2. Identify children who need a more targeted approach
Find out more - There is a wide variation in language development, but all children should have reached certain stages by certain times. If you become aware through your observations and professional judgment that a child is not meeting milestones, then explore further. Finding out more will help you to determine which aspects of communication and language the child is finding difficult and help you provide more focused input.
A helpful resource is:
The Progression Tools Early Years Set. These can help with identification and also be used to track progression of these skills over time or following interventions.
Speak sensitively with the parent/carer – they know their child better than you and can provide information about early development and how their child understands and uses language at home. Share play ideas with parents to help them support their child’s language development and make sure that they know what to expect and when so that they can make sure their child is on the right track.
It can be helpful to direct parents who have concerns about their child’s language development to Speech and Language UK’s Enquiry Service. This is a call back service where parents have an opportunity to talk about their concerns with a Speech and Language Therapist and receive some useful ideas for supporting their child to move onto the next stage.
English as an additional language (EAL) – Parents should be advised to use their home language with their child so that they can develop the important foundations for language learning on which to build English. Speaking English as an additional language is not a cause for concern and can be a real benefit.However, children with EAL are just as likely as their monolingual peers to have a difficulty with speaking and understanding.
For key messages to share with parents: Speaking more than one language
For more information about EAL and Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) visit: Bilingualism London Clinical Excellence Network