Identification of SLCN

SLCN pathway main image

Developmental Norms Parent discussion Child’s Voice A Guide to Identification of SLCN


Identifying SLCN can be problematic for many reasons: children may have other difficulties as well as SLCN, they may have a wide and complex range of needs and therefore there can be co-occurrence with other labels and diagnoses. SLCN is often considered to be a 'hidden disability'. Some aspects of SLCN are more visible than others, particularly those associated with speech and sounds. Others are less so, for example the child who is experiencing difficulties understanding or using language may appear to be inattentive, passive or even rude. There are children who become very skilled at hiding their difficulties, e.g. by watching other people so they know what to do or by pretending they know when they don't. SLCN may be missed altogether or masked by these other charcateristics. 

We know that early identification leads to better outcomes for children and young people, so the sooner a need is identified the better. The SLCN Pathway provides a number of tools to support identification of SLCN including:

9.4 Early Warning Signs Pre-School [pdf] 421KB

9.5 Early Warning Signs School Age [pdf] 428KB

9.6 Identification of Need Early Years [pdf] 280KB

9.7 Identification of Need Primary Age [pdf] 345KB

9.8 Identification of Need Secondary Age [pdf] 324KB

9.9 Profiling Tool [pdf] 200KB


Useful Link

Language Link is a universal screening tool for receptive language difficulties that can be used across the key stages. Many schools in Worcestershire use Language Link on school entry. It is now available for key stage 2 and 3 entry.