Speech and language difficulties

Pupils with speech and language are characterised by the following:

  • Weak receptive language skills, ie, understanding of instructions / information.
  • Weak listening and concentration skills
  • Weak expressive language skills, ie, poor ability to explain thoughts / ideas / opinions / understanding
  • Speech impairments that can make their spoken language difficult to understand
  • Slow processing speed
  • Weak organisational skills
  • Weak literacy skills

Teaching and learning strategies typically used by schools for pupils with speech and language difficulties include:

  • Allow time for processing information and to respond
  • Offer differentiated tasks with clear achievable goals
  • Give instructions / information in simple language in both verbal and visual form, break it down into manageable sized chunks
  • Check understanding regularly. Ask pupils to repeat instructions, demonstrate or rephrase to indicate they have understood
  • Offer multi-sensory tasks and teaching styles, use visual, oral as well as practical demonstration techniques to describe / explain, including the use of word webs
  • Provide a framework or model for possible responses
  • Offer ideas / key words to stimulate a response
  • If necessary pre-teach the vocabulary
  • Actively teach listening skills and reinforce with visual cues
  • Encourage pupils to listen and concentrate when instructions are being given out
  • Attract personal attention by using their name and warning them when they need to listen intently
  • Monitor concentration levels and refocus attention when necessary through visuals and prompting
  • Consider seating plans to limit distractions
  • Encourage to attend lessons with the correct books / equipment through visual checklists
  • Offer alternative methods of recording work, ie, spider diagrams / mind maps / ICT / oral / photographs/ video/Dictaphone
  • Specific teaching for independent learning
  • Plan for peer to peer support
  • Help organise thoughts / answers by – use writing frames / prompts