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Strategies to support

General strategies and provision to support:

Difficulties saying what they want to and being understood.

  • Use alternative methods of communication e.g. Makaton, ICT, communication books and boards. You may also wish to consider use of a symbol communication system such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).
  • Repeat what the child or young person (CYP) has said and add one word. Encourage CYP to work in pairs and small groups.
  • Organise small group or individual language sessions. Ensure that adults have training/experienced with working with SLCN. This includes having phonological awareness. Understanding of the impact that processing difficulties have on phonics acquisition is also key. Adults should also feel confident to differentiate phonics teaching accordingly.
  • Model language – reflect back correct speech rather than correcting. Teach in a way that links with language programmes devised by a Speech and Language Therapist.
  • Allow time for CYP to process and respond (10 second rule).
  • Introduce a variety of language through rhymes, songs.
  • Ensure that all efforts to communicate verbally are supported.

Difficulties understanding what is being said to them

  • Use the child or young persons name first to draw their attention. Follow this with a key word instructions e.g. Jamie, stop.
  • Give simple instructions (avoiding idioms).
  • Use literal language (avoiding sarcasm and figures of speech).
  • Ask the child to repeat back what activity they are going to do.
  • Consider use of timers, so they know they only have to focus for a comfortable amount of time.
  • Be aware of you own body language: 70% of what we communicate is non-verbal. Consider how many information carrying words a CYP can manage when giving instructions. Adapt use of language and method, e.g. simple choices, reduce complexity and sentence length.
  • Ensure the adult is physically at CYP’s level.
  • Give extra / allow take up time to process what has been said.
  • Provide visual prompts if necessary. Include key vocabulary, visual timetables, now and next boards.

In addition to the strategies above which are described within the Ordinarily Available Inclusive Practice (OAIP) guide children and young people may benefit from:

  • Consider how many information carrying words a CYP can manage when giving instructions. Adapt use of language and method, e.g. simple choices, reduce complexity and sentence length.
  • Ensure the adult is physically at CYP’s level.
  • Give extra / allow take up time to process what has been said.
  • Provide visual prompts if necessary. Include key vocabulary, visual timetables, now and next boards. Use of gesture and labelling equipment with pictures will also be helpful.
  • Think about the environment and how to limit any distractions.
  • Check you have engaged the CYP’s attention before talking to them use their name.
  • Check that hearing has been tested.
  • Pre-teach topic vocabulary and provide opportunities to re-visit understanding and use of words.
  • Consider use of ‘First, then, now, next’ visual framework.
  • Ensure access to an oral language modifier for assessments.

Difficulties with communication

  • Use the child or young persons name first to draw their attention. Follow this with a key word instructions e.g. Jamie, stop.
  • Give simple instructions (avoiding idioms).
  • Use literal language (avoiding sarcasm and figures of speech).
  • Ask the child to repeat back what activity they are going to do.
  • Consider use of timers, so they know they only have to focus for a comfortable amount of time.
  • Be aware of you own body language: 70% of what we communicate is non-verbal. Consider how many information carrying words a CYP can manage when giving instructions. Adapt use of language and method, e.g. simple choices, reduce complexity and sentence length.
  • Ensure the adult is physically at CYP’s level.
  • Give extra / allow take up time to process what has been said.
  • Provide visual prompts if necessary. Include key vocabulary, visual timetables, now and next boards.

In addition to the strategies above which are described within the Ordinarily Available Inclusive Practice (OAIP) guide children and young people may benefit from:

  • Whole word and language based approaches in addition to synthetic phonics may be used to support literacy acquisition.
  • Individual or small group phonological awareness and speech production target work informed by Speech and Language Therapist advice.
  • Adults use a range of teaching approaches and supports including visual timetables/now and next; visual cues and aids; natural gesture and signing; use of ICT; audio-visual aids to support understanding in lessons and across the school day.
  • Adults identify and actively teach key vocabulary. This includes Tier 2 vocabulary. Give the learner opportunities to revisit understanding and use of these words.
  • The school may access targeted training. Refer to the Speech and Language Therapy Service for further details.
  • Adults may need to actively teach one or more of: comprehension and inference; use of language; sentence structures; speech sound production; sequencing and active listening skills.
  • Individual support for skill development provided.
  • Modify use of language for verbal instruction. Provide explanations, visual or experiential support. Give opportunity for reinforcement provided.
  • Adapt the classroom environment to support active listening. Promote independence in organisation, with explicit structure and expectation.
  • Plan opportunities that provide peer support and structured conversation. Support the development of social understanding and inference.
  • Group work is planned and used flexibly to promote independence. Develop a plan to reduce an individual child or young person’s dependence on a named adult.
  • Individual or small group intervention to address individual needs may be provided in the classroom or on timetabled withdrawal sessions.
  • The school will plan / provide staff training to develop understanding of characteristics of children and young people with SLCN and the impact on curriculum access.
  • The school may refer, in consultation with parents, for further assessment and advice from Speech and Language Services.
  • A range of useful resources and checklist for schools can also be found on the Talking Point, Communication Trust and Patoss websites

Last updated 9 December 2020

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