Welcome to the SLCN pathway

 

SLCN pathway homepage image

 

The Worcestershire Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) Pathway has been developed to support anyone who has an interest in children’s speech, language and communication development. It includes guidance and information to help ensure that all children at risk of, or presenting with SLCN will be: 

  • Supported to develop their speech, language and communication skills to ensure they can access learning, social interactions and to make a positive contribution to the world around them
  • Able to benefit from timely and integrated support and services that can best meet their needs

In my time as government’s Communication Champion for children and young people, I saw a great variety of good practice across the country – but no local resource as comprehensive and useful as Worcestershire’s SLCN pathway

Jean Gross, CBE

The Worcestershire SLCN Pathway provides a leading edge example of how to take a whole system approach to im[proving the speech, language and communication skills of all children and young people in the country. It is aa resource for everyone and is a fabulous example of what can be achieved through joint working, with a clear strategic focus combined with enthusiasm and commitment of practioners to provide the best for children and young people.

Marie Gascoigne, Better Communication CIC. Creator and author of The Balanced System TM

About the SLCN Pathway

The Worcestershire Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) Pathway has been developed to support anyone who has an interest in children’s speech, language and communication development. It includes guidance and information to help ensure that all children at risk of, or presenting with SLCN will be: 

  • Supported to development their speech, language and communication skills to ensure they can access learning, social interactions and to make a positive contribution to the world around them
  • Able to benefit from timely and integrated support and services that can best meet their needs

Key Principles of Worcestershire’s SLCN Pathway

  • Everyone has a role to play in the development of children’s speech, language and communication
  • Environments need to be ‘communication friendly’ for the benefit of all children
  • The active involvement of children and the support of their parents are vital
  • Children with SLCN are fully included
  • Everyone who works with children will aim to have universal knowledge about SLCN (SLCF competences)
  • Settings, schools and families are supported by outside agencies to fulfil the aims of the SLCN pathway
     

The Pathway aims to:

  1. support parents as well as professionals in the identification of and provision for children with SLCN
  2. promote early intervention as soon as a need is identified
  3. support inclusive practice by promoting adaptations to the learning environment to cater for the needs of children with SLCN
  4. support settings/schools in tracking progress and monitoring outcomes
  5. promote the active participation of children and their parents in the process
  6. signpost sources of further information and support to anyone involved in developing children's speech, language and communication skills
  7. provide a procedural structure for referrals and intervention at different levels to help professionals access appropriate support for different types of SLCN
  8. clarify the roles and responsibilties of all concerned in this process and to help ensure consistency of response of outside agencies
  9. promote the use of the framework for workforce competences

 

In 2010 Worcestershire adopted The Balanced System™ framework as it offers a practical solution to meeting the needs of children and young people with SLCN. The Balanced System's specification for effective support runs through all aspects of this Pathway.  It is based on good practice and settings and schools should be familar with much of what is suggsted. The SLCN Pathway website is updated as needed, to reflect changes in legislation and national and local initiatives.

 

 © Worcestershire's SLCN Pathway has been developed by practitioners working within Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust 2011 & 2015

Contact us

The Worcestershire's SLCN Pathway website is managed by the Children's Speech and Language Therapy Service working in partnership with our colleagues in education services.

If you have any feedback about the Pathway, any comments or suggestions, then please do get in touch with us by contacting us on: 

 

East Team (Bromsgrove, Redditch & Wychavon)

Address: Children's Speech and Language Therapy, Catshill Clinic, The Dock, Catshill, Bromsgrove, B61 0NJ
Tel: 01527 488326
Generic Email for Team: WHCNHS.SLTBromsgrove@nhs.net

Team Lead: Jacqui Woodcock
Secretary: Tracy Mead
Email: tracymead1@nhs.net  

 

West Team (Wyre Forest, Malvern & Worcester)

Address: Children's Speech and Language Therapy, Franche Clinic, Marlpool Place, Kidderminster, DY11 5BB
Tel: 01562 752749
Generic Email for Team: WHCNHS.SLTWyreforest@nhs.net

Team Lead: Emma Jordan
Secretary: Louise Mander
Email: louise.mander6@nhs.net  

Workforce Development

It is important that everyone who works with children has the appropriate knowledge and skills to promote speech, language and communication development; identify those children who are experiencing difficulties and support children with SLCN. A comprehensive workforce development plan is essential to include all those involved, both training of the wider workforce as well as on-going development of specialist staff.  Worcestershire’s workforce plan has been developed using national guidance published following the Bercow Review.    

