A fifth of children in the early years are not reaching expected levels in language and communication. The reasons for this underachievement is complex, however what is certain is that pupils with SLCN go onto underachieve across the whole curriculum if their needs are not addressed. The ability to speak and understand language requires a number of different skills. Some children might have difficulties with…
Speech – including the clarity and fluency of their speech
Expressive language – including size of the child’s vocabulary and their ability to combine words to make sentences and longer sequences of language
Receptive language – the child’s ability to understanding words, sentences and narratives.
Functional and social use of language – the child’s ability to use language and to understanding verbal and non-verbal rules of communication.
Many children with SLCN have difficulties with literacy as they will struggle to decode and segment words for reading and spelling. They have difficulties understanding vocabulary along with the higher-order language skills required for subjects such as science, maths, history and geography. They often have difficulties with social interactions as they have reduced understanding of reciprocity and awareness of the motives, thoughts and feelings of others. As a result, some pupils become withdrawn, socially isolated and can develop behavioural difficulties. SLCN effects a child’s access to the whole curriculum.