Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)

What is SLCN (Speech Language and Communication Needs) and SLI (Specific Language Impairment)?

Children and young people with speech and language difficulties are often described as
having SLCN. This is a general term used to describe any kind of difficulties with speech and language. Specific Language Impairment (SLI) fits under the SLCN “umbrella”, however those with SLI have very specific difficulties with language but the difficulties are not associated with any other syndrome or general learning difficulties.

Specific language impairment (SLI) is diagnosed when a child’s language does not develop
normally and the difficulties cannot be accounted for by generally slow development,
physical abnormality of the speech apparatus, autistic disorder, acquired brain damage or
hearing loss.

A child with speech, language and communication needs:

  • Might have speech that is difficult to understand
  • They might struggle to say words or sentences
  • They may not understand words that are being used, or the instructions they hear
  • They may have difficulties knowing how to talk and listen to others in a conversation
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