All training courses in Worcestershire are mapped onto the national Speech, Language and Communication Framework(SLCF). The SLCF provides a clear and detailed framework of the skills and knowledge in speech, language and communication which are important for everyone who works with children and young people. The SLCF is an interactive, online tool which provides a detailed and structured breakdown of important skills and knowledge recommended for anyone who works with children with SLCN. Once practitioners complete the profile, they are signposted to targeted training and resources that will help develop their particular skills and knowledge.  

The stages of the SLCF are as follows:

  • Universal stage is for people who work with children or young people and are new to exploring their skills and knowledge in SLCN and need a general awareness of SLCN for their role.
  • Enhanced stage is for people who have established competences at Universal and need a more detailed understanding for their role, e.g. may be involved in the identification of children who may have SLCN.
  • Specialist stage is for people who have established competences at Enhanced and whose work significantly relates to children and young people with SLCN.

  • Extension stage is for people who want to develop their knowledge of SLCN to a level equivalent to a postgraduate level. 

 

Worcestershire's Workforce Development Plan [pdf] 503KB

SLCF [pdf] 866KB

IDP [pdf] 209KB

 

Useful Links

Talking Matters Workshops are delivered by experienced members of the Speech and Language Therapy Team and aim to give educational staff the skills they need to deliver targeted intervention for children with communication difficulties. Click here for more information

Language for Learning provides training and resources to support all those working with children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. Click here for more information

Universal, Targeted and Specialist Levels of Provision

SLCN encompasses a wide range of needs that require different levels and types of provision. The following definitions are taken from The Balanced System™ and are supported by the new SEND Code of Practice (2014):

Universal target and specialist triangle showing hierarchy
 

Universal interventions support the whole population, i.e. whole class or whole setting/ school and ensure all children have appropriate language and communication opportunities. This level includes workforce development, access to appropriate information, creating communication friendly environments and whole class/setting/school intervention approaches. 

Targeted interventions offer specific support for those children and young people who are felt to be vulnerable in relation to speech, language and communication. The group is wide ranging and includes children with delayed language and communication skills who following targeted intervention will return to the universal tier, through to identification of children who may go on to have more persistent needs. This level includes small group and individual targeted intervention approaches such as language groups, narrative groups, social communication skills programmes and phonology programmes.

Specialist interventions are in addition to the universal and targeted offer for those children and young people who require a highly individualised and personalised programme of work. This group includes children with complex learning and communication needs and those children who are cognitively able and have specific speech, language or communication needs.  

Universal Provision

Universal interventions support the whole population, i.e. whole class or whole setting/school and ensure all children have appropriate language and communication opportunities. This level includes workforce development, access to appropriate information, creating communication friendly environments and whole class/setting/school intervention approaches. Most children with SLCN will be identified within universal services and the large majority of these should have their needs met at this level.

Useful Links

7.1 Guide to Universal Provision

7.2 Communication Friendly Audit for Early Years Settings

7.3 Communication Friendly Audit for Schools

7.4 How acoustically friendly is your listening environment

Language for Learning provides universal training and resources for all ages. 

The Every Child a Talker programme offers a year long package of support for early years settings to support the development of every child's speech, language and communication skills.  ECaT has a proven track record of reducing the numbers of children at risk of SLCN. Click here for more 

Targeted & Specialist Provision

Targeted interventions offer specific support for those children and young people who are felt to be vulnerable in relation to speech, language and communication. The group is wide ranging and includes children with delayed language and communication skills who following targeted intervention will return to the universal tier, through to identification of children who may go on to have more persistent needs. This level includes small group and individual targeted intervention approaches such as language groups, narrative groups, social communication skills programmes and phonology programmes. Some children may need additional support at this level if their needs cannot be met solely by universal provision, although they still need access to those services.

Specialist interventions are in addition to the universal and targeted offer for those children and young people who require a highly individualised and personalised programme of work. This group includes children with complex learning and communication needs and those children who are cognitively able and have specific speech, language or communication needs. Provision at this level will be for a very small minority of children for whom universal and/or targeted support is not sufficient to meet their needs although they still require access to those services.

Useful Links

7.5 A Guide to Targeted and Specialist Provision [pdf] 499KB

7.7 Guidelines for Involvement of Outside Agencies [pdf] 263KB

For more information about local services download the 'Outside Agencies' factsheet above by clicking here:  7.6 Outside Agencies [pdf] 571KB

Refer into the children's Speech and Language Therapy Service here

Click here for more information on Communication TAs

Individual Child Pathway

 

The Individual Child SLCN Pathway flowchart sets out the process of identification of need, assessment and intervention for children with SLCN. It aims to provide guidance as well as links to further information that will help secure judgments to be made in relation to the nature of the child's SLCN. It is intended for anyone involved with the child and can be initiated by parents and/or any professional who may come into contact with the child. In settings and schools, practitioners would need to discuss their concerns with the SENCO or equivalent member of staff. The role of the SENCO is crucial in ensuring all early steps of intervention have been implemented and in coordinating additional provision.  

