Is Speech and Language Development Important?

Charlotte Hall
January 16, 2024

Imagine you’ve woken up in a foreign land and don’t understand a word that anyone has to say.  Imagine that you can’t speak that language and so can’t ask anyone where you are, what’s going on or how to get back home.  How might you feel?

I’ve asked this question in many a training session and the usual responses include “scared”, “anxious”, “sad”, “confused”, “isolated”.  The list goes on…

Having adequate speech and language skills is vital so that children can:

  • Learn
  • Share their thoughts and ideas with others
  • Build relationships
  • Process and manage their emotions

Speech and language skills are, in fact, the foundation for ALL other areas of learning.  So, if your child needs support in this area DON’T WAIT AND SEE, act now to ensure that they can make progress.

Supporting children’s speech and language skills is a TEAM EFFORT.

The role of Specialists (e.g. Speech and Language Therapists)

You may need Specialists, like a Speech and Language Therapist to assess your child’s needs and make recommendations for how they can best be supported.  Sometimes some of these recommendations might need to be implemented by a Speech and Language Therapist, but often they will train up parents and school staff to deliver key interventions.

The role of School Staff (e.g. Teachers, Teaching Assistants)

There are many things school staff can do to support a child’s speech and language development.

These include:

  • Ensuring the environment enables language development
  • Ensuring children have access to good visual supports
  • Offering opportunities for children to work with adults in 1:1 and small group environments
  • Making a connection with children by including their interests in learning opportunities
  • Including repetitive routines such as singing and stories
  • Supporting children to practise turn-taking
  • Implementing the advice/recommendations of the Speech and Language Therapist

The role of Parents/Carers

There are also lots of things parents can do to support a child’s speech and language development at home and this is key to ensuring a child makes good progress.  A child needs to be well supported across different environments.

You can help your child at home by:

  • Engaging in good quality interactions with your child
  • Using visual supports alongside spoken language (visual supports include Makaton Signing, Visual Timetables, AAC devices)
  • Engaging in repetitive routines with your child, such as singing and stories
  • Supporting children to practise turn-taking (e.g. by taking it in turns to pop bubbles, mix the cooking pot or play a game)
  • Implementing the advice/recommendations of the Speech and Language Therapist

If you feel unsure where to get started, ask your school SENCo or contact @speechtherapywithcharlotte or @senexpert.If you are a parent or professional who wants more guidance about what makes a ‘good quality interaction’ book Speech Therapy with Charlotte’s Online Session “Conscious Quality Interactions” on her website: speechtherapywithcharlotte.com.

The SEN Expert offers a range of services for young people, families and schools. We offer support for parents to help navigate the complex world of Special Educational Needs. We will work with you closely to ensure the best for your child.

The SEN Expert was set up by Claire in 2021 following a successful career spanning 12 years in school improvement, special educational needs, safeguarding and the arts.

Claire has worked as a Deputy Headteacher, Assistant Headteacher, Consultant and SENCO in both state and private schools in inner city London, the Southwest, the Midlands and the USA.

Throughout her career, Claire has ensured solid outcomes for the young people she has worked with. Be that a set of good exam grades, a placement in specialist setting or getting a part time job.

Claire is a working mother, and understands the challenges parents face trying to ensure their children are happy and successful. We aim to provide young people with a creative route to the personal and professional adult life they deserve.

Claire sits outside a café with a laptop

SEN consultancy
with a difference.

We offer support for families, children, and schools to navigate the complex world of SEN.

Check out our full list of services at our website www.thesenexpert.co.uk or follow us on Instagram @senexpert for daily advice on special educational needs.

The SEN Expert is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13523478.