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Low Level Of Speech And Language Development


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Can anyone help? Please!!!


In September, I have a group of children with speech and language difficulties coming into reception, I am currently in the process of planning for them.


Can I pick everyone's brains in order to find out new, tried and tested (and successful) ideas plus the names and suppliers of any resources which my setting can purchase in order for me to meet their needs in a better way.


Two of the children currently have speech therapy and one attends the local 'I-can' speech and language nursery. I am visiting the nursery myself after half-term for further ideas and support.


Thanks, Steph :o

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Hi Steph & welcome


I don't think you ought to panic too much at this stage although I understand that you feel the need to be prepared. Your visits to the childrens settings will enable you to gain a better idea of the provision that you will need and presumably of any specilaist reesources. If the children are seeing a Speech therapist they will probably have a programme in place that you will need to continue and to support.


Otherwise plenty of opportunities for language interaction whether they be speaking or listening never go amiss. You may need simple picture cards or toys and books to encourage object naming, classification & discriminiation etc and some listening games- again for identification of everyday objects.

All children will benefit from this sort of input although the differentiation that may be applicable is impossible to predict.

Can you get more staff?

Will the children have statements of need, if so that will be the SENCOs responsabilty to make sure needs are met, won't it?


There is a new book just been published which sounds excellent for language & literacy development and an article about it in the current issue of EYE.


Good luck

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Hi SJDudley


This may sound completely daft but I'd try anything you can in foreign languages. I've been using lots of activities all year and all the children who had communication problems are responding wonderfully. They pronounce words correctly and seem to have much less fear than they do in their mother tongue. I'm sure somehow that having a success like this may spill over into their own language and help reduce stress. I've also found sharing strategies amongst children who have a particular problem helps, for example one of my boys couldn't pronounce the c sound. Another had been given the strategy of putting his finger between his top teeth and tongue to help him. He has shown this to the others and it has made it work better for him and helped them too!



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Susan, AOB and hali, thanks for your replies and advice. :o Your ideas will be added to my list and will certainly be used.


At present, in the nursery, these children are not being catered for accordingly despite some of them having I.E.P's. The only exception is the child who attends the 'I-Can' nursery. Apparantly, a survey was carried out by Sure Start and highlighted the low levels of speech and language. As a result, support from the speech therapy team was turned down - don't ask me why!!!!! This only came to light a few weeks ago. It is now September before speech therapists can come into school to training to staff on how to support the children, as their service is so stretched, they cannot see the children themselves on a regular basis.


Hope this helps to show my concerns in wanting to work with these children in the best possible way, as a school, we need to begin to get on track in developing children's language in as many fun and different ways as possible. I must say that I am really looking forward to working with these children. :D


Thanks again, Steph x

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Hi Steph.

Your S&L service is as stretched as ours. Children in my school are lucky if they get to see a therapist at all after referral!


For the children whom I have had programmes for, much of the work is often listening and speaking with vocab development, unless the problem is more complex.


These sort of activities ought to be taking place within your classroom anyway so perhaps an awareness and small group support will be beneficial. Sometimes by the time they reach school age these children are becoming reluctant speakers and may need extra support to encourage participation at any level.

Puppets and circle time activities with a speaking aid can be quite good. Have you seen the Jenny Mosely Book "Here we Go Round". It has sections for encouraging dvelopment in all 6 areas in circle games.

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Hiya Susan,


Thanks for the reply and advice. Puppets will be a strong focus with the children as from past experiences, children respond very well to them.


I don't think that I explained myself properly, but this will be a pilot and I, as a nursery nurse, will be working with these children with speech and language difficulties for a session a day. The timetable has yet to be devised. Our L.E.A. early years advisor thinks that the idea is good and support has been offered to write up an action plan etc with contuining support from September. This is a fantastic opportunity for me, as I will able to plan for the children myself, knowing that I have the support from many professionals to call upon.


I am going to find the Jenny Mosley book, 'Here we go round' on the internet this afternoon as I havn't come across this one.


Have a good week-end and thanks again,



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Hi. I have a few ideas to add to the pot - some I learnt from a the therapist working with one of our nursery children, the other, from a Speech & Language Course I attended a few weeks ago run by a Sp. & L Therapist who is attached to a local Surestart centre! It was an excellent course and I learnt loads.

Blowing bubbles (what fun and good practice for forming front of mouth shapes which are needed for sounds like p, b, o, oo etc)

Putting nice tasting things on a tongue depressor - like a giant lolly stick - for the child to lick off (to encourage the the skills needed for 'l' sounds

Blow painting, again for skills much as mentioned with blowing bubbles...


How is that for starters? I bet you've been sitting there trying out the actions needed and making funny faces - its hard not too!


Don't forget the good old songs and rhymes which really encourage the children to 'have a go' in a non-threatening way.


Good luck.

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Hi Steph,

been trying to have a clear out this afternoon and came across some catalogues I hadn't looked at & thought of you!

Obviously only you will kbow what resources you already have and whether you can purchase more but there look to be some good language bits in the 2004 Taskmaster catlogue. They have a website at www.taskmasteronline.co.uk, but I haven't checked thta out to see if its the same. :D

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Thanks Lisa for the fantastic ideas. These are some that I had not thought of. I am really excited at the prospect of trying these out and yes, I did pull some funny faces while I was trying out my p's and b's - brilliant !!!


Bet Susan and Sue R looked as funny as I did.


Keep the ideas coming pleaseeeee!!


Steph :o


p.s. thanks Susan for the website for Taskmaster catalogue. I will be checking out this website.

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Speech problems:


My 10-yr-old had remedial surgery 2 and a half years ago. Have now been involved with speech therapists for over nine years.


Just go for lots of play. Rhymes, songs, huffing, puffing, blowing, every sort of vocal noise-making you can imagine. Use straws, bubbles, musical instruments.


Speaking as a parent, the most important thing is the child's confidence, not their competence.


Again, from experience, ignoring a problem at pre-school stage doesn't do anyone any favours.



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