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SEND Support resources for pupils/students with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)

This webpage has been created to give Teachers and SENCos within Schools and Parents/Carers easy access to revelant information and resources to support young children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Please click on the headings below for information and resources relevant to that subject area.

For pre-school children, you may also find it useful to visit our Communication & Interaction (SEN Early Years Resources) webpage

Online short courses from the Communication Trust

The Communication Trust are excited to share the new and improved free CPD online short course – An introduction to speech, language and communication! We have re-developed this course so it is now tailored for the needs of practitioners working across all the different education phases. Users have the option to access four different pathways – early years, primary, secondary or further education.

Each course has a number of activities and resources to support learning. The course aims to boost practitioners’ knowledge and skills in:

  • Understanding the importance of speech, language and communication as central life skills
  • Understanding typical speech, language and communication• Strategies to support children’s speech, language and communication development
  • Identifying and supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)

The course is suitable for anyone working with children and young people across all different backgrounds and is completely free.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) - FREE online training suitable for parents/carers and professionals

Augmentative and Alternative Communication is a set of tools and strategies that an individual uses to aid communication. AAC can take many forms such as; speech, a shared glance, text, gesture, facial expression, touch, sign language, symbols, pictures and speech generating devices. Everyone uses AAC to help them get their message across but for children, young people and adults with complex communication needs AAC provides a means to ensure they have a voice.

A group of professionals from across the whole of Devon have worked with parents and carers to create an interactive training programme that provides an introduction to AAC.

The training focuses on the following areas:

  • What is AAC?
  • AAC Themes and Myths
  • Where can I find out more?

Course: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) – An introduction (

Understanding speech, language and communication needs

SLCN is an umbrella term for all types of speech, language and communication needs. Sometimes SLCN is associated with an underlying or co-concurring condition such as autism, hearing loss, cleft palate neurodegenerative conditions and genetic conditions eg cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome . However, there are times when there may be no clearly identifiable cause. This is known as Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).

SLCN is often considered to be a ‘hidden disability’. Some aspects of SLCN are more apparent than others, particularly those associated with speech and sound. Others are less so, for example, the child who is experiencing difficulty in understanding or using language may appear to be withdrawn/passive, lacking focus, confused or even rude. Some children are 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. Some children may:

  • Have difficulty saying what they want to, even though they have ideas
  • Struggle to find the words they want to use
  • Talk in sentences but be difficult to understand
  • Sound muddled; it can be difficult to follow what they are saying
  • Find it difficult to understand words and long instructions
  • Have difficulty remembering the words they want to say
  • Find it hard to join in and follow what is going on in the playground

For more information see:

Identifying speech, language and communication needs

Ages and stages Progress Checker

The developmental stages in this progress checker have been produced by speech and language therapists based on research and their knowledge of communication development. They have been cross-referenced by I CANs speech and language therapists against a range of sources.

However, please note that:

  • This Progress Checker is based on typical developmental milestones
  • It is intended to be used as a guide only. No diagnosis can be made as children are not seen face to face.
  • It is possible that concerns may be highlighted when there are not issues with children’s speech and language. If in doubt, check with a health visitor or speech and language therapist.

The Communication Trust have produced a number of resources to support understanding of typical development and to help identify needs.

These two posters and two documents and age 5-11 checklist may be useful for schools:


Creating a communication freindly environment

Effective universal provision begins with adapting the environment to reduce or remove barriers so that all learners are able to develop their social, emotional and learning potential. It is important that all involved consider how adults interact and communicate with children; the physical environment; visual support and careful planning. Effective strategies for supporting children should be known by all staff, including lunch-time supervisors and office staff and there should be a consistency of approach across the whole setting/school to avoid confusion for the child.

Communication Friendly Checklists (ICAN)

Further information and resources

Torbay and South Devon NHS speech and language therapy services

The Torbay and South Devon NHS speech and language therapy services can be contacted through thier website. Please click on  title of the service to go directly to thier website.

Current consultation and collaboration accross the Devon STP (geographcal area of Devon including Torbay, Plymouth and Devon)

Links to:

Devon Local Offer Speech, language and communication needs webpage

iPad Apps for Complex Communication Support Needs: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Free Downloadable visual resources 

Resources provided by Worcestershire Health and care NHS Trust to support the following areas:

  • Social Skills
  • Resources for Parents 
  • Speech and Phonological Processing
  • Classroom Support
  • Language
  • Visual Support for Maths 
  • Adult Language