Access Plan do review diagram

The graduated response provides a framework for meeting individual children's needs within the new SEND Code of Practice (2014). The 'Guide to the Individual Child Pathway' describes how the SLCN Pathway can be used within this framework and makes suggestions on what settings/schools can do at each stage of the 'assess, plan, do and review' cycle.

8.1 Individual Child SLCN Pathway [pdf] 253KB

8.3 Types of SLCN [pdf] 460KB

8.2 A Guide to the Individual Child Pathway [pdf] 402KB

Worcestershire County Council's specialist teacher service provides assessment and support for individual pupils. 

Glossary

AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication)

Methods of communication which can be used by adults and children who find difficulty in communicating because they have little or no clear speech. It adds to or replac­es spoken communication and may include low tech as well as high tech methods. Low tech includes signing, pointing to pictures in a Communication Book, Picture Exchange Communication System etc.  High tech devices normally work electronically.

ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

A condition where the individual finds it difficult to maintain attention and is easily distracted.  This would be identified by a paediatrician or psychiatrist.

Acquired brain injury

Brain damage caused by events after birth rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder and can result from either traumatic brain injury (e.g. physical trauma due to accidents, falls, assaults, neurosurgery etc.) or non-traumatic injury derived from either an internal or external source (e.g. stroke, brain tumours, infection).

Articulation

Process of controlling speech organs (e.g. tongue, lips, palate etc) to produce speech sounds.

Articulatory/Verbal Dyspraxia

A motor-programming disorder, which involves difficulties in coordinating the sequence of articulatory movements needed to produce continuous, running speech.

ASD - Autism Spectrum Disorder

A spectrum of disorders that involve an impairment in social interaction, social communication, flexibility of thought and often sensory issues. 

Asperger’s Syndrome

A condition under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders.

Assessment for Learning

Assessment for learning has been defined as: 'The process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.' Quoted from Assessment for learning: 10 Principles by the Assessment reform Group 2002, available from www.aaia.org.uk.

Attention control

The ability to control focus on a task or activity.

Auditory discrimination

The ability to hear the difference between sounds.

Auditory memory

The ability to remember information that is heard.

ANSD – Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder

The disorder is characterised by evidence of normal cochlear outer hair cell (sensory) function and abnormal auditory nerve function.

Auditory perception

The recognition and understanding of information and stimuli received through the ears.

The Child & Family Service (also known as CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)

Part of Specialist Children's Services within Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. The team consists of a range of specialists (Psychiatrists, Mental health nurses, Mental health workers, Therapeutic social workers, Psychotherapists, Clinical psychologists, Occupational Therapist, Speech and language Therapist) and work with children and their families who are experiencing emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties. 

Cerebral Palsy

Neurological condition that affects movement, posture and co-ordination.

Chunking

Giving information in small amounts, one piece at a time, by pausing between each idea. Each piece of information can then be allowed processing time.

Cleft lip

A structural abnormality, where there is a split in the upper lip, which occurs during foetal development, sometimes associated with cleft palate.

Cleft palate

A structural abnormality whereby the roof of the mouth is not closed completely during foetal development, which may cause associated problems with eating, breathing, articulation and hearing. 

Cognitive skills

These are the skills required for all aspects of thinking including the processes of perception, memory, reasoning, language and some types of learning.

Communication Book

Personalised book containing photos or pictures that enable an individual to communicate basic thoughts and ideas by pointing to the pictures in the book. This is a low tech AAC device.

Comprehension

Understanding (spoken words or written text).

Conductive hearing loss

A hearing impairment caused by a difficulty in transmitting sound through the outer or middle ear.

CPD (Continuing Professional Development)

On-going training or development work for staff who wish to further their skills, knowledge and confidence.

Developmental levels of visual recognition

There are 8 stages of visual recognition to consider, from the actual object to the written word. When choosing visual cues to support the child's understanding, the developmental level of the child's visual recognition needs to be considered e.g. from being able to recognise real objects and photographs to line drawings, to more abstract features such as symbols and words.

Down’s Syndrome

A chromosomal condition in which extra genetic material causes a delay in the child's development. SLCN may be a part of that delay and symptoms vary from child to child and can range from mild to severe.

Dysfluency

Difficulty in producing smooth, fluent speech and the terms stammering (UK) or stuttering (USA) are frequently used.

