close up of boy in school uniform

SLCN stands for speech, language and communication needs. This term is often used in relation to children and young people who have difficulty with some aspects of communication. These difficulties may be minor and temporary, or more complex and long-term. The term ‘needs’ refers both to the child’s or young person’s needs and also what society can do to support them. This can be determined by looking at the child as well as the environments in which they play, learn, communicate and live.

A speech, language or communication disorder arises when a child does not follow the typical pattern of development. All areas may be affected, or there can be one particular area of language which has been more severely affected than the others. Children and young people with these disorders need specialist help to support their speech and language development.


Delayed speech, language and communication

A child or young person with delays in either speech or language, who has difficulties with communication, does not follow the typical pattern for developing speech and language. Difficulties may arise in one or more areas of speech, language or communication. A child or young person continues to learn skills but at a slower rate.

Boy wearing a helmet, with arms crossed, sitting on a bike

Some signs to look out for

  • Difficulty producing sounds correctly
  • Speech that is difficult to understand
  • Trouble understanding instructions that are being spoken to them
  • Difficulty communicating words or forming sentences
  • Stammering or slurring

Don't wait!

Early intervention is key to improving your child’s communication skills. There can often be a lengthy delay between referral and appointments. So come and talk to us – we are a key bridge between you and health and education services. If you start some language boosting work with your child as early as possible, this will make a difference!