Most children can understand what is being said to them before they learn to respond verbally. As children's communication skills develop they begin to put their feelings and observations into words. Language development, like physical development, varies from child to child. However, if your child's class teacher has any concerns about your child's speech and language development, they will arrange to discuss them with you and may involve the school's SENCo (Mrs Hurworth) in your discussions.
Language difficulties can present in one of two ways:
Receptive language difficulties - where a child has difficulty understanding the words that they hear. They may have difficulty following verbal instructions or may appear to be 'ignoring' adults or children around them.
Expressive language difficulties - where a child has difficulty or cannot express themselves very clearly through speech. These can be very common in younger children and should not be a significant cause for alarm.
The school works closely with a Community Speech and Language Therapist, employed by the NHS, who may assess and advise short programmes of work for home or school to undertake with the child. This is triggered by a referral from the school's Inclusion Team, in consultation with class teacher and parents. Once the 'episode of care' has been delivered, the child will most likely be discharged and monitored by the school.
Where a more serious speech and language difficulty is identified, the Speech and Language Therapist may decide to keep the referral open and continue to work with the child over a period of time. She will keep the child under review and will seek further support from other professional colleagues, if necessary.