Dyslexia

The word 'dyslexia' is derived from two Greek words: 'dys' meaning 'difficulty' and 'lexia' meaning 'words'. The literal meaning is therefore 'difficulty with words'. The symptoms of dyslexia can differ from person to person, and each person will have a unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses. For further information, refer to the  Worcestershire Dyslexia Pathways.

Dysphagia

Difficulty with eating and drinking in a smooth and coordinated manner.

Dyspraxia (or developmental co-ordination disorder)

Dyspraxia is generally recognised to be an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of planning of co-ordinated movements. Associated with this may be problems speech, language, perception and thought.

ECAT (Every Child a Talker):  ECaT flyer 2015.pdf [pdf] 382KB

Government programme that aims to raise children’s achievement in early language, practitioners’ skills and knowledge and to increase parental understanding and involvement in children’s language development.

ECERS (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale)

An internationally recognised tool which enables early years settings to evaluate their environment and provision, and to identify clear steps for development in order to improve outcomes for children. 

Echolalia

The repetition of words or phrases heard without understanding and may be delayed or immediate.

Expressive language

The use of words and sentences to express ideas.

EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage Framework)

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework sets out the statutory requirements and practice guidance for providing high quality learning, development and welfare for children from birth until the August after their fifth birthday. 

EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Pathway Profile

This is Worcestershire's response to the requirements of the national Early Years Foundation Stage which became statutory for all early years providers from September 2008.

EYFSP (Early Years Foundation Stage Profile)

The Profile enables each child's development to be recorded against 13 assessment scales, which are based on the early learning goals and divided between the six areas of learning and development.

FIP (Focused Improvement Plan)

It is an Early Years plan written in response to areas identified during the self evaluation process. Specific actions are planned to address improvement over a realistic timescale, matched to the resources available. Staff responsibility is allocated to these actions. 

Friendship stop

A designated place where children can come when they have no one to play with. Other children are encouraged to regularly stop by and interact with the child that has no one to play with.

Global development delay

Delay in all areas of development i.e. physical, language and communication, learning, social etc.

Hearing Impairment

May be:

  • Sensori-neural hearing loss (permanent)
  • Conductive hearing loss (of middle ear origin)
  • Fluctuating hearing loss

IDP (Inclusion Development Programme)

It is a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) to support schools and Early Years settings through web-based materials.

Information processing skills

Taking in information, storing this information in memory and retrieving it when needed. 

Intentional communication

Type of communication where children purposefully set out to communicate a message e.g. answering a spoken question.

Language

System for expressing thoughts and ideas using a set of symbols e.g. speaking.

Language Delay

An individual with language delay presents with language development that follows the normal sequence and pattern but at a slower rate.

Language Disorder

An individual with language disorder presents with language development that does not follow the normal pattern, giving rise to complex language problems in one or more specific areas of language.

Language Link

A universal screening tool to identify children with receptive language difficulties.

Learning Disability

A condition where an individual has difficulty learning according to the typical pattern.

Learning Walk

A focused visit through learning areas, followed by feedback and reflection. It is about the next steps in improving practice and developing setting or school wide provision.

LLI (Primary/Specific Language Impairment)

A primary and specific, persistent receptive or expressive language disorder/impairment, in the absence of any other difficulties. It does not include children who do not develop language because of intellectual or physical disability, hearing loss, emotional problems, environmental deprivation or Autistic Spectrum disorder.

Morphology

The grammatical rules of words and parts of words including patterns of inflections and derivation.

Multisensory

Using two or more senses simultaneously so that the stronger sense can support the weaker. The visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses are the most frequently used.

Multi-sensory Impairment

A combination of vision and hearing loss which creates a unique pattern of learning difficulties that significantly impact on the development of communication, access to the environment and mobility.

Narrative Framework

Narrative components of ‘Who’ ‘Where’ ‘When’ ‘What happens next’ and ‘The End’. The Narrative framework can be applied to activities e.g. story planning, story comprehension, retelling events, explanations in verbal and written form. The framework can also be used to support the visual environment.

Non verbal communication

Communication without using spoken words or sentences e.g. pointing, gesture.

Paediatricians

A community paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in the care of children and is based in the community. This doctor most often will be assessing and looking after the long term health care needs of children with delay in their developmental progress. This could be delay in their physical or learning skills. This doctor also has a particular expertise in assessing children with unusual or worrying patterns of behaviour. Some community paediatricians will also specialise in children with hearing or visual difficulties.

A consultant paediatrician is the most senior doctor who specialises in the care and treatment of children.

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)

System of visual communication using pictures, symbols or photos, developed by Lori Frost and Andy Bondy in 1995.

