What should I look for when supporting pupils with speech, language and communication needs?
By Speech and Language Link
It can be overwhelming trying to find packages to support your students with special education needs (SEN). Did you know that the most common type of SEN is speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)? Therefore, finding assessments and interventions for SLCN that can be delivered by support staff, not only empowers them, but leaves you, the SENCo, time to focus on those with other SEN.
When looking for a package to support SLCN, the following is recommended:
• A standardised and universal language assessment – this ensures that no student, even those with milder difficulties, falls under the radar and that those identified with severe needs, receive timely speech and language therapy (SaLT) referrals.
• A comprehensive package which includes assessment, interventions, resources and training – meaning you get the best value for money.
• A whole school approach to supporting SLCN.
• Robust research to back up its effectiveness.
• A package that compliments and works alongside your school’s SaLT services, to reduce waiting lists, referrals and caseloads.
So, is there a catch-all solution?
Yes! Since 2003, Speech and Language Link’s in-house team of SaLTs have developed a range of online packages to allow you to assess your students and carry-out interventions to support and develop identified needs.
Speech and Language Link empowers you, in your work with SLCN, to ensure that every child is supported in realising their full potential. Our packages include everything on the checklist above – assessments, interventions, resources and all-staff training.
This academic year over 20,000 assessments were completed and more than 1,500 intervention groups run. In total over 3,300 schools now have our support packages. That’s a lot of children whose SLCN has been identified and supported by us.
Which of Speech and Language Link’s packages are right for my setting?
As our therapy team has grown, we have made it a priority to invest time in researching the effectiveness of our packages to ensure you have the right information to make an informed decision before subscribing.
Eight studies demonstrate the impact our interventions have on improving the attainment of those with SLCN and the positive effects on both student and staff self-confidence and skills. For more details, read the impact studies here:
We are excited about our upcoming research studies including one with the Education Endowment Fund which is looking at the impact of our Infant Language Link interventions in Year 1.
What else should I think about when supporting SLCN?
It is vitally important for all staff to know how to support SLCN and that staff across the school adopt a whole-school approach to supporting language and communication. A language-rich, communication friendly environment will support every child, not just those with needs.
Speech and Language Link’s packages include in-depth training delivered by our SaLTs on how and why to use our assessments, interventions and resources, and as a subscribing school you get free tickets to our termly Link Live Sessions – virtual twilight sessions led by experts in SLCN.
Are there additional ways to upskill my staff?
As well as the in-package training and two SLCN training modules for teachers included in Secondary Language Link subscription, we also offer additional certified CPD-training for primary support staff. The Link Speech and Language CPD is online training delivered and supported by our SaLTs which can be completed at the learner’s pace and is designed to give staff the knowledge, confidence, and practical strategies to support SLCN in the classroom.
Speech and Language Link further aims for all schools to have access to up- to- date SLCN information and resources for staff and families. Our free termly magazine ‘The Link’ is sent to all SENCos in the UK, so keep your eyes peeled for the next issue landing in your school at the beginning of October. We also offer a wealth of free resources and information on our website, including our dedicated and award-winning Parent Portal.
For more about how Speech and Language Link’s packages are the perfect solution for your setting, head over to our website and sign up for a free trial: https://speechandlanguage.info/trial
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist working for Speech and Language Link, with over 10 years of experience working across mainstream and specialist schools. Yin has led service-wide time-critical projects and successfully managed small teams to achieve positive outcomes for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).