Here are five tips for on how practitioners can help support children with speech difficulties within the setting
- Gathering observations and evidence – Having a collection of observations and evidence can help when it comes to referring a child to an outside agency such as a Speech Therapist. Don’t forget to carry out observations at different times of the day and during different situations.
- Give children time – Never rush children when they are talking and complete their sentences. Give them plenty of time to finish what they are saying. If an adult finishes a child’s sentences, this can cause frustration for the child, sometimes leading to them becoming reluctant to talk.
- Use pictures and gesture to support language – Use pictures and gestures to help children convey their meaning, point to the picture and repeat the word and wait for the child’s response. Always use language alongside using the picture cards and gestures as this helps model the correct spoken language.
- Never correct children – When a child says something that doesn’t sound right don’t correct them just repeat back the correct spoken word, role modelling is more effective than correcting the child. Also by always correcting the child this can often lead to low self-esteem.
- Incorporating simple listening and attention activities – It can be beneficial to all children if simple listening and attention activities are incorporated into the day, this can be as simple as listening to sounds out in the garden, etc. By integrating these activities, it can help improve children’s listening skills which are an important part of helping them to communicate.
Don’t forget to approach your setting’s SENCO for further help and advice. When referring a child to an outside agency for further support first ensure you have parental consent and involve your SENCO in the referral process.