Personalised learning

'Personalising learning and teaching means taking a highly structured and responsive approach to each child's and young person's learning in order that all are able to progress, achieve and participate. It means strengthening the link between learning and teaching by engaging pupils – and their parents – as partners.'

Phonological awareness

Awareness of speech sounds in words and the ability to manipulate them. Includes awareness of rhyme and alliteration.

Phonological delay

An individual with a phonological delay presents with phonological development that follows a typical pattern, but at a slower rate.  Phonological processes appear to persist beyond the age at which they should disappear.

Phonology

The speech sound system of a language – the rules which govern how sounds are organised in words in order to convey different meanings.

Pragmatics

The use of language in social situations, including conversational skills and the understanding and use of non-verbal communication.

Pre-intentional communication

Type of communication where a child communicates a message by reacting to a stimulus e.g. crying in response to bottle being removed from a baby’s mouth.

Processing (speech)

The ability to perceive, discriminate and analyse speech sounds in spoken language (input) and to remember and select correct sounds for talking (output).

Provision map

This is a management tool which maps out the range of provision the school makes for children with special educational needs, and how the school is allocating resources to and among pupils with special educational need.

QFT (Quality first teaching

High-quality inclusive teaching is supported by effective whole-school policies and frameworks, clearly targeted on all learners' needs and prior learning. This teaching needs to be based in planning and schemes of work that are designed to move all learners from where they are to where they need to be. Where there are large numbers of learners who share the same learning needs, the best solution is to adjust the planning to cater for them. It means setting a new trajectory for the learning programme to take learners to where they need to be in terms of age-related expectations. Effective Wave 1 teaching anticipates the needs of learners based on good use of yearly transition data and information.

Receptive language

Understanding language. Understanding of what is said or written, including vocabulary, grammar, instructions, stories, others' non-verbal communication, etc.

SDP (School Development Plan)

A plan that includes a strategy for improving school and student performance in identified targeted areas.

Selective Mutism

A social anxiety disorder/phobia. The child does not speak in certain situations e.g. school, but can speak in others, e.g. home.

SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator)

Identified person responsible for coordinating teaching and learning needs, as well as key support services within a setting or school for children with additional needs.

Sensori-neural hearing loss

A hearing loss arising from the cochlear and 8th auditory nerve.

Sequencing

The ability to place pictures, writing, events, activities or thoughts in a logical order.

Short-term memory

This is an earlier term for 'working memory'. The working memory can be defined as the mental space in which we hold information for a relatively short time while we do something with that information. The term working memory makes it clear that there is active processing taking place, such as the execution of instructions or the addition of two numbers.

Signalong

A signing system which is used in a number of settings and schools across Worcestershire and offers children a valuable aid to communication through sign-supported speech.

SLCF (Speech, Language & Communication Framework)

www.communicationhelppoint.org.uk

A clear and detailed framework of the skills and knowledge in SLCN which are important for everyone who works with children and young people.

SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs)

SLCN is an 'umbrella' term covering children who do not develop speech and language as expected.

Social and functional use of language

This can also be described as 'pragmatic'. It involves understanding the meaning of words and the conventional rules and hidden meaning in language: knowledge of the rules of conversation and the ability to follow them, when to listen, take turns, etc.; knowledge of social rules, how to gain attention and show empathy; as well as the ability to interpret both verbal and non-verbal rules of communication.

Social Communication Skills

The use of language in social situations, including conversational skills and the understanding and use of non-verbal communication.

Speech

Sounds that are made and combined in a set way to express language.

Stammering (Stuttering)

See dysfluency.

Symbols

Visual/auditory or kinaesthetic representation of a concept. e.g. picture of an apple that represents an apple.

Talking Mats

Low tech communication framework involving sorting pictures.

Ten Second Rule

Children with SLCN often need more 'processing time' to get their thoughts together and formulate a response. Allow the child up to 10 seconds to respond before repeating the question.

Tourette Syndrome

www.tourettes-action.org.uk: A neurological disorder, characterised by involuntary movements or sounds called tics.

Visual timetable

A visual timetable enables children to understand what they are doing over a period of time. It gives structure to the day and can reduce anxiety levels. Symbols are used to represent the tasks, activities or lessons.

Visuals/visual aids

Pictures, photos or real objects to support communication and learning.

Visual Impairment

Visual Impairment is a reduction in visual acuity affecting near and/or distance functional vision, field loss and other specific visual difficulties which are not fully corrected by glasses.

Voice disorder

Medical conditions affecting the production of speech.

 
Acknowledgements:
Language for Learning
Inclusion Development Programme