Speech & Language
Speech Language and Communication at New Road
How it develops and why it is important
Speech and language skills are absolutely fundamental to our wellbeing and success in life.
Language skills are also important for our learning. In schools and at home, we learn new skills and acquire new knowledge by listening to others talking and reading written language. The demands on language skills only increase as children get older and progress through their education.
Families and school are most important in helping children to develop these skills, which affect so many areas of life.
- Making friends
- Joining in at home and at school
- Making choices and dealing with change
Attention and Listening
- Children need not only to physically hear but to be able to listen and pay attention to language around them.
- They need to develop these skills before their own language can develop successfully.
- Attention is a skill which develops from birth and is the ability to look and listen to what others are saying or doing.
- Attention can be learned from interactions with family and friends e.g. Look at what this is doing e.g. while playing with a toy.
Play and Interaction
- Young children learn early communication skills through play.
- They need to be given lots of opportunities to play.
- Play, particularly imaginative play is an important step in language development. For example through play a child will realise that a toy cup in the tea set represents a real cup in the kitchen even though they look different.
- Adults playing with children will also be modelling language use and using words to comment on what is happening.
- Children need to be able to understand words before they can use them.
- With a good foundation of Listening and Attention and Play skills children will begin to develop an understanding of language.
- Generally young children can understand a lot more than they can say.
- Children learn how to talk using words and then sentences to express themselves and join in conversations.
- They begin with one word then join two words together, then three, four etc.
- Children develop their use of different speech sounds so that they can be understood by others.
- Children develop these sounds at different rates, some children continue to develop these sounds up until the age of seven.
- It is quite common for children to substitute sounds for others at this stage, for example they may say ‘tup’ for ‘cup’.
Normal Language Development
- The Blank Language Development model, was developed by Blank, Rose and Berlin in 1978.
- Its main aim is to develop children's reasoning and language capabilities.
- The model was established when its creators studied the language used by teachers in classrooms.
- This is how they saw the basic levels in language development;
Level 1: Naming things
Level 2: Describing things - answering Who? What? Where? questions
Level 3: Talking about stories and events
Level 4: Solving problems and answering - Why? How? questions
- It was found that;
60% of 3 year olds normally understand level 1 & 2.
65% of 5 year olds normally understand level 3 & 4.
- It’s often easy to identify children who have difficulties with unclear speech, as you will find it difficult to understand their talking, and your child may be frustrated when their speech is not understood.
- Language, on the other hand, can be a hidden difficulty which is harder to identify as we often can’t observe whether someone has or hasn’t understood.
- In school we use the above Blank Model as a basic guide to help us support children with possible language delay or difficulties.
- It provides the steps we can take to support children in class and in their learning.
In school, we subscribe to Speech and Language Link who provide us with tools and resources to support our children who have difficulties in these areas.
They also provide a very useful portal for parents which can help you support your children at home.