What is SLCN?
Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
The term SLCN stands for Speech, Language and Communication Needs. It is estimated that around 10% of children experience some form of SLCN. Children with SLCN have difficulties in one or more of the following areas:
- Speech sound delays/disorders (pronunciation)
- Comprehension difficulties (understanding of language)
- Expressive difficulties (spoken language)
- Social interaction skills
- Attention and listening
- Selective Mutism
Children with diagnosed conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Impairment, Learning Difficulties, and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) account for around 3% of children with SLCN. SLCN in children without a diagnosed condition is often under-identified – one of the roles of a Speech and Language Therapist is to support schools and families to identify if a child may have a communication need.
Take a look at our quick questions below:
Click on each category to find out more
Attention and Listening
- Does the child move quickly from one activity to the next?
- Do they have difficulty sitting still?
- Do they struggle to engage in adult-led activities?
- Do they 'drift off' or get distracted easily?
Speech sounds/ pronunciation
- Does the child substitute certain sounds in words for other sounds?
- Do they have difficulty making themselves understood?
- Do they become frustrated when others don’t understand them?
- Does the child have difficulty following instructions?
- Can they read but struggle to understand the story?
- Do they struggle to answer questions?
- Does the child have difficulty getting their message across clearly?
- Are their sentences short or jumbled up?
- Are they missing the vocabulary they need to say what they want to say?
- Does the child get anxious and upset when things change?
- Do they struggle to take turns and form friendships?
- Do they have difficulty keeping a conversation going and knowing the appropriate things to say?
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to some common questions