon play and interaction with others. Children might not exactly feel confident in entering social situations where they find it difficult to interact or participate to a full extent; this can negatively affect their social and emotional difficulties.


The development of friendships depends on positive interaction between two people. Children build friendships by communicating and getting together with each other. Positive communication depends on eye contact, body gestures and gestures to be used alongside language to be able to understand what someone else is saying. As children become older, language is vital for establishing and maintaining relationships. A child with difficulties communicating may be left out of friendships.


Communication and language difficulties and behaviour are closely linked. Children, who have difficulty listening and processing language, therefore may well not understand the rules and boundaries of the classroom or setting. This may result in tantrums or frustration demonstrated by the child, as they are unable to realize why they are not allowed to take action.

Communication difficulties can bring about a child having fewer opportunities for social interaction with other children and less experience in co-operating and sharing with others. In this instance, children might not exactly understand the social expectations of play, which can result in the child snatching toys, rather than learning how to share.

If a kid has difficulty verbally communicating, they may become frustrated as they are unable to clarify their interests and needs.


Play is valuable for young children. The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum values play as a powerful method of learning for small children, "play is essential for children's development, building their confidence as they figure out how to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. "

Children who've difficulty with communication may find it difficult to engage with and relate with other children during play. As children become older, they appreciate using language to communicate with each other and play team games with rules. Difficulty engaging with others or understanding the rules of games can leave a child isolated and overlooked of activities with other children. This will also affect a child's confidence and self-esteem.

Insert photo here: http://www. istockphoto. com/stock-photo-4096771-left-out. php?st=fcaf64f

This image shows how a child can be left out from group games and activities.


Speech and language skills are important for children's literacy development. Difficulty in understanding and processing language can lead to delays in the development of phonic skills and reading.

The ability to comprehend written communication is an essential tool for learning, as it supports learning across the areas of the curriculum.


Mathematical development includes aspects such as problem solving and reasoning, which frequently require knowledge of language and instructions. Many other regions of Mathematics also rely upon the use of mathematical language, such as using number and condition names and numerical language. This close link between literacy and mathematics can cause mathematical delays for children with communication difficulties.

Adapting communication methods

Children with speech, language and communication difficulties will all have varying degrees of severity and can therefore need different levels of support. There are various strategies that can be adopted in order to aid individual children.

Slow down your communication

In order to process language, children require time to listen, think about and work out what has been thought to them. Slowing the speed where you talk to children gives them time to listen to and process the language. By pausing after asking questions, children are certain to get the opportunity to think about an answer to the question. Do not rush children. This might result in the child feeling like they have failed and can lower their self-esteem and confidence. Children could be more likely to attempt to communicate and answer questions if indeed they feel comfortable and have the possibility to participate.

Use Visual Aids

Using visual aids can support children in understanding communication. Within everyday communication, gestures and hand actions can support a conversation and can engage a kid.

Within a setting, visual aids can be used to help the kid to understand the daily routine and to make choices and decisions. A visual timetable is a favorite strategy used to give children structure for your day and reduce anxiety. A visual timetable is a sequence of symbols or pictures that is displayed to be able to demonstrate the activities planned for the session. Children can become involved in the visual timetable by removing the symbols when that activity is complete.

Symbols or pictures can also be used to aid children in decision making. For example, a practitioner might well have symbols for different types of fruit and encourage a child to choose a picture to represent what they might like for his or her snack. This strategy can be applied to other areas of the child's day, such as choosing activities.

Check Children's Knowledge and Understanding

When giving children instructions or explaining a task, it is important to clarify their knowledge and understanding of the duty. By encouraging children to repeat the instructions or by asking those to make clear what they are anticipated to do, you will be able to ensure that they have understood what you have asked those to do.

Simplify your Language

Shortening your sentences and simplifying your language can help children to process language and understand what has been thought to them. Take into account the words you utilize with children and ensure they are not too complex for their age and stage of development. For example, you may replace the word 'construct' with the term 'build'.

Guided Activity

Think about some of the vocabulary you utilize with children.

For each word or phrase, identify a simplified version you could utilize with children with communication difficulties.

Praise Children's Efforts

Giving children praise is an important method to promote the utilization of communication. Praising a child for taking part in an activity or for what they did well will build a child's self-esteem and confidence and could further encourage their participation.

Share the conversation

Model the correct language and communication

Being a good role model is very important to all children's acquisition of language and communication; nonetheless it is especially very important to children with communication difficulties.

If a child says a word or sentence wrong, do not place focus on the error, but repeat the term or sentence back to them in its' correct form. For example, if a kid says "me do paint", you can join in with the child and say, "I'm doing some painting too. "

Use Alternative and Augmentative Communication Methods

For some children which have little or no verbal communication skills, using an alternative solution or augmentative communication method is essential to enable those to communicate their needs and preferences.

Children with Autistic Spectrum Difficulties typically have little if any speech. They will usually have the ability to understand communication, but will require alternative communication methods to enable them to communicate their wishes.

Supporting children who speak English as yet another language

There are increasingly more children entering childcare settings who speak English as an additional language. Most of these children will are suffering from speech, language and communication skills in their home language and can need support from practitioners to build up their skills in English.

It is important for practitioners to recognise children's home languages as important because

The child will feel valued and respected.

The home language is very important to family relationships and connections. Some members of the child's family, might not exactly speak any English, therefore a kid will still need to speak their home language for essential communications in the home.

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